Hey there, JumpStart Boss! This is your coach, Andrea Dickerson. Welcome to today’s blog post.
In today’s blog post, I want to continue our conversation about policies for your company’s employee handbook. I believe that there are a few policies that must be addressed. To ensure that I’m clear about these policies, I’m breaking down each blog post into increments pertaining to your handbook. These increments will talk about particular sections of your handbook that we tend to overlook.
Today, I want to talk to you about confidentiality, non-disclosures, and non-compete agreements. When I first got started in childcare, I knew I needed these things, but they weren’t a biggie on my do-to list. I never asked myself questions like, how does this apply to childcare, and when does this happen? As a matter of fact, I didn’t even have a coach who was in childcare to tell me about these things. Over time, I figured out that I needed to know about confidentiality and non-disclosures.
My first reason for having to figure this out was when I dealt with team members talking in front of their children at home about things that happened in the school. Fortunately for me, these same children attended my afterschool program. They were able to repeat some particular conversations that were had at home. When I realized that this was something that was impacting my business, I had to take a step back and look at how can I secure the confidentiality of my students, my business operations, and my day-to-day operations.
After doing research and working overtime, I found out that there must be a policy written in my handbook that talks about my confidentiality requirements and expectations. Have you completed a confidentiality policy and procedure for your handbook? Let’s go over a few things that should be included in your confidentiality policy.
Always give employees an understanding of the purpose of a confidentiality policy. Explain to your employees how you treat confidential information in your childcare business and also explain why this confidentiality policy is in place to protect them, the person, and your company. You’ve got to be very clear that it is legally binding, for example, sensitive customer data they are agreeing to when they become a part of your organization.
Also, give them clarity that it constitutes the backbone of your business giving you a competitive edge when it comes to your business processes, and what they learn while being a part of your organization, and that none of this information can be used in any other work environment. Have them sign it. Let your staff know that the purpose of your policy for confidentiality is to also protect your students and that there is sensitive information that we are exposed to. This information is to be left in the work environment.
Now, you also want to discuss what would happen in the event that this information or policy is not kept. Let individuals know that this policy affects all employees including board members, investors, subcontractors, volunteers, independent contractors.
For example, complete a list so that your staff will understand exactly what you are referencing when it comes to confidentiality whether it is the well-being of a child, a piece of unpublished financial information, customer data, new technologies or formulas, your customer list, existing or perspective, your processes and procedures, or documents. Be sure you mark the following as confidential: your pricing and marketing strategy, any unpublished goals, forecasts, and initiatives.
You also want to discuss how confidential information should be handled, what employees should do to secure information, to destroy information, to communicate confidential information, when they view information, how to manage information electronically that’s on devices, how to use information inside of the classroom when it comes to the children, and how to keep the premises of what goes on in your program confidential. You also want to have a clear confidentiality policy on what employees should not do. Then, you want to have your confidentiality exceptions because there are times where children may be in an abused case. They are required to report. However, in such cases, you definitely want your employees to feel free to come to your office and express issues with you and the documentation process for when there is something confidential that needs to be discussed.
Now, be sure that you investigate each and every breach of your policy because employees who don’t respect your confidentiality policy will face disciplinary and possible legal action. They should know that. You should let them know that your confidentiality policy is binding even after the separation of employment.
For further assistance when it comes to your disciplinary processes and procedures, be sure that you have non-disclosures and non-compete agreements. Non-disclosures is typically close to a confidentiality policy, but it also saves you because they’ll sign it. A non-compete agreement is where they won’t go out and compete against you and become your competitor. You’ll need that in place as well.
However, the question I have for your today is, is it written, and is it a part of your handbook? Having confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete agreements discussed as to be a policy in your handbook is essential for your coverage. I can help you with that. If you need templates or more, remember, we can help each other by joining the JumpStart Academy eight-week coaching program by clicking here.