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Rules in the Workplace!


Today’s workplaces are complex! Think of the key ingredients that go into today’s typical organization. Start with a number of people who possess a wide range of skills, education and experience. Add a rich variety of people from different generations, diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Don’t forget to factor in the multiple languages and dialects that are spoken. Throw in complex and costly machinery, materials and processes. Add a healthy dose of customer service.  Include a dash of quality and efficiency. Don’t forget to thoroughly mix in the myriad of legislation and regulations that apply to various workplaces.  Et Voila! You have the type of very complex organization that people call their workplace.

Got the recipe right? Good, because the next step is to ensure that somehow this juggernaut all works together harmoniously and effectively.  This involves making some rules and setting policies to guide the day to day interactions between people, processes and the operations of the workplace.

So, Why Do Employers Make Rules?

There are a number of very good reasons to set and establish rules. Most often employers set rules to:

•    Maintain general good order

•    Set expectations for behavior and conduct

•    Promote consistent and equitable treatment of employees

•    Promote product or process quality and customer satisfaction

•    Ensure the safety, health and well-being of workers

•    Provide workplaces that respect the human rights of all present

•    Promote workplace harmony and reduce unnecessary conflict

After all, employers are legally responsible for the conduct and performance of employees in the workplace. Rules are often necessary to ensure order.

What Types of Rules Can Employers Make?

Generally, employers are free to implement a wide range of rules and procedures that they feel are necessary to maintain the good order and operations of the workplace. The rules required can vary greatly from one organization to the next based upon the unique challenges and circumstances of each.

Guidelines for Establishing Workplace Rules

It is always prudent to involve and include employees in the process of establishing workplace rules. In the case of workforces represented by a union, the terms of the collective agreement must be followed and union representatives must be involved.

Important Considerations

Employees sometimes feel that their company sets rules simply to exert control over their day to day working life. They often feel that rules are not needed and that instead common sense should prevail. They often don’t see the sound reasons behind an important rule.

When establishing and implementing workplace rules, some very important factors must be considered. Many will see these as “common sense” while others may view them as unnecessary infringements on their right to manage. In any event, the following are some well established principles employers should keep in mind:

•    Rules must be clear and unequivocal

•    Rules must be reasonable

•    Rules must be consistently enforced

•    Where a collective agreement is in place, rules must not be inconsistent with its terms and conditions

As an employer, if you plan to enforce workplace rules, you must ensure that:

•    They have been communicated to all employees affected

•    Employees are clearly notified that a breach of the rules can lead to corrective discipline, even termination

•    Rules are applied consistently, equitably and reasonably

Employers are encouraged to ensure that rules are posted conspicuously in the workplace and that they are regularly communicated to employees at crew meetings and through bulletins, handouts and newsletters. New employees should attend a comprehensive orientation that covers all of the rules and procedures of the workplace that are applicable. Employers are urged to ensure employees not only understand the rules but also the sound business reasons behind them. When employees understand the “why” they are more likely to respect and follow set rules.

Finally, employers need to ensure that rules are respected by all in the workplace. Credible organizations ensure that supervisors and leaders abide by the rules as well!

Source by Mike A. Cuma

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