Updating your policies & procedures – 3 suggestions
By Stephen W. Earnhart
MS CEO Earnhart & Associates
When was the last time you updated your antiquated policies and unimaginable procedures? Do you even have a policy that address “tweets?” No, you don’t.
What about “blogging?” You don’t have that either do you? But, I bet you have a policy on “personal phone calls in the workplace” don’t you? Who even uses a phone with a wire sticking out of it anymore?
If you are like most of us — hey, I am just as guilty! — you haven’t gotten around to updating your P&Ps with what is “vogue” and “current.” Let me help you on some, since we just updated all of ours. How about a policy on “romantic relationships?” Got one!
• Romantic relationships.
In order to avoid complaints of favoritism, misunderstandings, possible claims of sexual harassment, employee morale and dissension, and the actual or potential conflicts of interest and problems that can potentially result from romantic relationships involving employees in the facility and certain other employees in the facility, the facility would like to discourage these relationships.
Staff are discouraged from becoming romantically involved with one another. Additionally, all employees, both managerial and non-managerial, are discouraged from becoming romantically involved with other employees, when, in the opinion of the facility, their personal relationships may create a conflict of interest, cause disruption, create a negative or unprofessional work environment, or present concerns regarding supervision, safety, security, or morale.
Let’s get back to blogging and tweeting all over each other:
• Use of social networking communications.
Blogging, tweeting, e-mail, texting, and other social media such as MySpace and Facebook are subject to restrictions. You may not use company property to create, maintain, amend, view, access, download, contribute to, or store a blog, tweet, or post entries on the Internet (whether through a social network such as MySpace or Facebook, or using another method).
You may not blog, tweet, or post entries on the Internet (whether through a social network such as MySpace or Facebook, or using another method) while you are on duty. The facility has access to all company-provided electronic equipment and property and may, from time to time and without notice, inspect the condition of that equipment and the communications, content, data, and imagery stored on it.
This policy applies to all blogs and other sites, without regard to whether it is accessible by the public or requires a password. The exception would be using social media for professional marketing of the facility with oversight by the governing body of the pre-approved posts or pictures.
Remember, you are personally responsible for any posting that you make. You can be held personally liable for any statements deemed to be defamatory, obscene, harassing, discriminating, retaliatory, violate privacy rights, or include confidential or copyrighted information (e.g., music, videos, or text that belongs to someone else). The facility is not responsible for protecting you from the consequences of any information that you post.
What? They can’t do that! Can they? What about gossip? Come on now! We all do that, like when that employee had to leave town suddenly. New job? I don’t think so!
• Gossip policy.
Gossip is an activity that can distract, drain, and reduce employee job satisfaction.
Gossip is defined as a rumor or talk of personal, sensational, or intimate nature. Someone who spreads intimate or private rumors or facts engages in trivial, chatty talk or writing and is engaging in gossip.
- Gossip always involves a person who is not involved in the discussion.
- Gossip is an unwelcome and negative discussion involved criticizing another person.
- Gossip is often about conjecture that can injure another person’s credibility, reputation, or the perception of that individual.
In order to have a more respectful, professional, gossip-free workplace, we ask that each employee make the following pledge. I will:
- Not speak or insinuate another person’s name when that person is not present unless it is to compliment or in reference to work matters.
- Refuse to participate when another individual mentions a person in a negative light who is not present. I will change the subject or tell them I have agreed not to talk about another person in a derogatory manner.
- Choose not to respond to negative e-mail by email or use e-mail to pass on private or derogatory information about any person within the company.
- Not speak to another co-worker about other employees in a derogatory light while not at work.
- Follow the proper chain of command if another person in the company does something unethical, incorrect, against procedures, or disruptive, and I will report this to the appropriate person in authority to take corrective action.
- Mind my own business, work hard, be a professional, and expect the same from others.
- In other words, be a good “do-be.” Well, now that all the fun has been taken out of it, let’s get back to work!
- Discuss with my supervisor or another member of the management team if I have concerns or issues about company policies or procedures, but not discuss these issues with my co-workers.
Making negative comments and badmouthing other employees is detrimental to the productivity of the workplace. Malicious gossip and/or the spreading of rumors will not be tolerated. Any violations of this policy will result in corrective action. This action might involve but is not limited to a written warning for the first offense, and a significant violation of this policy may result in immediate termination. [Earnhart & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management. Earnhart & Associates’ address is 238 S. Egret Bay Blvd., Suite 285, Houston, TX 77573-2682. Phone: (512) 297.7575. Fax: (512) 233.2979. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.earnhart.com.]