10 Incredibly Useful Human Resource Policies for Small Businesses



10 Human Resource Policies Every Small Business Should Have

Human resource policies are essential to a functioning office environment. These policies clearly state the rules and processes that team members must follow, along with what might happen if they don’t follow the stated procedures. Essentially, human resource policies help to keep everyone in a business on the same page so there’s no guesswork or surprises.



Human Resource Policies to Consider

Here are some common types of human resource policies that you might consider adding to your employee handbook.

Absenteeism and Tardiness Policy

If you want your business to function properly, you need your employees to actually show up. If you have a physical office and standard work hours, then this policy would outline your expectations for employees showing up to work and staying for their entire shift. It would also specify what might happen if employees show up late or don’t show up at all on a particular day. For example, you might have to issue a couple of warnings before suspending or terminating an employee.

Vacation Day and Sick Time Policy

This type of policy should outline how much time employees are allowed to take off for various reasons. If you offer paid or unpaid vacation days, it should specify how many an employee can take and what employees should do to claim those dates. Then it should also explain how employees should go about calling in sick and under what circumstances they’re allowed to do so.

Dress Code

Some businesses also have uniform or dress policies. This is especially relevant for client or customer facing team members. Come up with a type of dress that will appear professional and appropriate for your type of business and offer examples so employees know exactly how they’re expected to appear.

Cell Phone and Internet Policy

Cell phone and internet usage can be major time wasters for employees. If you don’t regulate usage, then you could have people sitting on Facebook or texting their friends all day instead of getting anything done. So this type of policy should state in what situations, if any, employees are allowed to use their phones or browse the internet. It might also list some sites that are prohibited and what might happen if employees violate these rules.



Social Media and Public Comment Policy

The way team members post and interact on social media and in public can have an impact on your company’s reputation. So this type of policy should outline what types of comments your company finds inappropriate to make online or in a public forum where they’re representing your company. While you can’t necessarily limit what they say on their own accounts, you can potentially ask that they don’t make mention of your business alongside certain types of comments or that they make it clear that their opinions don’t represent your company.

Employee Discipline Policy

Unfortunately, you are likely to come across situations in your business where employees let you down in some way, whether it’s missing deadlines or starting disagreements with team members. When these incidents occur, you need to know what type of action to take. This type of policy should outline the discipline practices that your company will take when employees act out.

Fraternization Policy

It can also be a good idea for businesses to address issues related to fraternization and office relationships. You don’t need to necessarily outlaw them altogether, but make it clear what is appropriated and accepted in your workplace and what isn’t. For example, you might consider prohibiting relationships between employees and their direct supervisors, which can lead to potential sexual harassment issues.

Drug Testing Policy

Some businesses also have drug testing policies. If you’re going to drug test employees randomly or at various points through their employment, then you should have a policy they agree to upon being hired clearly stating when you have the right to carry out this testing and what happens if an employee doesn’t pass.

Confidentiality Agreement

Confidentiality agreements are also common with a lot of businesses. With this type of policy, you would outline the specific types of information employees are prohibited from sharing outside of your company. This might include client information and proprietary data. So you need to specifically list all of that information and have your employees sign the agreement upon starting work.



Non-compete Agreement

Similarly, you might also have them sign an agreement stating they won’t use the knowledge and experience gained by working for your company to start or help a competing business. For example, this type of agreement might state employees can’t sign your business’s clients to work with a competitor within a year of leaving your company.

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions

  1. Some of these may come across as too “corporate” in a small business setting. I know that I chafed at one of my first jobs because my boss seemed more concerned with having my butt in the chair for a certain number of hours rather than how effectively I was accomplishing my duties.

  2. Aira Bongco

    Thanks for the list. This comes in handy for small businesses that need a small handbook for their employees.

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