Do you consider policies unnecessary and a sign of an overbearing management forcing everyone to toe the line? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Good policies are a clear communication of what is a minimum standard of acceptability in the workplace so that everyone can work in harmony within the rules.
The term ‘rules’ has such a negative connotation it is worth exploring further.
Let’s look at road usage as an example. An excellent accepted policy is “drive on the left hand side of the road”, unless of course you are in another country where they drive on the right. Is this an overbearing rule? Absolutely not! Imagine the chaos if people chose which side of the road they wanted to drive on?
We are not telling people how to drive but it is an absolute non-negotiable condition that you will obey the left hand side rule. Policies are of equal importance, as opposed to ‘standards’ which may have more flexibility and tolerance.
It is therefore important that you choose your policies carefully. For some roles, wearing a suit may be a policy whereas for others it is more a preference but not mandatory. If it is a policy, it is a minimum standard that must be adhered to as a condition of employment.
So if policies are so necessary, why do we have such a negative attitude towards them? Like anything else, we need to know the ‘why’.
In the above example, we all understand the need to stick to one side of the road – be it left or right. So as long as all parties understand the need for policies, and preferably have input into them, there should be no reason to have any hesitance to abide by them. In fact, it should provide peace of mind that everyone is on the same page and adhering to a minimum agreed standard.
Of course, there will be some policies that are set by the business owner that everyone may not agree with. But if they are communicated well and are not unreasonable, people should understand that they are there for a reason. To compare to another road analogy, some drivers would like to drive at 100km/hr on minor roads but should understand that 60km/hr is the allowable limit for a reason.
Now none of us want a book of countless policies thrust upon us, so when do we need to introduce a policy? As a general rule, the need for a policy arises from Frustration
So next time you have frustrations in your business (or even your personal life) that need addressing, remember policies are your friend and should be introduced as a positive contribution towards eliminating them.
Do you need help refining policies for your business? Contact us today.