9 workplace policies your organization should have

Happy employees are productive employees—and they’re not likely to be looking for another gig.

Good morale is essential to ensure a company’s long-term success and minimize staff turnover. Consider these guidelines:

1. An HR litmus test for detecting jerks

This is no joke. At the California advertising agency RPA, there are actually quite a few roadblocks—and safeguards—in the human resources department to prevent someone from being hired if he or she will not play well with others. This agency has structured itself around a collaborative and open culture that has a policy to prevent the wrong toxic hire.

2. Free healthy beverages and snacks for employees

This is sort of a no-brainer. If you want your employees to feel like humans, the workplace should provide basic food and beverage options. Don’t skimp by buying cheap stuff at a bulk warehouse store. Adults like to stay healthy and eat like grown-ups. Go for the Vitamin Water over the soda, and the organic options over the processed ones. This is a simple and tasty way to improve morale.

3. Pets and kids are a welcome addition in the office

The workplace should not be a sterile environment that treats employees like robots. Everybody has a personal life. Why not accommodate it at the office? Allow your employees to bring housebroken pets and kids (in moderation) to work, and you’ll be surprised how lively things will get. Every organization needs a little life and humanity injected into it from time to time.

4. Empower employees by giving them the choice—cubicles or offices?

Everyone is different, and Coca-Cola’s management recognizes that. It’s why the company does not have a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to its working environment. Some people work better in an open, collaborative office setup; others excel when they are in solitude. This brand empowers its employees to make choices about their working conditions.

5. A judgment-free work-from-home policy

Ah, yes, the great “work from home debate.” Yahoo started this conversation in the mainstream when it banned the practice. However, in today’s highly connected digital world, it’s no great challenge to run an office—or team—remotely. It just depends on what management thinks is best for its culture. Some teams (such as creative teams) should probably brainstorm together in person. However, there are many teams that could accomplish that and other goals just fine remotely.

6. Zero tolerance for intolerance

Do religion or personal opinions affect the goals of a company? Usually not, so they should not be subjected to ridicule or judgment. HR departments already have rules about this, but it’s up to the boots-on-the-ground managers to be vigilant about enforcement. Employees should not be afraid to give their opinion for fear of retribution. Managers need solid office policies to maintain office harmony.

7. Casual dress days are alive and well

Who doesn’t love being comfortable at work? If you work in an office that doesn’t have some sort of flexibility when it comes to your attire, you’re missing out. Getting to wear jeans and lose clothing at the end of the week is important to employees. Just don’t go too casual. Leave the sandals at home.

8. Allocation of actual money toward company culture

Many companies say that they value company culture, but who’s actually coughing up the dough to prove it? Very few companies actually invest hard-earned money into creating and maintaining a positive company culture. Money can buy certain retreats, outings, and supplies that will make your people happier. Prove to your crew that you are putting your money where your mouth is, and they will want to come to work, not feel they’re being dragged into the workplace.

9. Continued education policy for employees

Not everyone starts a job knowing how to do it perfectly. At the advertising agency Fred & Associates, this is understood. The company takes steps to ensure its employees are constantly being educated, not only about their own careers, but about the roles of everyone else in the agency.

David Zaleski is associate media producer at iMediaConnection, where a version of this article first appeared.


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