More Than A Handbook: Maintaining Conduct Policy Compliance

Disciplining an employee is never a pleasant experience, but no matter the size of your business, the reality hits for every employer. Whether you’re dealing with minor infractions, or major, fire-able offenses, your business needs an employee conduct policy that properly informs your employee, as well as protects your business from possible lawsuit. Additionally, your conduct policy has to have “teeth”, in order to extend to contractors who may sit outside of the every-day communication patterns of your team.

As a business owner, you are responsible for hiring, managing and letting go of employees. Whether real or perceived, many situations could end up in a lawsuit – sexual harassment, discrimination, wage, overtime and wrongful termination. Companies that do not follow regulatory compliance practices face numerous possible repercussions, such as being forced to participate in remediation programs that include on-site compliance audits and inspections by the appropriate regulatory agency. Noncompliant organizations usually face monetary fines and penalties. According to Hiscox’s Guide to Employee Lawsuits, 1 in 5 businesses gets hit with a lawsuit from a former or current employee, and the average cost to defend and settle such a case is $160,000.

From absenteeism policy to sexual harassment, and numerous scenarios in between, regulatory compliance requirements demand evidence of completion and comprehension of company training and notice. It’s not enough to simply administer training on a particular topic, and then have your employee sign an acknowledgment form. To meet compliance standards, there needs to be a “trail” that can prove an employee has received training, and has a level of comprehension of that training.

Every company has its employee handbook, but that is not a failsafe to prevent future lawsuits. Distributing this content to both staff and contractors is difficult enough, and email and spreadsheets don’t close the loop on gathering actual audit-proof data demonstrating compliance.


This is where HR technology is changing the game, not only in mitigating risks and helping companies meet compliance standards, but also in the ability for companies to measure the comprehension level of their employee’s training. As I’ve discussed previously, content-centric workforce management systems are essential to the communication required to assure compliance on many HR functions.

A strong platform enables developing comprehensive content to distribute interactive material that shows staff have actually received, read, and comprehend the material.  Reporting tools enable stakeholders to see the time spent reviewing and interacting with content to build improvements to documentation, and to identify potential risks that require mitigation.

In a previous post on leveraging technology to fight sexual harassment in the workplace, I discussed the technology that exists that is able to deliver essential and important training that drives employee comprehension, and meets standard compliance requirements. Cloud-based records are able to detail the content that is covered, and is available for recall well after the training has been completed. Additionally, time-stamps show how much time the employee has spent watching and reviewing the training. And just in case an employee decides to go watch a movie while the training is playing in the background, the training is then followed up with a test that measures comprehension. The entire process is recorded electronically, and the results are held in the cloud for future access as needed.

Not only does this process assist the employee in understanding their responsibilities in conduct policy, but it also gives the employer exactly what it needs, PROOF of compliance. The essentials to compliance are the ability to document and prove that standards have been met… over and over again.

Maybe it’s time to stop depending on paper handbooks, emails, spreadsheets, file shares, and paper acknowledgement sheets. It’s time to leverage the latest in technology to help you maintain conduct policy compliance.

Ben Olson is the Chief Technology Officer of Essium, a premiere software company that has developed a revolutionary, customizable, workforce management solution named Xenqu. Essium’s Xenqu Software leverages our Smart Content Technology to organize everything related to your workforce in one secure, digital file using the latest cloud-computing technologies and architectures.