A corporate policy is a general internal guideline describing how things work and how certain issues shall be dealt with within the company. A set of well-drafted corporate policies enables the employees to understand the core values and expectations of the company as well as their roles and responsibilities. Having corporate policies and procedures increases consistency, transparency, predictability, and accountability within the organisation.
This guide explains the purpose of 5 commonly used corporate policies and provides sample policy templates of each corporate policy for download.
Although corporate policies are often seen as a supplement of employment contracts, they are essential for your business. Creating a good one undoubtedly takes time and effort, but they are highly beneficial to both your company and your employees.
A well-written policy gives your employees a better understanding of their jobs and reduces the risks of new employees making mistakes when performing their duties. Having corporate policies also benefit your company by allowing management to oversee and control employee conduct as a whole without constant intervention, hence saving time and resources.
Whether a corporate policy forms part of an employment contract is highly dependent on the specific circumstances of each case and language used to draft the policy. Hence, you should pay special attention to the language used to draft your company’s employment contracts and corporate policies as the two legal documents are highly intertwined.
If a corporate policy has been incorporated as part of an employment contract, it will be seen as a binding legal document.
How a corporate policy should be drafted shall be dealt on a case-by-case basis, and hence you may seek legal review and validate your policies before disseminating and implementing them to ensure sufficient legal protection and full compliance with the laws in your jurisdiction.
An Employee Handbook is a document that gives a thorough guide for employees regarding the company’s core values and missions, and a detailed description of their expected conduct and responsibilities throughout their employment.
Employees can adopt such guidelines on a day-to-day basis to regulate their conduct as they can view the guidelines in the Employee Handbook as a minimum standard of acceptable behaviours within the workplace.
An Employee Handbook is essential for your business as it aligns your employees’ conduct and promotes uniformity across a company. Administrative resources and time can be reduced with a well-written Employee Handbook as the minimum standard of acceptable behaviours are set out with documented rules and procedures for all employees.
Time and training sessions for newly recruited employees can be saved as they can read the Employee Handbook to learn their duties instead of listening to their managers explaining everything from scratch. By setting out the company’s core values and missions in the Employee Handbook, employees would know of the company’s expectations and how to act accordingly even in situations not specified in the company policies and procedures.
In addition, an Employee Handbook reduces workplace disputes by clearly setting out expectations and consequences of violating these rules. It may also act as a legal backbone for the company if business owners like yourself ever run into legal issues as a business entity. Business owners can claim that they have already taken the matter into account in their corporate policy even if it is not strictly followed by the employees. It can avoid having any acts or misconduct by your employees being implicated as the conducts of the company, which might be potentially damaging to your company’s reputation.
It is also common for companies to extract their core values and missions and publish them to the general public. Your customers and potential business partners can gain insight as to the company’s values as part of their due diligence before conducting business with you.
As characteristics and requirements for employees vary from industry-to-industry, the content of Employee Handbooks of different companies might be diversified. Each Employee Handbook should be tailored to best describe the company’s unique values and characteristics.
An Employee Handbook should still contain the following elements:
Although this is not an exhaustive and definitive list due to variances in law in jurisdictions and culture of companies, it serves as the key element which must be included for an Employee Handbook where you may customise by adding tailored content under the appropriate category.
Also, you may get started by downloading our employee handbook template below:
An Equal Opportunities Policy is a document recognising the company’s responsibilities as an employer and outlining measures taken by a company to promote fair treatment within the workplace and protects employees against any kind of discrimination during their employment.
The policy document promotes equal treatment by ensuring all employees are treated as equal individuals. For example, the document will describe what affirmative actions had the company taken to prevent situations such as a male employer was being paid more than a female employee and LGBT employees were not offered a chance to be promoted.
A well-written Equal Opportunities Policy may bring a win-win situation for you and your employees as it is highly beneficial to both parties in several ways. On an individual basis, a comprehensive Equal Opportunities Policy improves employees’ mental wellbeing and loyalty to the company as the policy fosters the fundamental right of an individual being free from any form of discrimination.
When employees are being respected for their vast array of characteristics and values, they feel safer within the company and hence their level of commitment to the company will increase eventually. Unfair treatment and discriminatory behaviours occurring within the workplace can befoul the company’s atmosphere, causing a higher turnover rate as employees feel dissatisfied and excluded from the company.
It also benefits the whole company by attracting potential employees through fairness and meritocracy for your business. A company that advocates equality has the added advantage of attracting qualified talents, which enables your business to reap the benefits of having a greater market.
Having an inclusive and diverse workplace may also improve your company’s reputation as it shows your dedication in contributing to eliminate unfair situations in society and your commitment as a responsible employer. In addition, Equal Opportunity Policies reduces the risk of your company running into legal challenges when there are fewer conflicts between employees regarding unfair workplace treatment.
It is vital to draft a comprehensive Equal Opportunities Policy to ensure unfair situations are eliminated as much as possible. It is also to ensure your policy conveyed the message that your company does care about promoting an equal workplace and it demonstrates the company’s willingness to meet the key objectives illustrated in your policy.
Please take a look at the template below if you are not sure what to include in your equal opportunities policies:
An Expenses Policy is a document that sets out a framework regarding how your company handles business-related expenses. It specifies the details of the reimbursement procedures of your company, such as the limit of the amount being reimbursed and how employees are reimbursed for expenses for general and travelling expenses they incurred on behalf of the company.
The prime goal of developing an Expenses Policy is to ensure the reimbursement system in your company is safe and fair for employees who had incurred personal expenses for business reasons. Employees’ expenses may form a surprisingly huge part of the controllable cost of your company apart from the basic salaries of your employees, where a clear and concise Expenses Policy can assist your business to reduce as much unnecessary administrative and operational costs as possible.
The policy document may also reduce resources and costs as the workflow of the finance department of your company can work more efficiently as complicated procedures are streamlined or reduced as much as possible. Employees will also be restricted from claiming more than the legitimate limits by segregating reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses.
Moreover, a clear Expenses Policy may provide insight into your employees’ spending patterns as it gives transparency and you might utilise the data collected to avoid all potential disputes with your employees.
It can also raise the company’s profile by showing potential partners and the general public that your business is efficient and well-run, where you are taking your obligations to maintain a legitimate cost as an employer seriously.
A well-written expenses policy should be fair and transparent in all the details to avoid unnecessary disputes and ensure the least resources and money to be spent during the reimbursement process.
In addition to the elements listed above, you should also state that the company expects employees to avoid overspending on unnecessary costs such as spending money on unauthorized personal services and personal purchases. You may also include a list of recommended vendors or service providers to minimise employees’ expenses.
Feel free to refer to the templates below if you are unsure about what to include in your expense policies:
Nevertheless, companies implement one to ensure compliance with the law as it gives clear guidance for your employees regarding the manner they should adopt while handling such private information. As privacy is acknowledged as a fundamental right by practically every society, having a well-written policy can provide stronger legal footing for your business if you are, unfortunately, challenged in legal settings by unsatisfied customers.
On the other hand, you may lose trust and confidence of website users if their personal information is collected and utilised without their knowledge or consent, hence harming the profile of your business.
We understand it might be difficult to draft one from scratch – you can download our templates below before you get started:
A Social Media Policy is a document acting as a parameter of how your employees should regulate their conduct online, both personally and professionally. As a business code of conduct, the policy should describe what employees should and should not do with their account and the company’s official account on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Social Media Policies are unique as a living document and they should be reviewed and updated frequently. We are living in an era of technology where technological developments are in constant flux. Hence, policies might easily go outdated and ineffective if they are not updated from time to time.
You should revisit your Social Media Policy at least annually to make amendments according to the recent trend and your company’s culture, delete outdated information, and customise your policy to meet industry standards.
Social media is becoming incorporated into recent business operations as a double-edged sword. As it can be a powerful marketing tool that helps you reach and connect potential customers if they are used properly, whilst misusing it might bring a disastrous tragedy to your company’s profile. Nevertheless, having a clear and well-written Social Media Policy might bring the following benefits to your business.
Having guidelines set out for employees will eliminate their confusion and misconceptions as to their responsibilities and roles on social media platforms. Having a good policy can encourage your employees to get more involved in social media sharing about the company in their own online works, and hence promoting employee advocacy without risking your company’s reputation.
In addition, it would protect your business from running into a PR crisis and even legal challenges as internal rules and procedures for employees are set out, where your staff can also act fast to remedy the situation if a crisis occurs.
As per all the benefits mentioned above, it might be too late to realise how important a well-written Social Media Policy is to your business when a PR crisis occurs.
However, there is no “standard” Social Media Policy as industry standards vary and each company has its own intentions and purposes regarding their usage of social media platforms. Nevertheless, a comprehensive Social Media Policy regulating employees’ conduct on both personal accounts and the company’s official account is vital as it is important for businesses to have full control over employee conduct online and constant intervention is just too costly.
Also, you should remind your employees' transparency is at utmost importance and they shall disclose to the company about their presence on social media. You may suggest them to include a disclaimer in their accounts stating that all content created on a certain platform or account is merely based on the employee’s personal opinion so that whoever comes across your employees’ personal account understands that the employee doesn’t represent your company and is nowhere near a certified spokesperson.
External parties may view employees’ performance on personal platforms as a reflection of the company and the crux of drafting a good Social Media Policy is to keep it simple, clear, and updated.
Please refer to our social media policy template below if you need to refer to a sample social media policy.
Please note that this is just a general summary on corporate policies under common law and does not constitute legal advice. As the laws of each jurisdiction may be different, you may want to speak to your local legal adviser.
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