By George Griffiths

As a first time employer, you want a team that’s trustworthy, loyal and productive.

These positive qualities can be linked to employee happiness. You’re likely to work harder for somewhere you feel safe and happy in.

As such, safeguarding measures need to be in place – something that ensures your employees have their health, well-being and rights protected.

Here are some top tips for safeguarding employees as a first time employer:

Outline a safeguarding policy

As an employer, your first step to safeguarding your workforce should be to establish guidelines.

You need to outline a safeguarding policy.

When writing a safeguarding policy, you need to consider:

  • What are your potential risks?
  • Are there any situations that could increase risk?
  • How have you made sure your staff is suitable in a work environment?
  • If there is a well-being concern, how would it be raised? Who to?
  • If a complaint was raised, how would you react?
  • Do your employees know the consequences of breaking these guidelines?

Your policy needs to be clear and concise – there shouldn’t be any room for misinterpretation in case need to refer to it later on.

If you’re worried you haven’t covered a specific area you can check your policy against the official guidelines laid out by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Make sure your employees are well informed

If your staff is up-to-date on your safeguarding practices, they can help to curb any instances of discrimination and harassment. It’s no good having written a comprehensive policy if none of them know about it.

Make sure you map out a specific date and time for your employees to learn about safeguarding and review your policy on it. If someone misses this session, ensure it’s a priority they’re as up to date as everyone else.

This way, if an indiscretion occurs there’s no excuse from the culpable party – if you’ve kept your staff informed they should know what’s wrong and the potential consequences of their actions.

Don’t play favorites

Creating a staff should mean you’ve brought together a group of people you can trust.

What happens, then, when an allegation is made against someone you’ve chosen as a manager? Or someone you’ve trusted as a friend?

You can’t play favorites when it comes to safeguarding. Employees need to know if they report an issue, it’s going to be resolved fairly.

It doesn’t matter about their experience or how good your personal relationship is with them, every employee has to be treated with the same level of scrutiny – yourself included.

Be smart when you’re interviewing

There’s a simple way to make sure your workforce is safeguarded: don’t hire a potential risk.

Being vigilant in the interview process is essential to ensuring the safety and happiness of your employees, as well as ensuring your staff know you’re invested in creating a safe and secure work environment.

Keep these safeguarding steps in mind when hiring any new employee:

  • Think how this candidate would work with your current staff.
  • Investigate any suspicious comments or absences on their CV thoroughly. There may be a good explanation, but it never hurts to be thorough!
  • If you’re working with vulnerable people or children, it’s important that you get background checks on your employees. Even if your candidate seems trustworthy it’s a mandatory practice to screen out any potential risks.

It’s important to establish your safeguarding policy with your current staff, but the same level of diligence has to be paid to any potential new starters.

Keep a lookout for any potential problems

It’s vital to get ahead of any problems early when it comes to employee safeguarding. It could result in your stopping a concern before it becomes harassment.

An open door policy can be useful when it comes to employee concerns. While this may seem like you’re opening yourself up to distractions, in reality it’s a smart way to familiarise yourself with your work atmosphere.

If you start to get negative comments about an employee, they can be spoken to without having to make it a formal matter.

Hopefully they’ll listen to you and a safeguarding issue can be finished before it becomes a serious risk.

Safeguarding your employees

Who’d want to work anywhere that’d tolerate any level of abuse or neglect?

As a first time employer, providing a level of security and care for your staff is important. This is for both workforce well-being and your business’ reputation.

It might seem obvious to have policies or keep employees informed, but these are actions that can help personnel feel safe and valued.

So be sure you’re paying due diligence to your employee safeguarding – nobody wants to feel unsafe at their job.

George Griffiths is the managing director of uCheck, the second largest DBS umbrella body in the UK. uCheck is a quick and simple online platform for basic, standard and enhanced background checks.

Safeguarding employees stock photo by Monster Ztudio/Shutterstock