Every organisation has its set policies and procedures on sickness management, disciplinary and how to report absences. Sadly, many believe that they should be written in boring, ponderous language which can make them extremely difficult to read and – in some cases – to understand.
No matter what the presentation style of your policies, these documents need to be read thoroughly and completely understood by you as a manager before any issues occur. Let me stress that again: before any issues occur.
In my experience, however, when I ask managers even the most basic questions about their policies, they are all too often unable to answer me. My heart sinks. If they don’t fully understand their procedures, they are, in effect, managing with their hands tied behind their backs.
Organisational policies are tools of the trade for a manager. If a manager knows them, chapter and verse, it becomes easy for them to step in and speak with authority when a small event occurs, enabling them to nip any issues in the bud before they become a major incident.
Too often a manager witnesses an event and, being unclear on their policies, fails to speak up. It is only when the individual continues unchecked and the situation has escalated that they seek advice and take action. And, frankly, that is too late.
So make it a New Year resolution. Read and understand all of the policies and procedures that exist to make your management job easier to complete.
And if you find that they are written in nonsensical or scary legal language, then speak up and work to change them. Challenge HR and Senior Management so that they become clear, effective and easy to understand by everybody.
Ensure you know all of your policies in depth before they are needed. Everyone will benefit, but most of all you.