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Let's Get Personnel

Guidelines for creating personnel policies and standards

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This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

In the high excitement of starting and running a business, entrepreneurs often overlook the need to create a set of personnel policies and standards. When a problem arises-a sexual harassment suit, for example-the CEO and the management team can quickly find themselves in a courtroom wondering "What happened?" The outcome of such a suit could be financially devastating to the company.

Too often, in fact, young executives aren't even aware there are personnel issues that need to be dealt with upfront-or, when they do, they pass on the job of developing policies to an administrative assistant who is untrained in the law, according to Kari Uman, senior associate at Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates in Washington, DC. "You should put as much energy into developing personnel policies as you would any other part of your business," she warns. "It can't be an afterthought. It's extraordinarily dangerous to not understand the legal ramifications of what goes on in the workplace."

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