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Use these tips to implement company policies regarding your employees' behaviour

by , 27 March 2015
We all have undisciplined employees. It happens every now and then, it happens in small companies and big ones. No business is immune to conflict and no business has a secret to prevent this.

At the end of the day, it's human nature testing our nerves, bending workplace productivity and forcing us to come up with the best solutions for such incidents at the office.

Today, we're giving you a list of do's and don'ts of how to handle various situations that may arise at the work place.

For your employees to be happy and productive, you'll need to have clear policies when it comes to office behaviour.

For instance, you should know that nondiscrimination policy applies to all levels of the employment process and this means recruitment, interviewing, hiring, promotion, transfer, benefits, training opportunities, layoffs, recalls, discipline and termination.

We took a look at the Princeton University conduct policy and took out some highlights of the most important aspects in this area. Here, all employees, whether regular full time or part time or casual (hourly) employees are expected to meet a standard of conduct appropriate to the good name and reputation of the University. This is something you should implement for your company as well. Note that there are various situations when not even the best PR team won't be able to wipe off a spot on your company's name.

Moreover, when representing your company elsewhere and in the conduct of their work, employees should be expected to demonstrate proper regard for the standards of the community and to show respect for the law and for the rights of others, as the same source states.

On this subject you can make company policies regarding the following:

- Attendance and punctuality: In this case, it's expected that all employees will be punctual and dependable in their attendance. In case of tardiness or absenteeism, you should have clear terms and rules so that the responsible managers will know what to do.

- Alcoholic beverages and drugs in the workplace: Write down that alcoholic beverages are not to be consumed at any time in the workplace and also state the exceptions (some events, for instance).

- Fraud: In such a situation, establish a disciplinary action to be followed immediately. Remember that it's always better to have a clear policy before an event happens.
Fraud may refer to inappropriate personal use of company's resources, documents falsification, theft of equipment or goods etc.

Other policies should be expressed on disciplinary procedure, smoking regulations, absence from the workplace, violence behavior at the workplace, conflict of interest.

Note that after everything in this area is clear and you've presented it to your employees, they have to also conduct themselves according to generally accepted standards of conduct and performance.

State what the disciplinary action will be for each case and make sure you know how to respond or react, depending on the case, in every situation.

Down below you'll find two examples of possible situations where these behaviour policies can help:

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Four tricks of the conflict-resolution trade and how a company policy can help this situation

Imagine you've just caught two of your employees fighting and it happens in front of a client. Here's what to do:

1. Implement a policy, for example, your code of conduct. Remind employees they're in a place of business. Tell them they must leave their personal issues aside when they're on your time.

2. Tell them to use your grievance procedure if they have legitimate complaints against each other.

3. Tell them to conduct themselves professionally. Warn them you'll formally discipline them for disruptive behaviour if they can't put their personal differences aside at work. You could even move one of them to another department.

4. Get someone independent (either externally or in your HR department) to mediate their differences if necessary. Talk to the employees involved, in a joint meeting rather than separately.

Let's look at how a policy can help with an employee who, for instance, is constantly on his phone.

Here are the five steps to put a stop to texting, BBming and WhatsApping in the workplace

1. Discipline where necessary

Make sure you give warnings for excessive personal use of cells at work (remember, you must have a policy in place that states this is a problem). Monitor employee's work performance as you normally would. You may well find the cell phone abuser's performance to be slack. You can then head into incapacity proceedings.

2. Don't impose an outright ban

You should only impose an outright ban on cell phones if it's for genuine health and safety reasons. For example banning cell phone use on a plane.

3. Put your policy in writing

Make sure you have a policy stating the use of cells at work must be limited to emergency and important personal calls.

4. Don't let employees take advantage

Truth is, working hours are working hours and means you are paying them to work. They're breaching their contracts if they're constantly on their phone and don't focus on work.

5. Assess individual situations

Clearly, your secretary will need a phone far less than your best salesman. Assess the situation fairly. For most people, their cell is like another limb and they can't function without it. But you can't have poor production levels because of constant personal cell phone usage either.

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