What are Staff Guidelines?

Lori Smith
Lori Smith
Employee pulling her punch card to clock in.
Employee pulling her punch card to clock in.

Staff guidelines usually refer to a set of rules and expectations an employer or corporation establishes for employees. Many business owners and human resource managers consolidate these general policies into an employee manual, which often covers a variety of topics such as dress codes, attendance, and even dispute resolution procedures. Aside from certain rules to which all employees are generally expected to adhere, other practices may be instituted that differ among departments. For example, warehouse staff guidelines might differ from ones instituted for office personnel. Likewise, commissioned salespeople may have an alternate set of procedures to follow.

For the most part, staff guidelines are created so that everybody knows what is expected of them in the workplace. There are times, however, where some rules may only apply to a specific department. Hourly workers, for example, may be expected to punch a time clock every day as a way to keep track of the hours they have worked, whereas salaried staff members may be asked to sign a daily log instead. For this reason, it is common for employers to provide each department with staff guidelines that are applicable to them. This helps avoid confusion and frustration among personnel.

Managers are also frequently required to abide by staff guidelines. There are many issues, however, that may be unique to them. Policies regarding hiring and termination of employees, performance reviews of subordinates or other topics may be included in a manager's manual, whereas other personnel may not be privy to this information.

Aside from role-specific rules, general staff guidelines usually apply to everybody within an organization. An important reason for this type of universal policy is to ensure that each person is treated fairly. If an individual breaks a rule, the policy may also outline the consequence one might expect. For example, if an employee fails to show up to work without a valid excuse, the staff guidelines might reveal that he may receive a warning or suspension for the first offense. It may also indicate the circumstances in which an individual's employment can be terminated.

Since business owners or human resource managers compile the original staff guidelines, they can usually revise them at any time to meet the changing needs of the company. Some employers amend company policy on a yearly basis, whereas others rarely do. There are times when a jurisdiction's employment laws change, however. When this occurs, a business owner will typically modify rules or procedures to coincide with what is legally permissible. Failure to do so may result in costly legal ramifications for the corporation.

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    • Employee pulling her punch card to clock in.
      Employee pulling her punch card to clock in.