How to Set Up Everyday Workplace Policies in your Small Business

Developing policies for everyday tasks can reduce unnecessary administration and make your business more effective. Here’s how…

How to Set Up Everyday Workplace Policies in your Small Business

How should I deal with business expenses?

Having clear policies on this from the start will prevent problems – and costs – in the long run.

You need to clearly outline your position on a number of things when it comes to expenses, starting with your guidelines for work trips. Are employees allowed to order room service at hotels, for example? Will they be allowed to book business class seats on planes? Another reoccurring work expense is money spent on client entertainment. Make sure employees don’t get over-zealous in attempting to impress potential clients.

Make it clear that you will check expenses against receipts (and insist on receipts, as they will also be useful for VAT purposes). Put someone in charge of signing off expenses.

What should be my policy on confidentiality?

Keeping trade secrets under wraps is important, so make sure you have a proper procedure in place for dealing with sensitive information. Always explain the need for discretion when employees deal with sensitive matters (such as how the business is doing financially), and keep sensitive information on a need-to-know basis.

You will normally be justified in dismissing an employee if you have found them to be divulging trade secrets to competitors, even if they didn’t intend to.

How should I handle departures?

You should have procedures in place for when people leave your business, and explain the policy to staff beforehand and put it in your staff handbook.

Policies should cover notice periods. There is no point prolonging these artificially so think about how long it will take you to find and train up a replacement – and remember that commitment levels will inevitably drop when a member of staff turns in their notice. When you dismiss someone, it is standard to pay them in lieu of notice. For more information on your rights as the employer during a worker’s notice period, check out our article here.

Ensure that an employee returns all the items belonging to the company – such as key fobs, phones and laptops – and sign it off against a standard checklist. And finally if the employee is leaving on good terms, get them to put together a ‘job pack’ for their incoming replacement, listing important information and useful contacts.

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