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Rules benefit workers, employer

March 03, 2014

Inevitably in our growing up years, we played a game with our peers whereby the initiator or “owner” of the game made the rules up for the game as the game progressed. As could have been predicted, one or more of the players became agitated as the rules that were made favored the “owner” of the game.

Such frustration can be avoided when all players know the rules in advance and can make informed decisions about whether they want to play the game.

Things are no different in business. In fact, take the above scenario and substitute employees for players and work or job for game and it takes on a personal feel. Have you ever worked for someone who kind of made the rules up on the go? How frustrating is it to be penalized or disciplined for rule violations that you didn’t even know about?

Now that you are a business owner, is this how you are operating your business? Are you making the rules up as you go along?

One of the most expensive costs any business has is employee training. If you are making the rules up as you go, you might be experiencing high employee turnover. Employees may be leaving because they get tired of the rules changing all the time.

A good way to fix this is to have a set of written policies and procedures. Documentation of how to perform specific procedures is beneficial to the employee because it becomes a reference for them on what your expectation is for task accomplishment. In turn, if an employee continually performs tasks that aren’t in accordance to the documented procedure, you have a source to refer to when you do performance counseling and if necessary, a source to reference when you terminate the employee. This simple tool, when used properly, can save you money when it comes to unemployment claims.

Another cost-saving benefit is the potential for greater employee retention resulting in reduced training costs.

Larger companies utilize employee handbooks. These documents list or reference most, if not all, employee-related policies and benefits. They tend to be fairly comprehensive without painting the business into a corner. The chief benefit is the employee has a printed document that explains the rules of the “game” and what is expected of them and what they can expect from the company. There should be no surprises for anyone.

From time to time, the rules might need to be modified, amended, or in some cases, deleted if obsolete. These changes can be easily implemented through communication ahead of implementation.

At the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center we can assist in determining your needs and the best way to go about satisfying those needs. We can assist with employee handbook development.