Policies & Procedures
October 16, 2012
This could possibly be the longest chapter in the book. But I’m not going to tell you these policies & procedures. I’m going to give you the map and how to write and what to write, not actually the language you need in them. This is fairly simple to explain.
Whether I give you the words or you write your own in it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that you write clear-cut, concise, & succinct guidelines for your supervisors and managers to follow. Add to this being simple enough for any of your employees to understand and follow and you have a policy & procedure manual to, hopefully, safeguard you from anything that comes up, whether it be workplace violence or not.
If necessary, but a long convoluted guidebook from your local on-line book store or professional organization, there are literally hundreds of them out there. Some are excellent, others were written by hacks that have no clue.
But over and above all of that, here are the area’s you need to concentrate on when writing your policy & procedure manual. Once again I will emphasize that it is not an all-inclusive list. These are only guidelines. Your industry may have issues that others may not have and I’m not familiar with.
So do your own ‘due diligence’ and investigation, utilize your own legal department or human resources managers (or go to the expense to hire a consultant) to read, write, and revise anything you find in another book. But I will state emphatically, again, make the language readable and understandable! Don’t make it so legalistic that only attorneys and managers with MBA’s can understand it. As with all writing, no matter where, it should be written at a 6th or 8th grade level.
There are several areas that you need to concentrate on when writing policies and procedures and thinking about WPV. These will obviously be different and possibly need to be lengthened depending on your company and its culture.
Discipline – The idea here is to make it as reasonable as possible. As we’ve already discussed, it needs to be as equal and dispassionate as you can make it. Does this mean that you can make exceptions for exceptional employees or circumstances? Of course you can. But if you decide to do these, ensure that they are included in the policy and not just left to a differing manager’s personal decision.
Termination – I know that you already have set policies and procedures on how and when you terminate people, but are they written so that any potentially violent employee can be ‘turned down’? That’s what you need to do when writing your termination policies. From knowing when and where you’re going to terminate someone, to how to who will be in the room when it occurs.
And lastly on this aspect, remember the 10 steps we talked about a month or better ago. Always leave yourself room to escape or signal for help. In the Minneapolis shooting last month, the shooter was in a room with 3 other people. All 4 were shot and 3 died. Numbers don’t always ensure that nothing will happen.
Media Contact – Do you have a corporate spokesman, like General Motors, IBM, or other such Fortune 50 companies do? More than likely not. Therefore you need to write a policy, and procedures, pertaining to contact with the media if something bad should happen to you and your business.
The likeliest candidate for the job as spokesman is the owner or Vice President. But what if they aren’t available, then what? You need to have clear delineated lines of communication and who can and who can’t talk to the media during a crisis. The last thing you need is for someone, not with company management say something wrong, and then have the media run away with it as verified and truthful.
Zero Tolerance – Ah, one of the biggest bug-a-boo’s and buzz words in the business and academic worlds today! I have to tell you that most schools and companies have it wrong and continue to get it wrong every single time they utilize this phrase with an employee.
You have to use common sense with using this policy. Should you allow weapons into your business? More than likely no. But does this mean you need to suspend, discipline, or terminate someone for violating the policy? Not necessarily.
There are numerous examples of employees and students who try to do the right thing and then get punished for it. Here’s an example;
2 employees are a arguing and one pulls a knife on the other. The 2nd employee takes the knife away from the other and turns it into the supervisor who has come, running because of the heatedness of the disagreement. Who gets suspended? The employee who was threatened not the one who pulled the knife! The 1st employee only got a written reprimand! This is the nonsense that I’m talking about.
When writing the policy you need to put in the disciplinary actions, but you also need to use your own common sense when writing and following thru with the policy! Not every incident will require an employee, or student to be suspended or terminated.
Depending on your industry you may need many more and varied policies than these few I’ve listed. But, again (and yes I know I’m harping on this point), whatever policy and procedure you write. No matter here you get them or how they’re written, they need to be clear, concise, and succinct to be effective.
Will you think of every single possible outcome and inevitability that may arise when putting them into effect? If you do, then you’ll have a manual that is as thick as all of the government books and manuals put together! So that answer is no.
But you have to be able to use your own common sense, mind, and the policies and procedures when utilizing them with employees. Just like when ‘spouting’ the company line about something that doesn’t allow for any human compassion or rational thinking , then it could certainly lead to something you don’t want – no matter how you’re trying to avoid it.
This is excerpted from the book ‘One is too Many…’ Questions, comments, or suggestions?