Seldom a day goes by that the local newspaper does not carry a news story about a business or company that has gotten into trouble because they did not address human resources, budgeting, or other issues BEFORE they became a crisis. When it comes to safety, diversity, culturally competency and other touchy topics, it is far better to develop company policy and work on making changes before embarrassing and unsatisfactory events happen.
What this means for businesses and companies is that we need to take the time to pay attention and address needs early. We have to keep up on safety concerns and maintain a safe workplace environment instead of waiting for an accident that may or may not happen. If you think it is expensive to spend staff time and resources developing policy, consider how expensive it will be when the company is sued or sanctioned for negligent practices.
If your company is behind in terms of its diversity awareness, fair hiring practices, or other possibly complicated and legal issues, consider getting help in order to develop comprehensive and workable policy. This may mean consulting a human resources specialist, a legal advisor or some other specialist who can guide the company or business in becoming compliant. In addition to developing policy because you HAVE to, consider what you really want the company climate to be and create policy to help you get there. Creating a workplace environment free from discrimination, bigotry, hate speech and other negative elements takes work and the policy statements are just the beginning. They are, however, an important beginning.
It is important to take the time and care to develop not only comprehensive policy, but to also make sure that you look at all the possible pitfalls and perspectives. Make sure to get input from employees and management as you create the policy so that they will feel invested and informed from the very start. This consideration will also help in terms of buy-in: if people participate in the process, they are more likely to understand and sign off on new developments. You will still need to make sure that company or business policies are shared, explained and posted so that employees actually KNOW and UNDERSTAND what is expected of them.
The attention you pay to creating solid policy will pay off in terms of a comfortable and supportive work environment, but it will also save you a great deal of grief and possible expense. Make sure that policy is in place BEFORE it is too late.