official content for your people

There is ‘official’ content for your people that is essential, required and legally needed.

While Creative Words is of course great at creating content, we’re not qualified to talk about this particular type of ‘official’ content. So, for this final blog in our series we’ve invited HR specialist, Pippa Dennitts of Sagegreen, to share her knowledge and expertise to help ensure you get this piece just right.

Over to you Pippa…

In my role I work very closely with directors and business owners. I help them understand how to get the very best out of the people situation in their organisation. The aim is to help them grow their business through their people, rather than in spite of their people.

The ‘official’ content you need in place

There is some non-negotiable ‘official’ content that must be in place if you’re an employer.

Never fear, the list is actually surprisingly small, and consists of…

  1. An Employment contract
  2. A Disciplinary procedure
  3. A Grievance procedure, and
  4. A Health and Safety policy

There aren’t often changes to legal requirements for Employment contracts. However, there were in fact some that came out in April 2020 for new employees. One of these was changing the requirement for all employment contracts to be given on day 1 of your new people starting (previously you had an 8-week period in which to do this).

Policies don’t exist just to stop you being sued!

There’s a commonly held belief that policies and contracts are only there to stop you from being sued!

In fact, if you’ve got the right policies in place they can add value to your business. So, before you head off trawling the internet to see how many different policies you can find – stop!

First get a proper understanding of where you want your business to go. Then develop policies and procedures that support what you want to achieve. It’s about having added value, rather than policies for policy’s sake. In fact, if you have policies and don’t stick to them, that’s far more likely to get you into hot water than having no policies in the first place!

Aim to have policies that really do add value and help with the communication side of the business. This helps people understand how things need to be done to help your organisation run well.

The formula for writing policies 

Really, writing policies is exactly like writing any other form of content. Ask yourself…

  • Who is this for?
  • What’s the value that we want from this?
  • What do actually want them to think, feel and do?

And then write backwards from that place, rather than starting with a whole load of legal terminology that your people likely won’t understand. Now of course there are legal terms that need to be included. Try to add these in plain English so that people are more likely to read and engage with what’s being shared.

You can’t force engagement

Enlightened organisations recognise that you can’t force engagement with people. Ultimately the choice of whether to engage or not remains solely with each individual. As an employer, all you can do is provide the best opportunities and the right (physical, emotional and psychological) environment for your people to choose to engage with the organisation and its values.

Every team member is an individual. As an organisation grows, the appreciation and understanding of each individual’s circumstances and needs falls to the organisation’s people managers. It’s vital therefore that business owners and leaders understand that their role is to focus on the people who work directly for them, and not aim to engage the entire business as a whole. So, while the policies and contracts should be in place, don’t expect people to engage simply because you’ve written it down somewhere.

Effective communication across the board

It’s so important to ensure there is effective communication between those who are leading the business and their people managers. Responsibility must be taken for curating an organisation-wide approach to environmental factors. These include things like wellbeing and benefits programmes, to ensure they meet the needs of each individual and are aligned with the values of the business.

Ultimately, once your business leaders are trained, trusted and held accountable for the levels of engagement with their people managers, the people managers can then be trained, trusted and held accountable for the levels of engagement within their teams.

Align internal and external communications

I’ve always valued a strong relationship with the marketing department. In my view the consistency between internal and external messaging is absolutely vital. This helps with creating the right culture where engagement with your people can thrive.

When your messaging is aligned there’s a far greater chance of openness and clarity of expectations, along with provision of a common view of the organisational world. Your people are then able to connect over and unite behind this messaging because there’s no confusion over which set of messages takes precedent.

If you have any concerns about hitting the right mark with this kind of content for your people and would like some support, book a free content review call and we can look at your messaging together.

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