Many companies are introducing zero tolerance policies in the workplace today. They start with simple concepts such as the banning
of weapons and drug possession at the workplace, on company property or at corporate functions. Their objective is to protect the company’s
greatest assets, its employees! As HR initiatives continue to evolve, company policies are amended to include items such as, misappropriation of
company property, unauthorized expenses and unauthorized use of email, internet use including web surfing, music sharing and the latest crazes,
instant messaging and blogging.
Janet Parker, chair delegate of the Society of Human Resource Management is quoted in the November 2006 Harvard Business Review magazine “most
people feel more comfortable when they know what the guidelines are, we work with our legal department to set boundaries for acceptable behavior,
and we let our employees know the consequences of ignoring them. But we intend them to be just guidelines, it’s impossible to spell out every
type of situation that might come up, human relations aren’t as cut-and dried as that. I’ve know managers that are not comfortable working
in gray areas or having difficult conversations, and they want HR to give them a script to follow.”
Corporations and owners should consider needless costs that can be created with zero tolerance polices and should consider providing managers with
leeway for decision making where the employees, are not placed at risk. Imagine the costs that could be incurred by zero tolerance policy if key
employees, especially skilled professionals, where quickly dismissed for mind sharing or seeking knowledge through the internet to gain answers
to outstanding issues that reside at a corporation. The cost could mount into the ten’s of thousands of dollars to replace skilled individuals
when you take into consideration the advertisement costs, recruiter and profiling fees, training expenses and training time, and the productivity
drain on the organization during the search and ramp up time. Additionally, some policies can halt creativity and innovative thinking of employees.
Corporate policies are important as they establish the foundation in which employees work and function. Human resource managers should review zero
tolerance policies in place at their organizations today and weigh the cost/benefit of these policies. Once policies are adopted and acted upon
within an organization, a standard is set. In an effort to avoid unfair termination discrimination suits from formerly dismissed employees under
these policies, legal counsel should review any policy changes or adoptions. In conclusion, organizations should design policies which provide a
structured environment that encourages employee innovation and high performance. Policies should not be designed to catch employees misbehaving
or in bad acts.
If your corporation would like assistance or guidance with corporate policy review, please contact Axis Global Partners at your earliest convenience
and a trusted business advisor will be assign to your account to assist your company in its journey for success.