Suggested Language for The Care and Prospering of Human Resources (Personnel Policies)
This represents our thoughts on how Kingdom principles might meet the world's need for Personnel Policies. We begin with an introductory letter to set the tone and basis for having personnel policies. We then follow with a list of topics commonly found in personnel policies and suggestions for ways to approach them. The biggest difference you will see is that in all cases, policies are in a more scriptural or positive manner than in sample policies from a world view. Where it seemed helpful, we have included Scriptural references. These could be simply used for your reference and study; they could be included in the policies as is or along with references you find useful; for an organization that is not overtly Christian, they could be paraphrased; or they could be excluded altogether. In all cases, the Matthew 7:12 version of the Golden Rule and the Philippians 4:8 passage apply.
The Care and Prospering of Employees at XYZ
Dear _________________, We suggest you insert the person's name here.
Thank you for agreeing to work with all of us here at XYZ Corporation. We hope you chose us because you see a corporation that you can support and add value to, and a corporation that will, in turn, support and reward you. We chose you because we see someone who can help us grow and excel through your knowledge, skills and attitudes. The purpose of this conversation and the supporting document is to identify the expectations we have of each other – you of us and we of you – in assuring mutually rewarding work experience.
As you already know, our Values, Vision and Mission are... (Here we recommend printing them in full.)
At the bottom of this document we will together sign that we will work together in upholding our values, achieving our vision and carrying out our mission.
My job as Owner/CEO/President is to serve you and all the employees in making that happen. I know that sounds like some hollow, popular thing to say, but I intend to prove to you that it is real. Please ask your new fellow employees around here what our leadership is truly like and whether we live up to what I just said. Much, if not all of what we do at XYZ involves other people including fellow employees, supervisors, customers, vendors and competitors. So we in leadership see our job as serving our employees first, so that they can serve these others.
In such a people-rich environment, we find it useful to talk about a number of common workplace issues that come up in how we treat each other and our environment. All of these are based on what is sometime called, The Golden Rule – "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you." A related saying defines the kind of positive work environment we strive to achieve: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—focus on and do such things."
On the accompanying pages is a list of those common workplace issues and the way that XYZ chooses to address them. By entering into this mutual agreement of employment between you and XYZ, and working together to upholding our values, vision and mission, we agreeing to live our work lives according to these principles.
On this ___ day of ________, 20__, we acknowledge our agreement to work together to uphold the vision, values and mission of the XYZ Corporation and to address the issues in the accompanying document as described.
For XYZ Corporation: Employee:
Owner/CEO / President Employee
XYZ's Response to Common Workplace Issues
Absenteeism and Tardiness – Timeliness is one way we show respect for each other and for our mission. Choose to be on time for work and for meetings. If for some reason you cannot make an assigned time, notify your supervisor or the other parties involved as early as possible. (Rom 12:10; 13:7)
Addressing Wrongs – There will likely be times when you feel wronged by others or you when you believe someone performed a task incorrectly or behaved in a way harmful to our mission. At XYZ we choose to follow a simple procedure for addressing those wrongs. All employees, as well as management, are urged to use this process: (Mt 18:15-17; Gal 6:1; Ja 5:19-20; Lev 19:17; 2Ti 2:25-26; Col 3:12-17)
1. Go directly to the person who behaved in a way you feel is wrong. Respectfully and calmly identify the specific behavior just between the two of you. If s/he listens to you, you will have won back that person.
2. If s/he does not listen to you, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
3. If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], report the behavior to a supervisor who will take it from there.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Other Dangerous Substances or Items – It is a shared responsibility of all employees to guarantee a safe workplace. The use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, including abuse of prescription drugs, puts you and others in danger. XYZ is a drug-free workplace. Likewise, it is vital to exclude any substance or item that could potentially present a danger to anyone in the workplace, such as weapons of any kind. (Lev 19:16b; 2Tim 2:20-21; Gal 5:9; numerous OT passages in which God laid out laws that would protect the Israelites' health in their camps)
Appeals – Any action taken under Correction and Discipline, below, may be questioned by appealing to one's supervisor. If the supervisor is a party to the questioned action, the employee may request a panel of peers to review the actions taken and to make recommendations to XYZ management. Such a panel will be formed by three people, one chosen by the employee, one by the other party in the disagreement, and one by the owner/CEO/President of XYZ. (Mt 18:15-17)
Blogging and Social Media – Participation in internet-related communications can be either a constructive or a destructive activity. As with all our policies, please keep the Golden Rule foremost in your mind. When you identify XYZ in your use of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs or any other on-line medium, realize you are affecting all of your co-workers, supervisors, vendors, customers and all our families. If you plan to mention the organization please talk it over first with your manager. "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—focus on and do such things." (Phil 4:8, 2 Tim 2:16; 20-21)
Breaks and Lunch – (This is highly individual to each organization. Describe your policies, though, using mission-specific language. E.g. why lunch breaks are set up the way they are; why breaks are scheduled at specific times)
Compensation – The mission of XYZ can only be accomplished through employees like you. We strive to compensate all our employees in a way that reflects our commitment to you and our mission. (This section states when and how employees will be paid. We recommend including language here on how you have arrived at the compensation policy you provide. Pray about what God would have you offer and how it may compare to other organizations or your geographical area, etc. What you pay is a witness to your values and the importance you place on your mission. An example might be, "We survey salaries offered in our area annually and we are committed to paying a minimum of 5% above the average for similar positions and experience." Specific compensation packages and amounts would not normally be included in this document, but rather in the individual person's employment contract. However, see our recommendations in Retention, below). (1Tim 5:18; 1 Cor 9:7-10)
Computers – To help protect all of our employees' confidential information and the integrity of our data and operations, we maintain strict standards of security on our computers. While we want our employees to be able to use computers for business and even necessary personal use (See Use of XYZ Equipment, Property and Supplies, below), it is vital that you do so under the IT Guidelines we have in place. If you need any software, hardware or internet access not currently provided, please discuss your needs with your manager. (Lev 19:16b; 2Tim 2:20-21; numerous OT passages in which God laid out laws that would protect the Israelites' health in their camps)
Confidentiality and Non-Compete Agreements – Certain employees will be using information that is essential to XYZ's ability to achieve its mission and/or compete in the marketplace. Those employees may be required to sign either a confidentiality and/or a non-compete agreement as a condition of their employment. This is to protect not only the company, but the well-being of all the employees and our families. (2 Tim 2:15; Gen 31:44)
Correction and Discipline – We recognize that there will be times when people fall short of expectations and action will be needed to help correct and redirect them. In those cases, XYZ will follow the steps in Addressing Wrongs, above. If the employee responds positively as in Steps 1 or 2, XYZ will enter into a corrective action plan with that person, supplying whatever support is needed to help the employee be successful in redirecting behavior or performance. If the situation reaches Step 3, XYZ will consider that the person is no longer open to voluntary correction and the matter will move into taking disciplinary action. Depending on the circumstances, those actions may include any of the following:
1. Written warning with specific timeline to correct behavior or performance as specified in the warning
2. Suspension for either a set period or an indeterminate period based on the response of the employee
3. Termination of employment
The circumstances determining the choice of action will include the safety of others, the effect on the values, vision and mission of XYZ, the willingness of the employee to correct the behavior/performance, and the effect on the morale of the workplace. The employee may question any action in this process through the Appeals process, above. (Heb 12:11; Prov 13:18, 15:32; Jer 46:28b; Gal 6:7-8; Rev 3:19 )
Customer Service/Relations – A customer is anyone whom we serve. There are the obvious, external customers who receive our goods and services, and there are internal customers – our coworkers. Put simply, we choose to see everyone as a customer, deserving of our care and respect. Treating anyone any other way, puts our mission at risk and makes our organization's values a lie. Choose to address any relationship issue immediately, directly and with humility and respect. If you are having trouble coming to a mutually satisfactory outcome, consult with your supervisor. (Mt 18:15-17; Eph 4:2-3, 29, 31; Phil 2:3-4, 14-16)
Discrimination – XYZ acts on the belief that all people are equally valuable, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion, disability, gender preference, etc. We choose to hire, promote and make other employment decisions based solely on knowledge, skills and attitudes. (Gal 3:28; Ja 2:1-4, 8-9; Eph 4:4; Col 3:11)
Dress Code - (This is highly individual to each organization. Describe your policies, though, using mission-specific language.)
Employee Conduct – As stated in the introductory letter to this section, XYZ chooses to treat all people and has an expectation that all people will treat each other according to the Golden Rule: "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you." (Eph 5:3-4, Gal 5:13-14; Ph 2:14-15; Col 3:1-2)
Employment-at-Will – (We do not personally use this term or the world's language usually associated with this concept. If you feel you must include it in your policies, consider the language in Probationary Period, below.)
Exit Interviews – While we strive to maintain long-term work relationships, we acknowledge there will be times when employees will move on to other jobs and places. During the term of employment we will have made every effort to keep open lines of communication with our employees. (See Performance Appraisals, below). However, upon leaving, employees will be asked to participate in an exit interview to give us one last chance to learn what we could have done better so that we can improve for the remaining employees. (Eph 5:15-17)
Hiring Policy/Background Checks – XYZ believes in a practices transparency and honesty in all of its operations and expects the same from all its employees. Candidates for employment must be willing to approve background checks including, (Here, determine those background checks and procedures relevant to your organization's operations. Following is a list of those commonly included: Checking employment and/or personal references, criminal background checks, financial background checks, pre-employment testing, submission of certain documents such as licenses, accreditations, insurances, bonds, etc.) (Heb 13:18; Col 3:8-9; 2 Ti 2:15)
Hostile Workplace/Sexual Harassment – XYZ is committed to providing a safe, respectful environment conducive to people's growth and well-being. Any actions that threaten such an environment keep us from accomplishing our mission and living by our values. We will take every step necessary to create and maintain such an environment. If any person connected with XYZ feels threatened in any way, s/he is urged to follow Addressing Wrongs, above, or to appeal directly to a supervisor if the perceived threat makes that impractical. XYZ will deal with anyone involved in behaving in an unsafe or demeaning way immediately according to our own policies in Addressing Wrongs and Correction and Discipline. (Rom 8:5-8, 13; 2Cor 12:21; Col 3:5-10)
Insurance and Benefits – XYZ values employees' health and security. To help support our employees and their families, we participate in the following benefit programs. Here, state which types of insurance the employer provides; the employer's contribution, if applicable; and which types of insurance the employee can purchase. List any other benefits offered and how employees will access them. (1 Tim 5:8, Jn 21:16; 1Pe 5:2-3)
Paid and Unpaid Leave – (Here, determine what you will offer employees. Pray about what the Lord would have you offer that will best care for and prosper your employees while still being able to meet the mission of your organization. If you offer any, introduce this section with language similar to that in Insurance and Benefits section. Keep in mind that your corporation's size, what state you are in, and whether you are a union shop affect your decisions on what to offer, whether those be paid or unpaid, and what length of time you may offer. Types of leaves to consider may include the following: maternity leave, military leave, jury duty, bereavement leave and leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.) (1 Ti 5:18; Lk 10:30-37)
Orientation – It is important that all new employees feel confident that they understand and are ready to step into their positions at XYZ. We provide a paid orientation process to help you prepare. (Here, add anything that may be necessary in your specific organization, especially including safety and regulatory orientation to keep employees and the workplace safe.) (Tit 2:7-8; Heb 5:12-14)
Performance Appraisal – The care and prospering of all of our human potential here at XYZ is essential to attaining our mission. We strive to seek and share constructive feedback on an ongoing basis to help all of us improve our knowledge, skills and attitudes. In addition, we conduct a formal process, (the Performance Appraisal) at least annually in which the employee and employer have opportunity to share feedback, identify areas in which we could better serve each other, set personal and corporate goals, and assign resources specific to attaining those goals. Discussions about compensation may or may not be part of the Performance Appraisal, depending on its relevance to setting and reaching goals, but the Performance Appraisal itself is not our method of identifying compensation packages. (See Compensation, above). This process is constructed so that employee and employer have opportunity to weigh past and ongoing performance against XYZ values, vision and mission. It supports and facilitates face-to-face conversation about performance, and guides both parties into a development plan that will help both perform better in fulfilling the values, vision and mission. Copies of Performance Appraisals will be given both to the employee and kept in the employee personnel file. (Pr 7:17; Ecc 4:9-10; Jn 15:1-8; Lam 3:40)
Personnel Files – As stated before, XYZ believes in and practices transparency and honesty in all of its operations. In the normal course of business we create and maintain personnel files and enter documents and notes in them including, but not limited to the following: employment application materials including all required documentation, employment contract, formal performance reviews, informal notes of employee/supervisor interactions and supervisor observations, and required medical and health documentation. You are welcome to review your personnel file at any time (with advance notice) with XYZ's HR representative. (Mal 3:16; but be careful as in 1 Cor 13:5d. The Bible contains extensive "performance reviews" in multiple "personnel files" such as Judges, Kings, and Chronicles. The Hebrew for Chronicles even means, "the words or affairs of the day." So keeping records seems to be Biblical, but be careful of your motivation.)
Probationary Period – (Our preference for inclusion of this concept is the following, but you may choose to follow a more traditional path. We base our approach on the whole of Scripture supporting our free will to decide whether to follow and obey God. We believe this also addresses the issue of Employment-
At-Will without the negative connotations.) While most organizations identify a specific probationary period, XYZ chooses to see the employee/employer relationship as one of mutual service. We each voluntarily choose to remain in relationship to each other through our decision to serve, obey and care for each other in pursuit of a common mission. Should the employee feel led to serve elsewhere, XYZ will honor that decision and do what it can to help in the transition. On our part, XYZ chooses to continue to serve those who are committed to our mission and demonstrate that through their ongoing service. Should we feel led that an employee no longer supports that mission, we will follow our own procedures described above in Addressing Wrongs and Correction and Discipline to try to restore an employee/employer alignment. If those are unsuccessful, we may end our relationship at any time.
Retention – We believe it is to our mutual benefit that XYZ and its employees build and protect long term relationships. To that end, we maintain ongoing dialogue with employees about their needs and desires and if and how XYZ can serve in those areas. Part of this discussion may take place in the Performance Appraisal, but may also be held in group and individual meetings. To help employees establish a long-term relationship, XYZ may choose to provide certain services and benefits based on each employee's unique needs and situations, beyond the compensation and benefit packages we provide for all employees. (This step should be taken at the leading of the Holy Spirit, but we believe that while it Scripture teaches us to value all people the same, it does not teach us to treat everyone the same. God gives each one of us both natural and supernatural gifts with which to serve the Body and it is clear that He gives us different resources based on the role He would have us play, our obedience, our maturity, etc. See, for example, the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-29. Our role as employers is to be sure this is truly Spirit-led and never has the appearance of discrimination or unethical treatment of people.)
Special Needs Accommodations – From time to time employees may encounter special needs not covered in these policies. XYZ will make every effort to both accommodate employees and achieve the organization's mission. Please contact your supervisor should you have any requests. These may include things like emergency family issues, special health needs, adjustments in schedule or work conditions for special circumstances, etc. (2 Cor 9:12; Ja 2:16).
Termination – As already stated in other policies, termination of employment is a possibility, but will be used only after following those policies. (See discussion and scriptures in Employment-at-Will and Probationary Period.)
Use of XYZ Equipment, Property and Supplies - We strive to provide everything needed for both employee and employer to achieve our mission. Our equipment, property and supplies are dedicated to that use and employees are encouraged to help us maintain those things and give us feedback on what we might need that would further help us achieve our mission. We recognize that employees may need to make use of those resources from time to time to help maintain their personal and family well-being. We encourage such use as long as it does not in any way put our mission at risk or create an unsafe environment for other employees. Please discuss any personal use with your supervisor and follow the organization's procedures. (Here, we recommend any specific procedures, such as internet and e-mail usage, be carefully constructed to both protect organizational operations and provide some freedom for employees. This is also an area in which you could create some unintended consequences. For example, if you make company property available for a Christian prayer group, will you be creating a possible claim for a non-Christian group to use it for some purposes for which you wouldn't feel comfortable? Pray about and thing through these things.) (Lk 14:28-30; 1 Ch 29:2; Col 3:23-25; Tit 2:9-10)
Vacation, Sick Leave, and PTO (personal time off) – (This is highly individual to each organization. Describe your policies, though, using mission-specific language. Note God's emphasis on rest and base your policies on that.) (Ex 23:12; Lev 25:11).
Work Hours and Holidays – Work hours are built around our mission and different employee may be assigned to different hours based on their roles and functions. We will try to accommodate individual needs in certain situations when employees give advance notice to their supervisors. (With the same scriptural basis as Vacation, Sick Leave and PTO: Here, you may want to include a list of holidays that the organization will be closed, those that must remain open, but for which you will pay employees a premium to work, whether choice of being off on holidays will be rotated among employees and how, etc. Also God values celebration and festivals and continually tells His people to observe them).