Help Me Write An Effective Employee Policy Manual

By Gregory Covey

An effective employee policy manual is one of the most important tools you can have for your business. Clearly stated policies can answer many questions and avoid employee discontent and misunderstanding. Legally, it can also be a valuable defense exhibit in the event of litigation.

Your manual should do more than merely list what the rules are and what actions are taken when they are broken. It needs to address the accrual and usage of vacation, sick, and personal leave time. For instance, is vacation pay accrued at the rate of eight hours monthly or ninety-six hours annually? If it is accrued each month, it can normally be used immediately. If the accrual is annual, it may be unavailable until after the employee celebrates an anniversary. And is there a minimum amount of vacation time that can be used, such as a full day or a full week? Does notice have to be provided before claiming vacation hours, and if so, how much?

If you have a suggestion award program, you need to define it in the policy manual. What are the procedures for submitting the suggestion, and who reviews them? If there is a financial incentive, how is it paid? Is it included on the next regular paycheck, or is a special check issued? How are the taxes handled on such awards?

Tardiness and absenteeism will have to be addressed. Is there a difference between an employee who calls before the shift starts and one who calls after? How will you handle it if he does not call in? And does he have a few minutes to show up before being considered tardy?

Safety procedures are a critical part of the manual. You should include where safety gear is mandatory and which pieces of equipment must be worn. For example, office staff may have to visit the plant on occasion. Do they need to wear hard hats and safety glasses? What disciplinary actions will be taken for failing to wear required equipment? Will it be a verbal or written warning? Are the penalties progressive, with more severe actions taken if the infractions are repeated?

Include information about payroll schedules. Is there a delay of three days or one week after a pay period ends before checks are issued? What about overtime pay? Does it need to be approved in advance, and if so, who has the authority to do so?

One of the most important parts of the manual is the one covering discrimination and sexual harassment. You need to define what it is, what the company considers a violation, and how to report it.

Any policy the company has on employing relatives, parking, eating at the desk, and employee purchases should also be stated clearly. Personal telephone calls, break periods, and visitors not related to the job are also areas you might wish to address.

If you visualize any questions an employee could have during his time with the company, you can produce an excellent manual. A copy should be provided for every new hire, who should acknowledge receipt in writing. Your employees will be more satisfied if given clear and concise policies, and you will avert any misinformation spread by rumor. This is no guarantee that you will never face litigation, but having a well-developed employee policy manual certainly enhances your ability to win such lawsuits. - 29942

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Change Management And Communicating Change

By Marcia Xenitelis

Whenever an organizational embarks on change the major objective is that employees are truly engaged with that change and that they are all facing the one direction, clearly understanding the new vision. However one of the biggest mistakes leaders make is by just telling employees what is going to change they think that they will immediately understand the reasons why and support the new direction - and this is rarely the case. All leaders, whether at team leader level or President of a company must understand the difference between information and truly engaging employees.

Change programs are confusing for everyone, from frontline employees to all levels of leaders and managers. To successfully transform organizations you need to ensure that everyone at all levels of the organization will understand what the change will mean for them personally and in the case of leaders and managers they also need to be able to demonstrate that to their team. It is only ever in the context of the direct impact on people that they say "Aha! now I get it."

So how do we communicate change to employees so that all employees understand what it means for them? Let's look at this example.

An organization wants to communicate the financial results to employees and the usual approach is to post the employee annual report on the intranet. But this time they need to do something different, they want employees to understand why the company needs to improve and what shareholders base their decisions on. So they decided to run free lunchtime information sessions for their employees on how to invest in the share market and held them for one hour each week for four weeks.

The topics progressed from understanding the share market, categories of companies listed etc till the final week they examined annual reports. So in this final session they were reviewing annual reports and came to the last one for the session and after reading through the data the question was asked of employees, so who would invest in this company, few put their hands up. And you guessed it, the company was their company and with a collective Aha! the employees finally got the message.

The most successful aspect of this approach to change was that other areas of the organization were involved in designing the strategy.

The most significant aspect of any change program is to remember that information is very important to let employees and managers and leaders know what is happening, when and why. However it is more significant to design strategies that involve employees and demonstrate what those changes will mean for them. Aha! moments are the most important considerations here. - 29942

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Why Should I Learn Six Sigma Processes?

By Craig Calvin

Lean Six Sigma is an altered form of the Six Sigma process. Although it has the basic fundamentals of Six Sigma, Lean has a few differences that set it apart from basic Six Sigma Training. Knowing the difference can prove to add more to your quality improvement projects then you would have ever thought possible.

The eight elements of waste is the focus of the Lean Six Sigma Process. It has been proven that by simply removing these areas of waste, the company will actually improve quality. Below you will find what the Lean process considers wastes, and examples of each.

-Wasted human talent: this includes people who don't have a specific job function within the process or are simply slowing down the process with their presence.

-Defects: Any product or process that is not working properly. Before they can be eliminated, however, they will require a fixable solution.

-Inventory: Too much product waiting to be worked. This can also refer to too many patients in a doctors waiting room, for example.

-Overproduction: You never want to have to much of something before it is needed. This can get in the way of a well-organized operation.

-Wasted Time: The amount of time that is spent waiting for a product. Any down time should be spent on needed areas of various activities or process. For example, you should never have five employees just standing around waiting for a supply truck to arrive, instead find other areas that they can be useful while they wait.

-Motion: When you are moving people around and it is not necessary to do so. An example of this would be, when a clinic send a patient that has an appointment to triage. Instead the patient should be going straight to the exam room.

-Transportation: Any form of ineffective transportation that is used to move people or a product. If it is not necessary then it is wasteful and not needed.

-Process Waste: Anything that needs to be done within the company, but does not add any value to the process, product or service. For example, a manager may be required to fill out paperwork each night, but it has nothing to do with improving the product or customer service.

Understanding these areas of waste will assist you company with enhancing the quality of the projects you produce. - 29942

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Evaluate Ergonomic Furniture For Office

By Adriana Noton

Years ago it seemed like every typist was complaining of something called "carpal tunnel syndrome." Then there was a rash of backaches and headaches. Now it's a new malady called "computer vision syndrome and digital eye fatigue." Can ergonomic furniture for office really help with all these worker complaints?

In these tough economic times, every business strives to cut expenses, often by laying off employees. The employees who remain are struggling under workloads meant to be handled by two, three or more workers. The emotional strains of the workplace are more than enough without risking physical injury because of cheap or poorly designed furniture.

The rise of computer use by business has been a major driving force behind the increased use of functional analysis for ergonomic furniture for office. Constant typing to enter and retrieve information from a computer, looking at a brightly lit computer screen all day, and sitting for long hours while working on a computer all have taken a toll on workers, often leading to a rise in worker's compensation claims. As a result, employers are taking seriously the benefits that ergonomic furniture for office can bring to their businesses.

Ergonomics addresses all of these factors and more when it comes to selecting and installing green office furniture. An ergonomic analysis is designed to consider a worker's primary functions or tasks. Precise measurements are made of both the worker and his or her workstation to determine the optimum placement of furniture and equipment for maximum performance. This analysis also results in setting up a workplace environment design to reduce significantly the risks associated with job tasks.

In addition, each worker probably will have different needs for how the chair can be adjusted. The one thing that all ergonomic office chairs have in come is that they should be balanced on five wheels, not the typical four, so that they're less likely to tip over when a person moves.

Whereas in the past desks were often selected before chairs, using ergonomic furniture for office requires selecting the desk after the chair is chosen. The desk must sit at a height where the worker's elbows will be at a 90-degree angle when his or her hands are on the computer keyboard. A desk may need to be raised on sturdy blocks for an extremely tall worker, or it may need to be cut down or replace for a petite worker.

Computer monitors should be of a size that a worker doesn't have to twist his or her head in order to see all the characters on the screen. Workers should be able to reach telephones, recorders and other desktop equipment without having to lean to use them. The telephone in particular should be within arm's reach, or as close to the keyboard as possible. Also the worker should have a telephone headset so that he or she need not cradle the phone between ear and shoulder in order to use the keyboard while talking.

Ergonomic keyboards and computer "mice" should provide maximum support for wrist and arm. This support will minimize tension when typing and reduce the likelihood of repetitive stress injuries. - 29942

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The Straightforwardness And Security Of Using Fingerprint Door Locks

By Jason Gottschalk

Fingerprint door locks are a great choice if you are looking to make your home or business more secure or if you simply tend to frequently lose your keys and are tired of being locked out. These locks are one of the latest security trends and are very easy to use.

The big difference between fingerprint locks and traditional locks is that the key for the fingerprint lock is your fingerprint and is considered a biometric key.

The main technology used in a fingerprint lock is biometric as your scan of the fingerprint is the key. When the fingerprint you presentation the pad matches one in the system that is programmed for access then the lock will open. You can program who has access as well as specific times that they person has access as some business may not allow entry to certain employees after hours. Basically a matching fingerprint will release the spring lock and you can enter.

These locks operate using a battery and can be used anywhere. While you normally can use your fingerprint to open the door some locks will also use a password and key depending on the type of lock. Many businesses like the fingerprint lock as they don't have to constantly be making keys and keeping track of these keys. It is also very difficult for someone without authorization to get in as fingerprints are very difficult to steal.

This type of door lock also keeps records of who enters the building and at what time. There is a small computer in the fingerprint lock and you can set up different security levels depending on the person. You can back everything up and have great records of building access.

You can also keep track of who and when a person has accessed the room or building. There is a small computer in the lock that will keep records as well as allow you to program different security levels. Some employees may have access at all others while others may be restricted to specific hours. You also can back up this information at any time. - 29942

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Employee Motivation Programs - Top Reasons Incentives Work

By Samantha Jacobsen

Employee motivation programs - more than likely you have know of them, however if you are not implementing them inside your small business, you are making a dangerous mistake. You see, while you will observe that these reward programs will require a monetary investment on your part, they might bring you incredible returns in the extended run. From incentives to unique prize giveaways, there are so many numerous ideas that you might get your own employee motivation program started and here are a few of the best reasons to do so.

Reason #1 - Increase Your Sales - One of the major reasons that incentives work for businesses is because they might assist you to boost your sales. There are days inside businesses that even your greatest salespeople may well be experiencing a stage of decreased sales. Now, if you are approaching into the 3rd or 4th quarter and sales have been down, associate motivation programs may perhaps be just the way to start improving your sales, bringing your associates out of a slump.

Reason #2 - Boost Employee Productivity - One more reason that employee motivation programs work is since they might assist you to increase employee productivity. Implementing programs, such as holiday incentives, can assist to push the run of the mill achievers inside your small business to amplify their performance. As you observe common achievers start to drive towards these rewards, You will notice that your overall associate productivity will start to increase, that leads to extra cash for your small business.

Reason #3 - Enlighten Your Company's Customer Service - Customer service is essential to the achievement of every small business. First impressions are so essential, and customers base create their judgment of your small business based on your associates. Implementing employee motivation programs is a interesting way that you can enlighten your organizations customer service in a explicit manner, increasing sales and returning customers repeatedly.

Reason #4 - Employee Motivation - Finally, you will observe that implementing employee motivation programs additionally helps to multiply employee motivation as well, which is chief. Employees who are not driven do not perform well, however visualize how you may possibly intensify the drive of your employees by offering vacation incentives or some different type of reward to them. These programs assist to keep associates on top of their game and also serve as encouragement for intense performance.

As you can envision, there are numerous examples that incentives can work for your small business, and there are numerous advantages that you can enjoy as a small business. Employee motivation programs are an investment that you just will not lose. You will raise sales, improve employee productivity, enlighten your customer service, and motivate your employees to perform. All of those advantages lead to profit and accomplishment, which are two things your small business just can not live without! - 29942

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Two Ideas For Increasing How Much You Are Valued By Your Boss

By Dan Fitzmartick

There have been many times when I have had conversations with people about how things are going with their careers and just general information about their particular work place. One of the things that usually comes up focuses on their paycheck or level of income. Everybody wants to earn more money. That is obvious. So what exactly are bosses looking for?

For starters, I'm a good person to answer that because I am an employer myself. I have been in business for more than fifteen years. Over the course of that time I have hired and fired a number of workers. I have been able to hold on to some good ones and I have seen some great ones leave for various reasons. Every one of them wanted to make more money. I was more than able to give it to them too. It's just that my idea of how to earn more money and their idea of how to earn more money were two different things.

To begin with, when it comes to running a smaller business, each employee has a larger impact on the success of the entire company. If you are running a fifteen employee operation and one employee is dragging down two or three other coworkers, that person could be affecting total business productivity by a major percentage.

Consequently, I tend to look for people who maintain a good attitude. That is a big deal to me. If you are the type of guy who comes to work in a good mood and greets everyone with a smile it makes a big difference. It is so easy to choose a crappy attitude. People don't think about it but that attitude can easily spread to the people they work with. Before I even consider increasing someone's pay, I've got to see that kind of attitude on a regular basis. Of course there will be exceptions, but for the most part you've got to be an upbeat individual.

One more major factor in my thought process about whether to give someone a salary raise or not is based on what reasons the person appears to be working for me. Obviously everyone is there to earn a paycheck. Yet, some people will come in at the last possible second every morning or even come in five minutes late on a regular basis. Those same people will be waiting to get out of there promptly at five o'clock every single workday.

Something like that tells me that the person can't stand being at work one minute longer than they absolutely have to be. That is an attitude that doesn't deserve more commitment from me or more wages either. I don't expect my people to love their work so much that they can't wait to get there. But, if I can tell that you are a person who can't wait to rush out of there at the end of the day, you are never going to become management quality and I am certainly not going to want to bump up your pay or benefits. As a matter of fact, I will most likely be keeping my eyes open for a good replacement. - 29942

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