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5 Must-Have Policies for Every New Business: A Guide for Start-ups and SMEs

HR just love a policy don’t they?!!! For years I have questioned whether policies are necessary for every business, surely we could all just use a bit of common sense?


But, as time has passed and I’ve seen more HR issues raised that could have been prevented by having a policy, I’ve concluded that clear and simple policies actually ensure that staff are treated equitably and fairly. 


The more people a company hires, the more policies are needed. And this isn’t to create a bureaucratic nightmare, it is to level the playing field and ensure managers and staff know exactly what is expected of them, thus creating a fair work experience.


Start-ups and SMEs might feel daunted or horrified when they read of larger organisations implementing policies on things like menopause, surrogacy or pet bereavement. But actually you don’t need to be a large organisation to have those policies, you just have to be the kind of company that cares about its staff enough to want to let them know how they will be treated during different times and situations in their life.


But let’s start small….if you’re starting to hire staff or already have more than 1 employee you definitely need to create and implement the below 5 policies. (You can read my blog here about the 9 things to have in place before you get to 9 staff)


These five essential policies will avoid HR issues and ensure a positive workplace culture.


1.Anti-Discrimination Policy:


An anti-discrimination policy sets out the company's commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, free from discrimination and harassment. It outlines the company's expectations for employees and the consequences of violating the policy. 


2.Code of Conduct:


A code of conduct sets out the company's values and expectations for employees. It outlines acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and sets the tone for the company's culture. culture.


3.An Attendance Policy:


An attendance (and punctuality if appropriate) policy sets out the company's expectations for attendance, including procedures for reporting absences. 


4.Data Protection Policy:


A data protection policy sets out the company's commitment to protecting personal data and complying with data protection regulations. It outlines the procedures for handling personal data and the consequences of violating the policy. 


5.Health and Safety Policy:


A health and safety policy sets out the company's commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for employees. It outlines the procedures for identifying and managing hazards and the consequences of violating the policy.


These 5 policies will help you stay compliant as your business grows. Get them in place first and then begin working on a broader set of policies to ensure fairness and equity and a positive working environment for your staff.


As a freelance HR consultant, I can help you implement these policies and provide ongoing support as your business grows. Contact me on alex@alexkotsos.com to discuss your HR needs.


N.B. 'Stay on the path' photo courtesy of Mark Duffel on Unsplash


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