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In a perfect world, your workers would think exactly the way that you do. They would come in and leave when you expect them to, they would dress the way you expect them to, and they wouldn't do anything that would necessitate formal rules and discipline. But no two people think alike, and everyone has a different perception of what the work environment should be.
Because that's true, if you have employees, you need to think about setting some basic ground rules. You need to make sure that your employees understand what is expected of them, not only in the work that they do, but in their behavior and in other areas of your employment relationship.
While some think of rules as nothing more than a necessary evil, if they are carefully selected, clearly related to the business, and fairly enforced, they can help you to better manage your workplace and your workers.
Some issues you'll want to think about when considering work rules are:
- Why you should have work rules: Here we'll explain why you should consider having some work rules and how they can protect your business from certain types of litigation from employees.
- Selecting your work rules: Once you feel sure that you want to have some ground rules for your employees, you'll need to decide which policies and rules to adopt. We'll take you through the criteria you should consider when formulating your rules, such as whether certain rules are required, appropriate, or unduly restrictive for your workplace.
- Rules that are required: Your business may be required to have and to post policies regarding certain workplace issues such as smoking, sexual harassment, and drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Read these discussions to determine your liability and to make use of our sample policies.
- Other rules to consider: Many workplace policies that employers have are not required but are still worth considering because they can help you to keep order in your workplace and give employees the information they need to have regarding their employment with you. You'll find plenty of sample policies and pointers on how to handle certain employee management challenges here.
- Communicating your work rules: In some cases, you may be required to post or distribute a written policy to employees, but in most cases the way that you communicate your rules is your decision. Here we'll present the pros and cons of both written and verbal communication methods and give you some tips if you want to create an employment handbook.