Policies and procedures in the workplace: prior preparation prevents poor performance

Every once in a while, an article appears in the press about how many lawsuits Romanian employers are losing in court, and the numbers are not small at all. We are talking about percentages of over 70% that are in the favor of the employees. A detailed analysis of the history of the last 10 years could help both employers and consulting firms to improve their existing practices. It would create, what others are calling, a jurisprudence.

Since the pandemic began, the Mazars team has been discussing with customers the policies and procedures that needed to be designed in order to go through this difficult period. And in all cases, they were related to other policies and procedures that should have already existed within the company. So far, we are talking about 3 out of 4 employers who do not have the complete set of policies and procedures adapted to the environment in which they operate. Also, job descriptions are irrelevant where they exist and everything is considered bureaucracy by the employer, who is ignoring not only the legal framework but also the need for clarity required by the employee.

Another unclear issue is related to abuse on both sides. Some managers do not know how to guide their team members in crises and the reporting of abusive behavior is non-existent because there is no clarity regarding the existing process:

• How to identify abusive behavior vs. demanding behavior?

• Who to talk to about this behavior?

• What mechanism is created to protect the claimant?

On the other hand, there are employees who abuse the employer. It is a wide phenomenon of about 10 years, especially among blue collars employees, to sign an employment contract, to come to work for a day or two and then give up because it is too difficult. In Romania, the authorities should take corrective measures similar to those in the USA, wherein in the absence of a minimum of 6 months of work, the employee no longer receives social assistance. Here, the employer is put in the situation of losing several thousand euros for each case of this kind. These costs are generated by the employment and training process and then by the administrative ones of closing the employment contract. And we are not talking about one case a year because there are often dozens of such cases.

Many employers only seek help in reviewing the package of policies and procedures when they have an ITM control or a lawsuit initiated by a former employee. Otherwise, they prefer to review them internally, without correctly assessing the risks to which they are exposed. There is also the situation of companies that merge or acquire another company, where they need to see what financial obligations they are subject to, as a result of this approach. But even here, in many cases, it is not about an optimisation of people management practices, but just to check another action point in the plan. And all because they don't want to pay an extra €5,000, when the financial risk is 10 times higher than the amount mentioned in most situations.

What is ignored when talking about policies and procedures is that they guarantee respect for the rights of employees and employers who are at the heart of a healthy culture. Employees' trust in the employer's practices is the factor that most influences their level of involvement in achieving the company's objectives. We are talking here about a transparency effort for an increase in employee productivity by 20% compared to the existing level.