Creating a Code of Conduct Policy

The words “code of conduct” may make you think you’re already in trouble. However, a company’s code of conduct is ultimately just a policy that details responsibilities, social norms, and other rules employees should follow in their interactions with others and toward the organization as a whole. Simply put, it lets employees know what you expect from them, which should help create a more harmonious workplace.

A code of conduct is not only beneficial in terms of managing employee behavior, but it can also help establish your company’s culture and core values. Let’s get to it.

Creating an Reasonable Accommodation Policy (ADA)

More than 60 million adults in the United States have a disability. That’s one in four, according to the CDC. This means that, in all likelihood, some of your employees are affected by disability. By empowering conversation around disability and reasonable accommodations, your company can create an inclusive and accessible workplace where every employee thrives.

Plus, let’s be real. Your employees probably know that this policy is required, so it’s important to put your own spin on it. How can you create a policy that covers the must-haves while providing insight into your company culture? We’ve got some ideas.

Creating a Lactation Accommodation policy

As the emphasis on inclusive workplaces grows, it’s no surprise that lactation accommodation laws are a part of this equation. Lactation accommodations have been federally required since 2010 when the Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide protection for employees who need to express breast milk.

In recent years, more states and locations have developed their own specific laws, so it’s important you provide nursing employees everything they need to know about lactation accommodations in the workplace.

Creating a Policy Against Harassment, Discrimination & Retaliation

As an employer, one of your handbook’s most important policies is the one that prohibits harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Employees rely on you to create a work environment where everyone feels safe and respected. Failure to do so will lead to a long list of imminent difficulties. So, are you ready to make your employees feel valued or what?

Employees expect to see a policy against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in your company handbook. In fact, aside from policies about taking time off work, your anti-harassment policy is likely one of the most frequently reviewed. It deserves your time and attention, just like your employees deserve to work in an environment where they can thrive.

And, as with all handbook policies, be sure to explain why the policy has been developed. It’s much more than a means to prevent legal woes — it speaks to your company and its culture, too.

Creating an Equal Employment Opportunity policy

Most employers are required to have an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy. And, even if it’s not mandated for your company, it’s strongly recommended. An EEO policy illustrates that your organization is committed to creating an equitable workforce. Though job seekers and employees expect your company to have an EEO policy, you can use this policy to make a powerful statement about the organization and its culture.

We always emphasize the inclusion of the why that supports the policy, and this is truly an opportunity to help your organization shine

The Straw that Broke HR’s Back

Stress Amid the Great Resignation

Though it’s been a rough two years for everyone, HR professionals have experienced unprecedented levels of stress. In addition to the complexities of managing workplace virus protocols, HR professionals are feeling the brunt of employee turnover as the Great Resignation continues. COVID-19’s initial disruption caused widespread job losses as companies tried to stay afloat. Then, as the virus perpetuated, employees suffered from burnout, leading to voluntary resignations in record numbers.

In November of 2021, the U.S. saw its highest quit rate since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the data in December 2000. After peaking in November, the quit rate remains significantly elevated. January 2022 brought an additional 4.25 million resignations, compared to January 2021’s 3.31 million. Yikes.    

Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the sources of our information. To develop this article, we looked at two surveys conducted last year. It’s important to note that this research was conducted prior to the introduction of the Omicron variant, which complicated things further. 

Creating a Drug and Alcohol policy

Employees expect you to have a policy related to drugs and alcohol, but it needs to be more than the mere dos and don’ts. With increased awareness surrounding substance use and misuse, it’s important to provide a policy that goes well beyond the punishment piece. If your employees are struggling, the best thing you can do is provide them with the resources to recover. Though employees won’t be surprised to see a drug and alcohol policy in your handbook, it’s still important to define why the policy exists and how you may be able to help employees in need.

Creating a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy

Paid time off is a popular topic, particularly when recruiting new talent. With a growing emphasis on flexibility and work-life balance, your paid time off (PTO) policy is one of the most important — and definitely one of the most read. In our series of policy creation posts, we often stress the need to provide your employees with the why that drives the policy. However, in this case, chances are that your employees are eager to read your stance on PTO. Plus, when it comes to employee culture, your PTO policy is a good indicator of what you’re all about.

Creating an Outside Employment (Moonlighting) Policy

Now, maybe more than ever, it’s important that you create or refresh your company’s policy about outside employment (or moonlighting). As with all policies related to off-duty behavior, strict requirements will cause more harm than good. Since employees can easily — and justifiably — be turned off by a stringent outside employment policy, it’s key that you dive into why the policy is necessary.

Creating a Dress Code policy

Though dress codes don’t carry the same clout they used to, it’s best to have a documented policy outlining employee dress expectations — even if it’s simple. Many employers have relaxed their dress codes given the increase in remote work and the desire to keep employees happy, but some environments still require them for the sake of cleanliness or safety. By documenting what’s acceptable and what’s not, your employees will know what you expect from them, leading to fewer awkward conversations. And, as with all policies, remind your employees why the dress code exists.