Companies of every size occasionally struggle to decide how leniently or stringently to enforce their policies. While some infractions may seem inconsequential, other violations can lead to serious consequences that affect people’s lives in lasting ways. Whether you’re enforcing a simple break room cleanup rule or policies that help you follow local laws like smoking near buildings, it’s important to be consistent. Here are some reasons why all company policies should be routinely enforced.
When company administrators fail to enforce the simplest policies, like break time limits, employees may begin to believe they can get away with breaking all kinds of rules, including major ones that can compromise both the company and its employees. On top of that, if every violation is not addressed in a similar fashion, this can lead employees to believe that the organization is biased or that they are being discriminated against. If these attitudes get out of hand, your business is in trouble. To prevent this, your managers and administrators need to be properly trained to respond appropriately to breach of policy and held responsible for how they handle those situations.
Additionally, you may want to take a look at your rule book. Make sure that you can justify the consequences for breaking each specific rule. If the punishment fits the crime, keep it. If it’s too harsh or feels imbalanced, find a fair solution. If your manager thinks that a punishment is unjust, they may avoid enforcing it until it becomes a serious problem. If consequences are balanced, however, enforcement can be more objective and consistent.
Policies in effect between the company and the public, such as advertising locations and parking spots, should be respected by all employees. Failure to do so may cause a rift in the company’s public relations, and it may lead to losing favored status or special rights and privileges from company partners. For example, your employees parking in spots reserved for specific people, or in areas that belong to adjacent property owners, creates a negative perception of your company. It’s your responsibility to inform your employees where they are allowed to park, where they are not, and potential consequences. You should also communicate with the other businesses so you all know how each will respond to parking violations. Whether it’s a call to the vehicle owner or hiring a towing company to take the vehicle away, work together to make it consistent.
Maintaining ethical standards and adhering to a code of conduct can help you ensure quality work from employees while providing them a good work environment. If standards are not kept, your company can suffer from building a poor reputation in its community. Your transactions may be seen as shady, your products mediocre, and your company a bad place to work. Not only will it be harder to find clients, it will also be harder to find and keep employees. Even large businesses can be severely affected by a bad public image. By enforcing the right policies consistently, you can avoid poor production and protect yourself from the consequences of bad PR.
There are plenty of reasons to enforce your company’s policies correctly, but they all boil down to clearing a path to success. A company with high standards will always be more effective and productive than without. Make policy a priority in your business and you won’t regret it.