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Business owners, managers and HR professionals share a commitment to embracing the many HR opportunities—not to mention overcoming the numerous people-management challenges—that arise as they work to help their organizations grow and succeed.

But along the way, many professionals will inevitably overlook crucial legislative compliance requirements as they instead focus on achieving key performance indicators. Doing so exposes their organizations to potential liability exposures, lawsuits and even judicial fines—not to mention potential downward pressures on employee morale, productivity and bottom-line performance. Combatting that ever-present threat means proactively addressing compliance obligations, but not before developing and enforcing effective workplace policies throughout your organizations.

In addition to helping protect an employer from potential liability, an organization’s workplace policies are an important tool to communicate its culture to employees, while helping mitigate other talent-management issues related to everything from absenteeism to poor employee engagement. That, of course, assumes those policies are deployed properly.

Not sure how to design, roll out and enforce your organization’s employee policy handbook? Here are 6 Cs’ to keep in mind to ensure your policies are: 

• Clearly written – Effective policies should be unambiguous and easy for employees to understand

• Clearly communicated – Employers must effectively communicate their policies to employees, which is often done using tools such as policy rollout meetings or webinars

• Confirmed by employees – Employers should ensure that employees sign documentation confirming they have read, received and accepted training on company policies

• Consistently applied – Employers should apply their employee policies consistently in order to ensure compliance and avoid potential HR law liabilities

• Consequence-enforced – Employers who fail to establish clear repercussions for a breach of policy risk even wider non-compliance. That’s why policies should be enforced consistently and without exception

• Companion to your organization’s employment agreements – There should not be any contradictions between a company’s employment agreements and its policies. Rather, the two documents should complement one another

Having policies that cover all aspects of the employment relationship is a must. Here are Williams HR Law’s top 10 must have policies: 

  1. Hours of work, overtime and breaks
  2. Vacation
  3. Attendance and accommodation
  4. Progressive discipline
  5. Violence, harassment and discrimination
  6. Code of conduct
  7. Use of technology and company property
  8. Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
  9. Conflict of interest
  10. Personal cell phone use