The Times Are A Changing…as should your Employee Policies.
I recently had the opportunity to peruse an Employee Handbook, or rather it was a “Bunny Handbook” from the Playboy Club, circa 1960. I stumbled onto it online. It was a fascinating read. Clearly a relic from an age gone by. What was most fascinating was not only what was in the handbook, but more importantly what was left out.
Running throughout the policy handbook are details about the Bunny Merit and Demerit System. The Bunny Merit System was set up to reward Bunnies for good behavior. For example, finding another quality Bunny to recruit for employment could result in Merit points. That “refer-a-friend system” is still commonly used in the workplace today. However, the daily Merit incentive to the Bunny who successfully sells the most cocktails to a client would, in this day and age of DWI and Host Liability, probably be ripe for some heated litigation.
The Demerit System was a strict discipline tool used to ensure the Bunnies had applied their makeup properly, worn the correct style of panties, styled their hair appropriately and virtually guaranteed any Bunny’s nails would be freshly manicured and polished prior to the commencement of her shift at the club.
Only in “Emergencies”
I’m not going to feign surprise or take offense that the micro set of rules that governed some young ladies’ employment in 1960 began with “look beautiful” and ended shortly thereafter with “set drink on table”. What I will say is that I am surprised about is what’s not in the handbook. The handbook makes it clear no Bunny is to EVER receive a personal phone call at the club unless it is literally an emergency. Only in the case of an emergency will the Bunny be given the phone message. Remember, there are no cell phones in 1960. So, did the kids make home safe from school that day? Not sure. Does your Dad falling down and breaking a hip constitute an “emergency”? Can’t answer that one either…maybe the “Bunny Mother” (I’m not making that title up by the way) would decide to let you know dad is down and can’t get up back. Hopefully prior to the end of your shift?
I also noticed there was no mention of sick leave, other than if you couldn’t make a shift you needed to find someone to take your spot. I didn’t come across any reference to nursing mothers or maternity leave – but let’s face it with those tough appearance regulations regarding makeup and panties, pregnancy leave would have been a nightmare to try to pull off. Bunnies were never, ever to date a client or coworker and they always, even when off duty, were to maintain the Bunny Code of Conduct.
This stroll down memory lane is to remind business owners that employment law, employment mandates, rules, regulations – these things change along with the times. Your business, if it’s going to be staying in business, should be changing too. Pull out your business’s current policies and procedures manual. Do you even have one? If you do, when is the last time you updated it? Have you ever updated it? Good God! Don’t tell me your current policies and procedures manual came with the business when you bought it back in 1997?!
Why do I need my Policies and Procedures to be up to date?
It protects businesses from litigation and allows for business owners to rid themselves more easily of toxic or unproductive employees.
An up to date policies and procedures manual can do many things for your business. Obviously, it sets the expectations for how everyone should be interacting with each other and clients. It sets standards for the individuals. It conveys in writing the corporate culture and goals. More importantly, it protects your business from litigation and allows business owners to rid themselves more easily of toxic or unproductive employees. As helpful as a current policy and procedure manual can be, an outdated one can be damaging. Consider the Playboy Club Manual I have referred to in this Blog. I only mentioned a few brief passages that I am sure were not uncommon for the 1960s. Can you imagine if that was the current policy on file for a company and it ended up in the hands of a disgruntled employee and then subsequently in the lap of an employment attorney?
We can help.
Small Business Owners don’t need to be the authority in Employment Law. What they do need to be experts in is when to ask for help. That’s where HR 4 SB comes in. Human Resources 4 Small Business can assist you in making sure your current policy manuals are inclusive of current employment laws and regulation and free from outdated and potentially harmful policy.
Contact us today to get started. You can’t afford to not have the right Policies and Procedures in place.