Train staff to maximise benefit of policies

The importance of employment policies and procedures to a business is consistently underappreciated. Too often, it’s only when things go wrong that people start searching for policies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers have rediscovered that truth.

And while it’s important to have policies in place, it’s equally important to communicate them to your team and ensure that everyone understands them. This is particularly true of key policies like anti-discrimination, anti-bullying, or dignity and respect policies.

Policies without proper communication

Many business owners think they’re protected against employee claims if they have a strong set of policies and procedures in place. Let’s use a harassment policy as an example.

Employers must be able to show that they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent harassment to successfully defend any harassment claims. If you have an anti-harassment policy in place but have taken no steps to ensure staff know the practical application of the policy, an Adjudication Officer is likely to come down on the side of any aggrieved employee who makes a harassment claim.

So, if your well-drafted policy isn’t communicated to your employees, you may be in a difficult position to prove that you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent harassment.

Do I need to train staff on policies?

We recommend that employers schedule regular training for staff on the practical application of your HR policies. Giving staff employment handbooks isn’t enough. Staff need to understand them.

We recommend that all staff, from senior management to the most junior employees, are included in regular HR training sessions. This ensures that should any difficulties arise, the relevant policies are put into practice. Many cases against employers are lost because the employer fails to follow the procedures set out in their own HR policies.

It’s prudent to conduct training regularly and any time a policy is amended or a new policy comes into effect. This approach keeps staff up to date on the latest legislation and their own responsibilities in upholding the policy. The knock-on effect is that you’ll create an understanding, respectful business culture and reduce the risk of employee grievances and claims.

Employers who have clear records of all training that is provided, including signed confirmation from employees that they underwent training, are also in a better position to defend any claims should they arise.

Should I write my own policies?

Company policies can be time consuming to put together and distract you from your core business aims. That’s where Graphite’s HR experts can help.

We can provide bespoke policy handbooks for your staff. Tailored to your business, these policies will reflect the HR challenges that affect your business and staff.

Conclusion

Having policies and procedures in place is a good start. But if staff don’t understand their purpose and their practical application, they’re not serving their purpose.

Regular training for all staff will ensure you get the maximum benefit out of your policies.

Need our help?

For complimentary advice on policies, procedures, and training from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call. Call us on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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Nora Cashe

Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

Graphite HRM

Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.