1. Introduction to HR Policies

The Importance of HR Policies and Procedures
Your HR Policies and Procedures will help support the business as they will provide clarity about standards and expectations. They help set out your 'rules' and procedures around matters. There are also legal requirements to provide certain policy documents (disciplinary and grievance). 

Policy and procedures will generally be 'non-contractual'.  This means that they can be changed and amended by the company should the need arise without the requirement to consult with employees (unlike the contract of employment).  

Policies and procedures should be appropriate to the organisation. They should NOT be overly bureaucratic or lengthy or so rigid as to be inflexible - but they need to provide enough clarity to communicate clearly. 

The polices often found in larger corporate or public sector organisations would NOT be appropriate for SME's.  To summarise, some of the key reasons to have 'appropriate' policy documents are as follows: 
  •  There is a legal requirement to have certain policies in place - e.g. disciplinary and grievance. 
  •  Having clear policies (including rules and standards and codes of conduct) will help communicate what is expected of employees, and therefore you are more likely to get what you want!  
  •  If you have a policy (and procedure) it makes it easier to manage any situation as you simply follow the procedure. 
  •  Policies make up your 'rule book' and the clearer people are about the rules the better.

Taking Action

An important reason to have clear policies (and to communicate them) is that if you want to take action against an employee for not following your rules, you cannot do this if you have not communicated what your rules are!  There is an overriding principle of fairness that covers employment law and a need for an employer to act fairly and reasonably.

It goes without saying that if you have not told someone what is not acceptable, you cannot 'chastise' them for breaking a rule that they didn't know was there (there are of course some exceptions to this when it comes to matters like theft or fighting). 

Equally, if you have lots of written policies but fail to communicate them, you cannot rely on them. 

It is therefore important to document your policies and procedure AND to communicate them (see YourHR.space as a way to achieve this).