This is a story about the totally fictitious ABC Company and its employees. This is a story about the totally fictitious ABC Company and its employees. ABC had been around for many years and by all accounts and reports was a successful company. Solid performance, sound leadership and great employees were a winning combination. The company had recently grown to approximately 175 employees and, like all companies, experienced some turnover of staff. They were diligent when hiring and sought only the best for the shop and office. The past few years of solid growth brought a large number of new employees to their workforce.
Employees would learn about the policies and procedures at ABC in the usual way; by asking coworkers, their supervisors, or simply by finding out on the go during the busy work day. Recently, leadership observed that employees were not following the policies and procedures that have always been in place. There have been a few instances where minor conflict has been observed between coworkers and their supervisors. Surprisingly, there has been some turnover amongst some of the promising newly hired employees. What ABC Learned
When they looked into the situation, leadership found that employees did not know the policies and procedures that had been around for as long as anyone could remember. They learned that coworkers did their best to explain policies to new staff but that explanations and interpretations differed from one person to the next. Likewise with supervisors who did their best but employees often got different interpretations from different supervisors. They learned the time honored policies and procedures, that were so important to the company's success, had never been written down or documented. This honest but unfortunate situation was leading to conflict in the workplace and was affecting the normal smooth and effective operations at ABC. The leadership realized that employees could not follow important policies and procedures if they were not aware of them. The Solution?
ABC decided that they would prepare and document important human resources policies and procedures and share them with all employees. Their Approach?
ABC started by reviewing and summarizing their current policies. They sought input from the workforce to learn about areas of concern or uncertainty. They also structured a working group of long standing employees, newly hired employees and supervisors to help provide an overview of key issues and concerns and to help identify areas in which new policies were needed. They researched other leading companies to determine how they documented workplace policies and learned from their experiences. They identified new policy requirements that related to legislation. Based upon this careful consultation, research and deliberation, they set about writing the policy manual. An Unexpected Challenge!
While they were busy writing the manual they learned a few more important lessons.
Another Important Lesson
- The wording of policies had to be clear, concise and simple.
- Even though they researched policy examples from other sound companies, the policies needed to reflect the specific issues of ABC workplace.
- Things constantly change so it was essential that the policies be prepared in a manner and format that permitted easy update. They learned document control was going to be essential to ensure that only current and approved policies were available.
- To ensure that the policies were correct and easy to understand and follow, employees and the working group were again consulted.
ABC learned that it was imperative the new policies were provided to and reviewed with all current and new employees. They also learned that supervisor training was essential to ensure they understood and consistently applied the policies across the company. ABC learned that constant and regular employee communication was essential. Finally, they learned that when employees understood the policies and had ready access to them, the conflict went away and the turnover reduced.
Things went back to normal and ABC continued along its path of success.