Human resources policies protect the company and employee interests. They cut across employee relations and welfare, safety and health in the workplace, use of company equipment, and so many other elements that impact the business’s overall productivity.
To maintain standards across board and prevent reputation damage, it is best practice for businesses to have clearly defined human resources policies regardless of the organisation’s size.
Benefits of HR policies
It provides a uniform structure
Whether there are changes in leadership or the workforce not, these human resources policies ensure consistency and stability in operational procedures. This provides a framework that helps with decision-making and contributes greatly to employees’ performance.
It creates a fair system
Employees are ambassadors of their organisation, and as a result of this, they have an influence on corporate reputation.
With human resources policies, you can provide a fair system, so employees do not perceive promotion, benefits, and compensation or disciplinary action as being biased towards a certain group, thus helping to improve employee retention.
Conflicts in the workplace are bound to happen as people of different personalities, backgrounds, and work ethics are brought together to work for a common business purpose.
According to a 2016 journal by the European Center for Science Education and Research, conflict in organisations is a necessary evil as they can sometimes stimulate innovation and change.
However, conflicts are dysfunctional when managed improperly. Human resources policies help define strategies for effective conflict resolution, so you can get rid of the cause of the disagreement and restore unity.
It helps you remain compliant
Good human resources policies proactively help businesses stay on the right side of the law by ensuring compliance through the provisions outlined in the policies created. That way, the rights of employees and the interest of the company are protected.
Before creating work policies, human resources managers need to answer the following questions:
- Will the absence of this policy cause harm to the employee or expose the business to litigation?
- Have recent happenings in the company influenced the need to adopt a new policy or change existing ones?
- Will the policy resolve existing problems in the business?
- Is the policy mandatory under the laws of the country where the business is located?
- Is the policy critical to health and safety?
- How necessary is the policy for the day-to-day activities of the business?
- Is the policy related to the overall vision and objectives of the company?
10 human resources policies to add to your employee handbook
1. Non-discrimination policy
It is important that employees feel safe in the workspace. With a non-discrimination policy, you assure your staff that human rights will be exercised irrespective of race, gender, beliefs, orientation, or other factors.
It is not enough to simply highlight the policy in the handbook but also to spell out procedures of enforcement and consequences for violators.
2. Anti-harassment policy
Harassment is one of those misconducts enshrined in the law and is punishable by the government. Your anti-harassment policy must:
- Clearly state that all forms of harassment (verbal, sexual, and physical) will not be tolerated
- Include a procedure for reporting incidences
- Define consequences
In addition to this, it’s important that the human resources unit run intermittent trainings to instruct staff on acceptable conduct in the workplace.
3. Safety and health policy
An effective safety and health policy is crucial in guiding working practices in the organisation to make sure you’re creating a work environment that is safe and healthy for your staff.
This policy should communicate how employees operate machines, especially if you are in the manufacturing sector, safety gears, and guidelines to maintain safety during day-to-day activities.
4. Leave policy
All work and no rest makes Jack very cranky indeed. Employees’ physical and mental wellbeing impacts their productivity, so your leave policy must give them provision to achieve work-life balance.
The policy covers how many days each employee is entitled to rest, mode of leave request, approval or rejection procedure, and unacceptable absence at work.
5. Social media policy
The world is becoming a global village with social media; leaving this area unattended is risky for its reputation.
This policy should cover brand guidelines for interactions on social channels, the confidentiality clause of internal projects in the pipeline, and disciplinary actions for violators.
6. Internet and phone use policy
WiFi and internet facilities cost the business money, so it is necessary to maximise the funds for more productive output.
The internet policy needs to define inappropriate use of company resources e.g., using the business internet for personal projects.
Phone policy is tricky as outrightly banning phone use during working hours can make your work environment seem rigid.
This policy should be based on the business type e.g., manufacturing companies have a stricter phone policy due to their work with machinery.
7. Exit policy
Work can be disrupted when there is no spelled out procedure for the exit of a staff. The exit policy explains the amount of notice an employee is to give the business upon resignation, actions that can lead to dismissal, and a feedback loop for the business (exit interview).
8. Code of conduct policy
This policy defines behaviour that are encouraged at work, unacceptable behaviour, reporting structure, and disciplinary actions.
It is best practice to have this policy in the handbook to proactively reduce conflicts and discourage wrong conduct that can impact the team’s productivity.
9. Drug and alcohol policy
Drug and alcohol policies vary from one business to another:
- Determine if your business is open to the use of these substances
- Define designated areas if smoking/consuming alcohol is allowed
- Full disclosure to the human resources unit on medical conditions that may require medication daily
- For safety protocols in manufacturing companies, if drug/alcohol use might impair the employee’s mind operating the machine.
10. Remote working policy
This policy covers the expectation of the business for virtual work, how the output of remote work is measured, available remote support, virtual communication channels, and how work should be done from home.
Human resources managers should consider the following factors when creating remote work policies:
- Determine which job roles can be carried out from home
- Create communication channels
- Confidentiality clause must be included in the work from home policy
- Specified metrics for checking work done from home
- Create a defined work plan in collaboration with line managers for employees working from home