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Employment Best Practices Checklist

October 19, 2011

Over many years we have observed and worked with the employment policies and practices of a very wide spectrum of organizations. Many of the policies and practices are good common sense, others are not so obvious or challenge the status quo.

Regardless of the nature of your organization, there is a set of guiding principles or best practices that can be applied to all employees, union and non-union, salaried and hourly. They can be divided into two groups - - the more obvious and more universally employed and the more subtle but highly recommended additions to your human resource policies and practices.

The Usual General Guideposts

  • Treat all employees with respect and dignity and recognize their accomplishments. Make them a part of your organization's success
  • Communication – Communication - - for information updates, news, policy changes, rumor control, or no reason to let employees' voices be heard
  • Know about your people - - at least one manager/supervisor needs to know as much as possible about his/her employees
  • Reduce feelings of insecurity or uncertainty
  • Reduce unfair or unequal treatment, feelings of favoritism
  • Keep wage and benefits competitive—at or above the area competition for similar skills and/or up with the cost of living
  • Don’t ignore employee complaints or “grievances” - - if there aren't any, look harder (except perhaps unionized employees)!
  • Give due regard to experience and length of service
  • Ensure safety and security practices are observed at all levels

Less Common Recommended Additions To Your Human Resource Policies / Practices

  • Ensure front line supervisors receive people skills training
  • Walk the floor with no purpose
  • No policy or work rule surprises
  • Give employees who are discharged the reasons
  • Immediately and thoroughly investigate and address any discrimination or harassment claims - - reduce your findings to writing
  • Inform employees well in advance of negative news or even potentially adverse news (e.g., rising health care costs, impending layoffs)
  • Consider severance agreements (with release of claims) for valued employees being terminated and in situations where there is the risk of claims or lawsuits
  • Think carefully before creating differences between salaried and hourly employees (e.g., parking spaces, holidays, health insurance, time clocks, time off for attention to personal affairs)
  • Remember you can require applicants for employment to submit their personnel record from prior employers

That's a lot and no organization will be perfect all the time. Mistakes are made from time to time - - admit them, correct them, and move on. You may even want to post these guidelines (except perhaps the severance idea) in Human Resources as a reminder.

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