Last month I spent some time working with a local Yorkshire charity, Sunshine and Smiles, to review and update their contracts. Sunshine was set up 3 years ago to support families and their children and young people with Down’s syndrome. It had happily got to the position of having grown so much that it needed to formalise some policies and develop the contractual paperwork originally put in place when the group started off.
This is typical of several of our business clients. They have sought our help after suddenly realising that what started off as quite a low key, informal arrangement is now a serious business, with increasing numbers of self-employed contractors or employees and the potential to cause stormy weather for the owners as well as the potential for continued and future success.
Rarely (or more accurately, never) do our employer clients embrace the prospect of contract reviews and additional policies and procedures with the sort of enthusiasm reserved for hitting a target profit level or client base, or even the need to recruit or look for additional premises. But it is nevertheless a positive milestone in the development of any growing business and ignored at the employer’s risk. Here are 5 reasons why it’s worth doing:
- Agreeing more detailed written contracts reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and disputes between you and your employees or self-employed contractors regarding entitlements and obligations.
- Agreeing more detailed and updated contracts, policies and procedures can send a positive message within the organisation regarding its progress, development and direction for the future.
- The introduction of certain procedures in relation to employees, such as disciplinary and grievance procedures, may simply ensure compliance with a legal requirement.
- The introduction of new policies, such as confidentiality and data protection policies, should reduce the risk of breaches and therefore complaints against the business, as well as making it easier to address concerns about individuals’ conduct in those areas.
- The introduction of certain policies and procedures will make it easier to manage a growing number of contractors or employees and will save you time when introducing a new employee or contractor to the business.
It was great to be involved in a review process for Sunshine and Smiles and I hope the charity continues to go from strength to strength. An organisation’s need to review its paperwork owing to sustained growth and plans for the future is definitely a positive step and a milestone worth smiling about. Do get in touch if you think your business has reached that point. We’d love to help.