5 must-have workplace policies to make life easier

Harassment prevention Harassment prevention

Instead of sexual harassment polices, Nicholson recommends turning the focus — and policy title — explicitly to prevention. She adds that training managers and employees on company policy and expectations is critical.

Subpoena processing Subpoena processing

By planning how to handle this delicate process ahead of time, Nicholson says, employers can ensure this procedure won’t fall through the cracks, which could leave them open to even bigger problems.

Internal controls Internal controls

"This is a very important and often overlooked area,” says Nicholson. “I would strongly encourage you look into internal controls. Especially as we become more reliant on technology, there are more loopholes.” In addition to identifying what an employer monitors and how frequently, she advises employers to invite external hackers to search for holes in the system.

Delinquent contributions Delinquent contributions

As part of these policies, Nicholson emphasizes employers should provide disclosure or reporting to all relevant parties, such as trustees.

Whistleblower policies Whistleblower policies

Employers are getting increased calls about overbilling, ineligible plan dependents and other claims of provider and/or participant wrongdoing. A whistleblower line or policy, Nicholson says, will make it easier for employers to catch and rectify inconsistencies.

Who doesn't want to make their work easier? Employers and HR/benefits managers can prevent sleepless nights by addressing these common workplace issues in written policies and planning procedures.

“Pick your battles wisely and what policies you want to focus on, so that you follow best practices for that issue,” suggested Julia A. Nicholson, director of health and welfare services at Employers Benefit Plans of Northern California, LLC. At the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans conference, Nicholson said that periodic review and auditing of these five key policies and procedures will ease HR/benefits headaches over the long-term. [Images: Thinkstock]

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