Here’s a series of events that most experienced HR pros have unfortunately seen far too many times: A problem arises among the staff, requiring the intervention of a new company policy. The policy is written hastily, in a way that only addresses the specific problem at hand. It passes quickly (if at all) through the hands of upper managers for review, and is implemented without warning or preparation among the staff members who will feel its impact the most. The policy is met with quiet resentment, ignored, and eventually forgotten. It remains on the books, but in name only; At this point, it will neither be removed nor enforced, which consequently undermines the authority of all other policies on the records, even those with serious implications related to management, product handling, and safety.
This kind of policy implementation failure is very common, but fortunately, it can be avoided with a few simple steps. Keep these in mind the next time your need to implement a workplace rule change.
1. Make sure the new policy represents the best way to solve the problem at hand. Too often, workplace problems arise that can and should be solved using other methods. If one incident seems to be sparking the call for the new rule, take a closer look to see if there may be smarter or more efficient ways around the issue.
2. Draft the policy carefully with long term implications in mind. Will this policy still make sense a year from now when the incident at hand is forgotten? How about five years from now?
3. Submit the policy to upper management, the company legal team, and a select group of staff members before making any commitments. Have each group review and revise the policy as necessary.
4. When the final version of the new policy is complete, set a deadline for implementation that leaves plenty of time for team members to understand the new requirements and make necessary adjustments.
5. Make sure all affected team members are thoroughly informed about the new policy. Hold mandatory meetings and if practical, have all affected employees sign and date a form indicated that they’ve read, understood, and accepted the policy.
6. Before the policy is officially implemented, make sure staff members know where to take their questions and concerns about the new policy. Listen carefully to these questions, answer them accurately, and take them seriously.
For more information on how to draft and implement a policy that your employees will accept and support, reach out to the Little Rock staffing and management experts at CSS.