Why you need HR Policies and Procedures

What are the risks if you don’t have current and relevant HR Policies and Procedures?

  • Ever wondered why you need HR Policies and Procedures?
  • Why are they necessary and will they restrict your management of employees?
  • What if you don’t have well written, up-to-date, communicated, and relevant HR Policies and Procedures that fit with your culture and strategy?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your organisation’s HR Policies and Procedures?
  • Does the thought of the cost and time to pull together your HR Policies fill you with dread?

These are just some of the many questions being faced by employers who are afraid of getting caught up in red tape or legal suits – especially if their business has grown so rapidly from a small to medium business and they have been so busy ‘doing the doing’ that they haven’t had time to think about how they’ll look after more employees.

A number of clients we’ve met recently have had the same dilemma and sheepishly admit their HR policies are dusty files that sit on a shelf and don’t get looked at, are out of date, or are filed on various PCs written by past managers who left some time ago.  If this sounds like you, don’t worry.  You’re not alone, and like many managers we’ve talked to, sitting down and writing or updating policies is often at the bottom of a lengthy ‘to-do’ list.

Next time we’ll discuss what the HR policies should contain and tips for what they should look like, but for now, let’s look at why organisations should have HR Policies and Procedures and why they are vital for managers to set boundaries for their most important asset – their people!

Why should organisations have HR Policies and Procedures?

Well-written HR Policies and Procedures allow employees to understand what the rules are of working for the organisation.  Some call it a guide or a framework to govern employee relations.  HR Policies and Procedures help managers and employees understand what’s expected and prevent misunderstandings about how to behave and how things are done within the organisation.

If a manager is constantly telling employees the rules, or how to behave in the workplace, it may be because the HR Policies and Procedures haven’t been well written or communicated in various ways to suit different learning and communication styles.  Remember, everyone has to see and understand the policies, not just hear about them third hand.  Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?

Last week one of our clients said, “My staff just don’t get the message”.  Our next question was “How have you told them and when?”  The manager’s reply: “I sent a couple of emails”.  And managers wonder why a large percentage of their teams say the company doesn’t communicate with them!

Do you want to be a fair and reasonable employer?

HR Policies and Procedures are good starting point to show commitment to being fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory to all employees.  They will also provide a good foundation for induction training for new employees.

How did the All Blacks prepare for the 2011 Rugby World Cup?

If you’re still hesitating about whether you should implement HR Policies and Procedures consider this.

Did the All Blacks prepare for the 2011 Rugby World Cup without any policies or rules? Of course not! Graham Henry and his management team communicated thoroughly and regularly (take note Zach Guildford).  They had policies on how to train, what to eat, alcohol policy, rules within the game, who does what and when, policies for time off with family and friends, how to deal with the media… The list goes on.  Behind the policies was a very clear goal – do these and we will win the World Cup! Without HR Policies and Procedures employee expectations can be unclear, which leads to distraction and focusing on the wrong things.  Isn’t work about doing the right things at the right time to get the job done?

Involve employees with the policies

Be careful when you do communicate your policies – be real with it.  You could instil fear, mistrust or anger if you come down on your employees like a tonne of bricks out of nowhere.  If you involve your employees with the policy they will be far more engaged and take ownership rather than it being imposed upon them.  Even better – get them to help you write it!

Communicate boundaries

Think of HR Policies and Procedures as you would set boundaries for children on how to behave.  For example, using good manners or not jumping on the couch.  If you were welcoming a new person into your family to stay in your house – would you explain the house rules and how things are done within your family? Of course you would! So why is it any different when you want to welcome someone into your organisation and make them feel part of the family? HR Policies and Procedures can help you communicate those boundaries.

If you would like to discuss this topic or need some help with your HR Policies and Procedures, please contact us.

Next post: What good HR Policies and Procedures look like.


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