Defining Formal Terms of Conduct Policies

Formal Terms of Conduct Policies

List & define the formal terms
in a separate document

Terms & Definitions Addendum

The Terms & Definition Addendum in this Contracts & Agreements kit is only used if you're using the Staff Policies Manual to supplement your Employment Contract Agreement or Independent Contractor Agreement.

Rather than repeating the terms and definitions whenever capitalized formal terms are used throughout your Staff Policies Manual, it's recommend that they are listed alphabetically and defined in a separate document.  

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Overview

Finally, you have the Staff Policies Manual/Employee Handbook completed. The next important milestone is the roll-out phase. This phase is as important as putting the Manual/Handbook together. You want the end users to use the Manual/Handbook as intended. If not, what's the use of a Manual, right? 

The Manual/Handbook has lots of terms in it. Some terms, if not properly defined, will be opened to individual interpretation reducing the effectiveness of the policy or in a worst case scenario, giving the policy a totally different meaning. Therefore, it's recommended that employees are given access to a list of Terms & Definitions Addendum to accompany the Manual/Handbook.

All terms used in the Manual/Handbook are clearly defined in the Addendum. Unless you are changing the definition of the terms used, the Addendum is good to be used without any modications. 

How is the Terms & Definitions Addendum Used?

  • Once a staff member is hired, they will have access to the Terms & Definitions Addendum for ongoing reference just like any other public documents available to them - such as your Staff Policies Manual and your Employee Handbook/Manual.  
  • Create a web page on your website where the Staff Policy Manual, your Employee Manual and your Terms & Definitions live and where revision control is maintained.  Instead of sending the Terms & Definitions to a candidate by email, you could provide the candidate with a link to the URL.

Why do I need to define the formal terms for Conduct Policies?

Creating a separate document to list and define the formal terms used in your manuals: 

  • Becomes a repository for formal terms that could be referenced for a number of different HR documents.
  • De-clutters and reduces the size of your SPM by not having to continuously repeat definition whenever the term is used. For example, the term "Harassment" or "Electronic Communication" may be used numerous times throughout the Manual, but it's only defined once in the Terms & Definitions document
  • Allows readers to open the Terms & Definitions document and read it side by side with the SPM or Employee Handbook/Manual, rather than toggling back and forth within a document to search for a definition. 
  • Protects your company and staff by ensuring that everyone understands the terms used throughout these important documents.
  • Employees are even more likely to pay attention when you've got 3 layers of clear documentation to outline your house rules that they've signed off on. 
  • Helps to ensure protection of your company. If an employee situation ends in litigation, you'll have a much better chance in court if you have your terms and conditions clearly laid out. 
  • Helps to protect your company against the NOTMICS
  • Using your Terms & Definitions document in conjunction with the following documents ensures you're clearly articulating conduct policies and expectations before the employee is hired and provides another layer of protection for your company.

What are the Risks if I don't?

  • Employees and staff members misunderstand the terms used in your Staff Policies Manual and Employee Handbook/Manual, and as a result misunderstand the policies outlined.
  • An employee or staff member fails to meet the expectations set out in the Staff Policies Agreement/Employee Manual, and in their defense, argues that the policies were not properly explained to them. In this situation, you may have limited recourse with regards to taking disciplinary action.
  • If your rules and do's and don't's are not clearly laid out and defined, you can't expect that employees will 'just know' as the courts will often conclude.  

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Contracts & Agreement Templates in this Kit

The template referenced on this page can be used on its own as a stand-alone tool, or in conjunction with other HR templates in the Contracts & Agreement Kit that includes the following documents:

Template Description

Offer Form Template

This form template ensures that all information about a candidate and position is collected and summarized, so that HR has the information they need to process an employment or independent contractor agreement.

Employment Contract Agreement Template

A contractual agreement template between the company and the employee that establishes the terms and conditions of employment.

Independent Contractor Agreement Template

This agreement template is intended to be used to clearly articulate and establish the terms and conditions of a contract between your company and an independent contractor.

Staff Policies Manual - Addendum to Employment Contract

An addendum document that outlines the standard terms of employment and conduct expectations where signature for adherence by the candidate is obtained as part of the Employment Contract Agreement and Independent Contractor Agreement documents.

Terms & Definitions - Addendum to Staff Policies Manual

An addendum document that provides definitions for the formal terms used in the Staff Policies Manual above.  

Overtime Averaging Agreement Template

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Employee Handbook Acknowledgment Agreement Template

This is a contract agreement that is signed by Staff, in the presence of a witness, to acknowledge that they've read, understood, and will adhere to the Staff Policies section in your Employee Handbook.

Front Desk Service Agreement Template

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Involuntary Termination Authorization Form Template

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Non-Disclosure Agreement for Exploratory Discussions Template This template agreement is intended to be used to protect the interests of your company in situations where company-confidential information may be shared during exploratory discussions with prospective candidates.
Reference Check Request & Consent Template This document is a template for an email script used to obtain reference provider names and written consent from candidates to conduct reference checks.
Training Reimbursement Agreement Template A template for a contractual Agreement between your company and an employee embarking on a training initiative that exceeds a company-determined cost ceiling, where your company is expecting the training expenses to be reimbursed by the employee in certain scenarios.
Delegate Confidentiality Agreement Template This document contains instructions and a script for a conduct agreement between a manager and administrative-level staff. The script can be used when a manager needs to delegate work that may require access to sensitive or confidential information.