The benefits of managing your workforce

Outlining what is considered unacceptable behaviour and educating employees on business values through workplace policies means retailers are in a better position to manage undesirable behaviour when it arises.

A suite of employment policies is fundamental in managing any retail business by setting and reinforcing the standards of behaviours expected of all employees. In turn, workplace policies will assist in effectively managing the common workplace challenges that face retailers every day and help limit risk of liability in the event employees wish to pursue any work related claims. Here’s the top five Human Resources (HR) policies for managing your workforce.

Code of conduct and corporate values policy

Arguably one of the most important policies for any retailer is a code of conduct. The purpose of a code of conduct is to set the standards of behaviour expected from all employees. By outlining what is considered unacceptable behaviour and educating employees on business values through a policy, organisations are in a better position to manage undesirable behaviour when it arises.

A code of conduct can address standards relating to punctuality at work, the use of company property, confidentiality, mobile phone use and dress codes. A code of conduct will also clearly communicate to employees that if they fail to adhere to the standards of behaviour they may be subject to disciplinary action.

Similar to a code of conduct, a corporate values policy can be used to clearly communicate to employees the core values the business embodies, such as customer focus and teamwork. By using a corporate values policy to communicate expectations around core values, a business is able to hold employees accountable where their actions are not in line with the values and will mean the business is in a better position to defend any unwanted unfair dismissal claim.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination policy

Trying to investigate and handle issues of bullying and harassment in the workplace can be a nightmare for any business large or small. Having a policy in place is the first step to educating staff on what constitutes bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and also providing guidance on appropriate procedures for dealing with complaints.

A policy addressing these issues is also fundamental for helping prevent legal liability. In order to avoid liability for acts of discrimination and harassment in the workplace the organisation must show they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination or harassment from occurring, however in the absence of a policy this is almost impossible.

Leave policy

A leave policy is an extremely valuable when managing and planning a retail workforce for the peak periods. By having a leave policy in place an organisation can outline when ‘blackout’ periods will apply and ensure employees are well aware of their obligations when it comes to the notice requirements when applying for leave.

Grievance policy

Most retailers will have to deal with a workplace dispute at some point. Having a grievance policy is an important tool setting guidelines for HR and managers to follow when investigating workplace complaints in order to avoid bias and ensure a fair outcome. A grievance policy also educates employees on the correct procedure to be followed for lodging complaints.

Work, health and safety policy

Workplace injuries can cost your business in a number of ways including lost productivity, sick pay and the cost of replacement employees. It is no surprise that a work, health and safety (WH&S) policy is therefore considered one of the fundamental policies for any retail business.

WH&S policies highlight safety procedures, and the obligations and responsibilities of employees and managers alike, which ultimately reduces the risk of injury in the workplace and the time and resources spent on managing a workplace injury.

These are just a few of the key HR and workplace policies every retail business should have to ensure best practice in workplace relations. In addition to having these policies, it is also worthwhile ensuring they are regularly reviewed and updated to take into account any changes in the law or changes to the organisation’s needs.

For more information on workplace policies or dealing with grievances in your workplace ARA members can contact the Employment Relations Team on 1300 368041.



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