Workplace compliance goes well beyond just training your staff.

Many organisations make an effort to educate their people on things such as health and safety, privacy, bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination.

However, most do not back it up with appropriate workplace policies and procedures to guide their people in the event of a workplace incident. This is a big mistake that most organisations make.

Unfortunately, those employers that make this mistake do not have regard for the impacts that it has on their people and the risk it presents to their business.

So let’s look at what can happen if we do not have workplace policies in place.

If an employee is treated unlawfully and there are no workplace policies in place, they may feel confused and alone and not know how to approach the situation. They may also not know who they can go to for support.

Unfortunately, this means that many workplace incidents go unreported, often leading to continued unlawful behaviour and isolation for the victim. This also causes discomfort for their co-workers who have to witness the behaviour.

When workplace incidents are not reported, senior leaders are blind to what is really going on in the workplace. This is damaging to a business because, over time, inappropriate behaviour leads to increased absenteeism, staff turnover and lost productivity.

In the case of serious unlawful behaviour, things can get out of control very quickly, and this presents a massive risk to employees and the overall business.

Yes, most of us would understand that workplace policies are important.

Whilst you may be thinking. Well, if you were being treated inappropriately or your safety was at risk, is it not common sense to make it known?

In some ways, you are not wrong, but you are also not right either. Workplace policies are important because they communicate to the employee what to do in the event of a workplace incident. They point them in the direction of a supervisor or manager for support. They make it clear that action needs to be taken because it is inappropriate and that unlawful behaviour is not tolerated in the workplace.

The best employers also train their supervisors and managers on how to handle situations where a staff member reports a workplace incident. But that’s another important topic for another day!

But unfortunately, common sense is not always common practice.

This leads to hidden costs of non-compliance, as mentioned above. Industry surveys, exit interviews, and lost time injury reports all lead to a massive shift in absenteeism, staff turnover, lost productivity, mental health issues and reputational damage.

Not having appropriate workplace policies in place also exposes your business to claims of legal liability. This is because, in the eyes of the law, an employer must take all reasonable steps to keep their people safe and protect them from unlawful behaviour in the workplace.

Having appropriate workplace policies in place to support workplace compliance training is a must.

Are you reading this blog and feeling inadequate, or do you have a sense that you may be exposed?

Then you will want to talk to your legal/HR advisor. Alternatively, for Australian businesses, you may want to check out Safeguard by Sentrient, which delivers workplace compliance training and also provides a workplace compliance system with a workplace policy builder for you to house all of your policies.

The team at Sentrient is making it easier for Australian businesses to do the right thing and protect themselves from the ever-increasing costs associated with breaches in safety, invasion of privacy, and workplace incidents such as bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination.