Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Christina Fiorenza

BY CHRISTINA FIORENZA

While we wait patiently for our world to return to some form of regularity, now is the perfect time to ensure your policies and procedures are updated, communicated, and enforced. I’ve worked with many clients over the years who want to run their companies like a family, and they feel policies and procedures just make things too rigid. I try to show them that families have policies and procedures (make your bed before school! mow the yard before you see your friends!), though family rules aren’t usually distributed in writing with signatures required. Nonetheless, groups of people work better together when they are clear.

What are the most important policies and procedures you need in your business? Every company is different, but here are some procedures that many chauffeured transportation companies find useful:

    • Onboarding a new hire
    • DOT rules and regulations for livery and commercial vehicles
    • Incident reporting and handling
    • Pre- and post-vehicle checks
    • Drug testing and background checks
    • Status updates
    • Group and event bookings
    • Affiliate vs. retail vs. corporate bookings
    When you have these policies and procedures in place, you ensure that your management and team operate as one unit and that incidents and mistakes can be identified and addressed quickly. Without a procedure in place, how can you fix what’s broken, especially if no two people or departments handle the process in the same way? A healthy, successful workplace needs guidelines for both management and employees.

    Think back to the last couple of incidents you had in your fleet department. If the process of completing the pre-check on your motorcoach had been done step by step with the time and attention required, would you have caught the issue ahead of time instead of after you picked up your clients? Could you have avoided a safety-related incident? Ensuring that procedures are put in place—and followed—can create better quality of service and a safer work environment.
    “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” – Vince Lombardi

    Here are a few more reasons to ensure your policies and procedures are accurate and enforced:
      • They allow employees to understand who is responsible for each area and therefore who to turn to for assistance, help, or direction. Procedures set out clear expectations for a process and identify the person who owns that area: someone employees can turn to with concerns. Since this person is responsible when something breaks down, he/she needs to hold employees accountable to ensure the process is being followed.
      • Speaking of the person responsible, policies and procedures keep management accountable. Documenting and communicating the procedures ensures transparency, and employees see the expectations the company places on management.
      • For procedures related to safety and sensitive issues, it is essential to comply with the law. Having well-defined policies complete and complaint processes will ensure that your team is complying with safety, employment, DOT, and other laws that apply to your company.
      • Finally, in the unfortunate event that one of your departing employees files a claim against your company, documenting that procedures have been followed and enforced will help defend against a legal claim. The more documentation you can show that supports your claim that you followed policy and procedures for everyone, not just the employee in question, the better chance you will have of coming out on top.
      Many companies I work with have what they consider to be procedures in place, but if you were to ask a few employees what those procedures are, they wouldn’t be able to tell you. That may be because they don’t want to follow them, but other times it’s because they don’t remember or they haven’t been told. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there is a procedure for informing your team of your policies! Don’t send an email; most likely it will only get pushed to the bottom of a full inbox. Instead, post procedures in a clearly identified area where the work takes place to serve as a daily reminder. And for those procedures that are the most important, discussion, enforcement, and retraining on a regular basis are essential. It will also be important to do a quick refresh as employees return to work.

      So while we are all having a bit of downtime in our work, and while we are all experiencing changes in our teams, take the time to review your current policies and procedures. Making changes and adjustments as necessary will prove to be beneficial as we start to build back up to full operating mode! Having a clear road map for employees to follow is better than a trial and error approach and helps your team perform to the best of their ability.   [CD1020]
      Christina Fiorenza is the HR Director for the LMC Groups. She can be reached at christina@lmcpeople.com.