I am continuing to talk about policies this month. Specifically, the type of policies that every organization should have. Today’s choice is the “being ethical” policy.
Last week I talked about following the laws and regulations. That is a pretty low bar. Staying out of jail is obviously desirable, but most groups would expect behaviour to be better than just “not against the law.”
Determining this policy requires that the group consider their core values. I am hoping that honesty and integrity are among those values. If so, then the policy would be that “board members, volunteers and employees all exhibit honest and integrity in their daily activities.” Some examples would help.
I am going to be talking about policies in March. Specifically, the type of policies that every organization should have. Today’s choice is the “We Follow the Rules” policy.
An organization is affected every time that a law is changed, both federally and provincially. It is not practical to change every policy every time there is a legislative change. The practical thing to do is to have a policy that says, “We will comply with every known law and regulation that applies to us. Every board member, volunteer and employee is required to follow all rules set by any recognized authority.” Or something that says the same thing in your own words. In this way you have made it clear that you are a group that follows the rules and that is a good policy to have.
Every organization has decision makers. What I am talking about today is the way your governance framework affects who can make a decision.
Does your organization have a clear idea of the types of decisions that can only be made at the board level? Does your management understand how much leeway they have in applying polices that are set by the board? What decisions can be made by your front line employees?
There is a balance to all of this. The board should not be in charge of the colour of file folders in use and the staff should not be deciding that it is time to buy a building. Having a conversation about where these decision limits are will go a long way to reducing the drama. Everyone benefits from knowing what they are allowed to decide and what they are not allowed to decide.