Knowing the ins and outs of human resources policies is one of your responsibilities as an employee. Never is it acceptable to say “I didn’t know!” if you inadvertently violate a policy.
Some Human Resources Policies to Consider
Dress Code: There are written and unwritten rules. Your need to know them both, but you particularly need to abide by the written ones. That could dictate what you wear during the summer, on casual Fridays, etc., that might be different from the norm.
Working Hours: Every workplace has a different expectation for working hours. At many places, it is what you accomplish, not what hours you are there. At other workplaces, you are expected to be at your desk at 8:30, take no more than a one-hour lunch, etc. Make sure that you are clear on how you as an employee are expected to track your hours. Do you clock in and out on a computer? Keep track in a log? Do a time sheet allotting hours to the appropriate client project or department? Make sure you are keeping adequate track of your time so that there is never controversy over hours worked.
Overtime Policies: Some companies have stated overtime policies and you are wise not to deviate from them. If you rack up a lot of overtime that your manager is not expecting, and expect to get paid, he or she could be blamed for throwing a budget out of whack. Always make sure you are clear on expected and approved overtime policies.
Vacation/ Sick Policies: These also vary by workplace. Sometimes you have a “use it or lose it” policy toward vacation. Be sure that you know so you are not stuck with a backlog during the busy holiday season. Find out how you are expected to request time off and make sure you ask in plenty of time and follow the rules so that you aren’t faced with a surprise from doing something wrong. Sometimes vacations, sick time and holidays are all lumped together. Find out the policy for coding them and make sure you are taking the time you are allotted — but no more.
Social Media: Many companies now have social media policies that govern what you can say about your work and company. A good basic rule is just not to talk about your work, period. Then you know you are not violating a policy. Privacy is very important to companies and talking about work, even if it seems to be benign, can be a ground for termination.
BYOD: Many companies also have polices on “bring your own device” referring to whether you can use your own personal computer, tablet or smartphone to conduct business. If you do, make sure that you have complied with all privacy settings concerning firewalls, passwords, etc. And remember that some companies consider your device — and everything that’s on it — company property. Make sure that content you have is acceptable for your supervisors to see, and make sure you back up personal data including address books and photos, in case your device is wiped.
The bottom line is that it is your responsibility to know whatever the policies are at your place of work and adhere to them. Working cooperatively with human resources is always in your best interest.
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