The 5 Company Policies You Must Have +1 New One

Written by Etienne Pretorius

4 Apr 2022

© PBC Group 2022 | South Africa

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Employers are often confronted with employee relations issues in the workplace and faced with deciding the best approach to handle these issues. Company policies are created to establish expectations and to provide guidance on how to consistently handle workplace situations. There are a couple of policies you should have deployed in your organization as a minimum. You are the business owner, and you don’t have the luxury of large departments and teams to delegate this task. You must do everything yourself and you don’t have time to design and draft these elaborate policy schedules. This article provides a focus on which policy to get drafted first.

Your company’s procedures and practices will determine how your business runs and develops. When creating company policy, think about what you want to achieve as a company, and what you expect from your employees.

A good policy should include the purpose of the policy, the responsibilities of those who are affected by it, and the consequences of failing to follow the policy. Effective policies empower employees to make decisions that positively affect the business.

These are the 5 policies you should draft first:

  • Workplace health and safety
  • Employee Code of Conduct Policy
  • Employee Disciplinary Action Policy
  • Ethics Policy
  • Using the Internet and Email Policy

and then +1

  • Remote Work Policy

Workplace health and safety

This policy should explain the legal and other requirements of your industry and location. There are definitions that would specifically need to be given in terms of those requirements. You would probably want employees to report incidents in a certain way and within a specific timeframe. You would need to have deployed a process in which you identify hazards, assess risks, and implement controls.

Employee Code of Conduct Policy

A code of conduct is the most common policy within an organization. This policy lays out the company’s principles and standards that hold employees and third parties as they interact with the organization. It is designed as a comprehensive reference document for all staff and a synopsis is normally addressed during induction. You would normally title this ‘Employee Handbook’ and is often an extensive document that is presented to the employee at orientation.

Employee Disciplinary Action Policy

We recommend you deploy the Code of Good Practice: Disciplinary Action. This code is implemented to regulate conduct in the workplace. The primary aim of this code is to correct unacceptable behaviour rather than to punish employees. For this reason, progressive discipline will be applied, except in serious misconduct where dismissal is a possibility.

Ethics Policy

Ethical policies are guidelines for all employees of a company to do the right thing and behave at high standards at all times. Good ethical policies create a good culture based on trust and transparency.

Using the Internet and Email Policy

Employers can employ various means to regulate email and internet use, or then abuse. Employers can electronically regulate what the employee can use and access. Employers must draft and implement email and internet policies, regulating the use of the internet and email more comprehensively and specifically regulating what the consequences of non-compliance would be, for example, setting out the specific conduct and the sanctions it would attract. You should ask employees to inform third parties that their emails may be intercepted by the employer. A message to this effect can be added to the bottom of emails.

Remote Work Policy

Remote is the plus one policy. It’s become quite an important policy in this new era. Remote work requires policies governing equipment use, network security and performance expectations. The 10 rules found in every good remote work policy are:

  1. Eligibility
  2. Availability
  3. Responsiveness
  4. Productivity measurements
  5. Equipment
  6. Tech support
  7. Rightful termination
  8. Physical environment
  9. Security
  10. Client confidentiality


Policies are implemented to address recognized problems. To ensure that policies are effectively and adequately addressing the problem, it is important to engage the people and organizations affected by the issue. There are five basic steps you would take to develop and implement a new employer policy:

Step 1: Identify the need for a policy
Step 2: Determine policy content
Step 3: Obtain stakeholder support
Step 4: Communicate with employees
Step 5: Update and revise the policy

Policies should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they continue to comply with legislation and regulations within the region your business is operating in. You should do these reviews at least annually.