Just Add Hustle: Shifting Gears
Change careers and create standards for workplace conduct.
April 11, 2016
Success Magazine: What Achievers Read – September 2015 Issue
Tory Johnson, Speaker & Author

Q: How can a small business formalize disciplinary actions? Isn’t that environment too informal for rules and policies?

—Carlos Jimenez, Dallas

A: Every summer when college interns take a break from their books to get real-life experience in my office, I have them sign a simple one-page document that spells out codes of conduct and the parameters of their internship. This ensures that everyone is on the same page from day one.

Just because your workplace is an informal doughnut shop doesn’t prevent you from having formal rules and giving performance reviews every six months (or however often you want). Consistency in enforcing these rules will help you formalize the professional behavior that you’re striving for.

Here are some steps for setting up policies and procedures.

Start by putting your workplace rules in writing. Include scheduling, breaks, sick days and paid time off; the expected code of conduct; safety precautions and requirements; protocols for sharing compliments, complaints and resolving conflicts; frequency and methods of performance reviews; and any other issues that may be relevant to you and your workplace.

Once you’ve mapped out your rules, be sure they comply with the law. Start your research by visiting the website of your state’s department of labor. Most have staff on hand to answer labor-related questions from employers.

Have your employees review and sign the finished document. Keep the hard copy in a safe place, or scan it and file it electronically. Reinforce your rules by hanging poster-sized versions that serve as visual reminders of the issues that are most important to day-to-day operations.

Performance reviews are so important that I want to emphasize a few related points.

First, use those reviews to identify and share your expectations with all of your full- and part-time employees. By assessing everyone, you advance your goal of reducing the appearance of a too-casual workplace.

Also broaden your thinking about performance reviews. Although you will need to point out areas for improvement, you should look upon reviews as opportunities to praise what each person is doing right.

Finally, reviews serve as a terrific opportunity to solicit feedback for ideas about making your business a great place for both employees and customers. By giving your workers a voice in your operation, you’ll maintain high morale, which is crucial to growing the business. As another morale-booster, I  suggest that you hang a bulletin board in a back room or somewhere else that’s prominent yet behind-the-scenes. Use it to post employee raves by peers and management, which will help foster a culture of people who take pride in their jobs and want to excel at work.

Check out the full article here.