How to develop effective human resource policies

One of the first things that, as HR specialists, we always caution our clients is to not fall back onto policies and procedures as a band aid, and the ‘be all and end all’. Managing your HR this way is a bit of a cop out and generally does not address what you’d think it would.

Firstly, most people find policies and procedures boring so they are unlikely to read them properly. Secondly, human nature does not like to be dictated to very much, and focusing on policies and procedures prior to looking at other aspects is like putting the cart before the horse.

Let us be clear here; we are not saying don’t have them. There is an absolute need for policies and procedures but there are some steps that you must do beforehand to ensure that the policies and procedures you have are what your company needs.

What are policies actually for?

Policies give a company foundations and pillars to guide managers and their people on company expectations, and provide clear instructions relating to everything from dress code to email protocols. They are important and they give structure to a company and allow for smoother processes due to a consistent approach.

There is a crucial part that needs to be completed before tackling policies and procedures, and many companies miss this vital step.

The question to ask if you already have policies and procedures is “do they communicate our culture and values clearly? Do they ALL communicate what we stand for as a company?” If they don’t, they need work.

If your company is starting afresh then great! You’ll be ahead of the norm if you consider the culture and values of the company. Something that many of our clients struggle with is developing culture and values while still covering everything that is legally required.

Here are some tips for you to consider:

  1. What is important to the company that you are a part of that is also relevant to policies and procedures? What are the values of the business and how would you like your people to demonstrate them?
  2. What subjects do you want to cover off in terms of the types of policies and procedures you might need?
  3. What expectations do you have of your people that need to be factored into the business?
  4. What award/s are your people under?
  5. Have you factored in Fair Work requirements? This is necessary to make them legally valid.
  6. Have you considered how you will communicate the policies you want to roll out in your company?

As a general rule of thumb, less can be more due to overkill; there is no need to have a 10-page-long IT policy!

The key is to get some expert help from a HR specialist in developing policies for you so that you get the legal side sorted and ensure that people are not going to fall asleep whilst reading them. The importance of making policies and procedures specific to your company and really factoring in the values of the business cannot be overstated as they will resonate far more with people this way.

To discuss the need for policy and procedure development in your business, contact Coaching Combinations on (08) 6188 7502 or via email here.

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