Dresser & Associates

How to Create Effective Policies about Employees and Technology

There have been several court cases regarding employee privacy and utilization of company-provided technology. Carefully written company policies are indispensable for avoiding costly lawsuits. When creating new policies, you will need to focus on content, implementation and enforcement.

One thing is certain: if there is no policy the company has few, if any, rights. That doesn’t mean policies are the solution to all the impacts the use of technology in the workplace has on employee – employer relations. Employers who provide computers, email, internet, phones, cell phones, walkie-talkies, pagers or any other form of electronic communication device, should have policies regarding their usage.

Policy writing as it relates to technology may be a fine art. When composing a policy, it’s important to consider the following:

  1. Employees: When writing policies, keep your employees in mind. Don’t fill policies with technology jargon that might not be familiar to all employees. Policies written in terms not easily understood by the masses are ineffectual. Employees won’t bother to follow what they can’t understand.
  2. Managers: These are the people trusted to implement and enforce the written policies. They should be part of the policy development process to help guarantee their buy-in. Participation improves understanding. When the manager understands the need for and importance of a policy, they are much more likely to expect and get compliance from their workers.
  3. Development Team: One size fits all doesn’t always work when it comes to the nuances of technology. Human resources should request that company techno-wizards review policies related to technology and its use in the workplace. IT needs to educate HR on the challenges and opportunities presented by emerging technologies so that policies don’t stifle the organizations ability to compete in the global marketplace.
  4. Communication and Implementation: Policy for the sake of having a policy is an exercise in futility. Policies should be developed because a real need has been identified. Companies should have an implementation strategy that includes training programs for all levels of employees along with documentation of participation.
  5. Enforcement: Policies are only as good as the technology that exists to back them up. HR and IT need to work in close consultation regarding techno-policies to decide who is responsible for monitoring, and what constitutes an infraction. It is probable that IT will be less likely to consider something an infraction than HR would in the same situation.

Technology policies and procedures alone are not going to keep companies out of court, but well-informed employees, who work with a management team knowledgeable enough to interpret and enforce technology policies can be a strong deterrent to future employee litigation.

Contributed by:

Osborne Communications

Posted in Human Resources | Comments Off on How to Create Effective Policies about Employees and Technology

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