For HR professionals, the past couple of months has been quite challenging on the work-front. In response to the global pandemic, most companies are implementing work-from-home-arrangements for employees so they can keep things running. Most of them are on a constant lookout for HR compliance policies that meet their organization’s needs.
Moreover, it has been a whole new ball-game for HR to straighten things up. Be they, implementing remote work policy, ensuring if employees are doing okay, arranging work equipment for remote employees and the list goes on…
To add to the existing miseries, the rising cyberattacks are making things difficult for HR to run things smoothly. So, along with all the cautions about online scams and email phishing, another pitfall awaits – HR Legal Concerns. It’s possible that without a legally sound remote work policy, your efforts can unexpectedly create big legal problems for you. And each of these legal issues could be a potential liability for your company.
So, to help you rule out these issues concerning HR legalities, we have gathered 7 key HR compliance policies to help you effectively manage your remote workforce while keeping your business running. Let’s look into these HR Compliance policies one by one.
7 Key HR compliance policies
1. Attendance policy
With the number of remote teams continuing to grow every day, companies today are moving towards a virtual workspace. Without a second thought, there are indeed many perks for leading a home-based workforce. But, it often comes with attendance management challenges.
Since your team doesn’t physically meet every day, tracking employee attendance can be a difficult task. You need tools and strategies that can help you make sure home-based workers stay productive.
Therefore, this employee attendance policy is a must when it comes to managing your remote workforce. A well-planned attendance policy will not only help you manage absenteeism but also gives you an insight on how to further improve the policy based on how well it is being received by the employees.
Thus, to effectively manage your remote team, you need a process for attendance conduct. Your strategy should include a way to track employee hours worked. And, it should use methods to increase employee engagement so that employees want to work.
An effective remote team attendance management strategy can improve your operations and offer more benefits to employees. If done well, you will see the positive impact remote employees can have on your business.
2. Corporate social media policy
This is one of the most important HR compliance policies. Because one wrong move by the employees can have irrevocable damage to your company brand.
Most of your employees are likely to use one or more social media platforms. Whatever they post on their personal accounts can either make or break your company’s brand. This is why you need a company social media policy – to address limitations on what employees can post and not post.
To add on, since your employees own their social media profiles, as an organization you can’t restrict what they post on their profiles. However, you can provide them with reasonable guidelines about what they shouldn’t post about, for instance, confidential data. And also provide any potential disciplinary actions if their posts affect your company’s image, for instance, hate speech.
As far as your own company’s social media accounts are concerned, you’re entitled to set the rules of posting. In other words, as an organization, you’ll want to have a consistent voice on your social media and want to avoid posting potentially risky statements/ information. A social media policy for employees can give them the instructions they need to know how to handle corporate accounts.
Of course, remember that this policy is a living document. That is the social media landscape changes often with changing/new privacy rules and regulations. So, make sure you keep up-to-date with changes and think about whether your company’s social media policy might need some revamping.
3. Confidentiality policy
Firstly, you need to tailor the employee confidentiality policy that meets your company’s needs. And remember, this policy should be considered a starting point for setting up your other employment policies.
A confidentiality policy should explain how you expect your employees to treat confidential information. Because, employees will unavoidably receive and handle personal and private information about clients, partners, and our company. So, you have to make sure that this information is well-protected. And some examples of this confidential information include:
- Unpublished financial information
- Data of customers/partners/vendors
- Patents, formulas or new technologies
- Customer lists (existing and prospective)
- Data entrusted to your company by external parties
- Pricing/marketing and other undisclosed strategies
- Documents and processes explicitly marked as confidential
- Unpublished goals, forecasts, and initiatives marked as confidential
Therefore, it is imperative for you to protect this information for two main reasons:
- It is legally binding, even after the separation of employment. Thereby, protecting your company’s sensitive data at all times.
- It constitutes the backbone of your business, giving you a competitive advantage.
And, the best way to do so is through a confidentiality contract agreement signed between the employee and the company.
4. Data protection policy
Usually, a data protection policy refers to your commitment to treat the information of employees, customers, stakeholders, and other interested parties with care and confidentiality. This is one of the most important HR compliance policies that most organizations concentrate on.
Because, as part of your business operations, you need to obtain and process information. This information includes any offline or online data that makes a person identifiable such as names, addresses, usernames and passwords, digital footprints, photographs, social security numbers, financial data, etc.
With this policy in place, you will be obligated to ensure that the data you gather and the store will be handled fairly and transparently with respect to individual rights. In other words, your company can collect this information, provided the interested parties are willing and are okay with their data being collected. If it’s otherwise, the company will have to face legal consequences. So, to avoid such scenarios, your company should have a well-laid out data protection policy. And this policy should cover the following:
- Clauses on restrictions and monitoring access to sensitive data
- Development of transparent data collection procedures
- Training employees in online privacy and security measures
- Building secure networks to protect online data from cyberattacks
- Clear procedures for reporting privacy breaches or data misuse
- Contract clauses or statements on how you handle data
- Data protection practices (document shredding, secure locks, data encryption, frequent backups, access authorization, etc.)
5. Employee code of conduct
This is yet another important HR compliance policies. The employee code of conduct company policy outlines your company’s expectations regarding employees’ behavior towards their colleagues, supervisors, and overall organization.
This policy encourages and binds employees to strictly follow the company’s code of conduct. Be they:
- Avoiding, offending, or participating in serious disputes and disrupting the workflow
- Protecting company property. In this case – company data
- Exhibiting professionalism
- Restraining from accepting gifts of any kind from clients/partners
- Fulfilling the assigned job duties with utmost integrity and discipline
- Staying present and punctual while carrying out job duties
- Avoiding personal, financial, or other interests that might hinder their capability to perform their job duties
- Fostering a well-organized, respectful, and collaborative environment
6. Anti-discrimination/equal opportunity policy
With remote work being implemented across, anti-discrimination/equal opportunity policy is extremely crucial to protect the rights of all your remote employees. This equal opportunity employer policy reflects the company’s commitment to ensure equality and promote diversity in the organization.
This equal employment opportunity policy is the pillar of a healthy and productive workplace. This policy revolves around the notion – ‘everyone should feel supported and valued to work productively’.
Being an equal opportunity employer means that you provide the same opportunities for hiring, advancement, and benefits to everyone without discriminating on the basis of:
- Sex / Gender
- Sexual orientation
- Ethnicity / Nationality
- Medical history
This implies that you treat all employees with fairness in all the aspects of employment. Be they:
- Evaluating performance
- Administering compensation and benefits
- Terminating employees
This doesn’t end here. This policy should also protect employees against harassment. The HR department has to assess the company’s processes from time and time and ensure they are 100% bias-free. Most importantly, it’s the primary duty of HR to create an open environment where employees feel free to approach them anytime to discuss anything and everything.
7. Dress code when meeting with customers or partners
With remote work scenarios, online/video meeting calls are on a rise. And this calls for a dress code company policy. This policy should outline how you expect your employees to dress while attending these online meetings – be it internal with employees or external-client meetings.
It is important to ensure that your employees are aware and strictly adhere to your dress code policy, especially when addressing critical business clients/partners. Because an employee’s appearance can create a positive or negative impression that reflects your company and culture.
This policy may cover the following aspects:
- All employees must maintain personal hygiene and should be well-groomed before attending a meeting. However, grooming styles dictated by religion and ethnicity aren’t restricted
- All clothes must be work-appropriate. Workout clothes or pajamas/night suits etc are strictly not allowed
- All clothes must project professionalism
- All clothes must be clean and in good shape
- Employees must avoid clothes with stamps that are offensive or inappropriate