As a vice president of human resources of this company, the core action I will take is rebuilding HR policies and practices, which contribute to the development of a strong company culture. As everyone knows, a company's culture is of great importance that affects in predictable ways how people behave when no one is telling them what to do.
With human nature being what it is, employees will test limits and act "creatively" in workplace situations, so I need a strategy for developing, communicating and enforcing a set of policies and practices that reflect my standards of acceptable behavior. Those policies and practices need to be focused on a primary goal--improving individual performance in the workplace, which is actually about the process of setting expectations and meeting them and creating liabilities in the process.
So how can I make sure the employees have clear expectations and are treated fairly as they work to help improve the company? I would like to address four key elements related to the development and deployment of my policies and practices: roles, rules, consequences and tools.
People like to have a clear understanding of their role in a company as well as the roles of others. Every successful team has well-defined positions for its members. Everyone knows what he or she is to do, how to do it and how their performance can impact those around them. In business, this means you need to have clear reporting structures that spell out who's in charge and how tasks are to be accomplished in the organization.
Managers and employees need to share a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable behavior within the company. Setting clear and specific behavioral standards in the form of rules establishes a framework for spotting and addressing violations of those standards. If just relies on loosely defined general standards that aren't properly documented, then violations become subjective and open to interpretation. The result of such ambiguousness is often litigation. Taking the sexual harassment in our case for example, this bad behavior affects other employees, clients, other individuals or even the reputation of the company.
It's important to clearly state consequences for violations of specific behavioral standards so that employees know what to expect and have fair warning of those expectations.
Think through the over-the-line behaviors that won't be permitted in the company to establish these standards and violation consequences. Similarly, I will list what performance issues may qualify for a more progressive disciplinary approach, and then define the steps involved in that approach.
Tools address the questions are needed to be specified. The tools include, for instance, building handbook or a policy guide, regularly training the policies and practices of the company, coupled with simple, easy-to-use forms to guide them, giving them a clear directive on working with human resources personnel or legal representatives, or making sure these resources available online, etc.
Whatever the approach, the key to success is to devote the time and resources it takes to develop a policies and practices strategy for the business before the need arises.