Human resources policies and procedures exist to help organizations set organizational standards that protect employer liability; shape company culture, and disseminate a clear understanding of office and employee expectations.
An organization creates policies and procedures to ensure systems exist that guarantee uniformity and consistency within the organization’s operational structure and treatment of employees. Clear policies and procedures also protect employers from being held responsible for employee action and potential lawsuits. Additionally, policies and procedures can help with risk mitigation through evacuation planning and the establishment of good financial systems that both save money and protect against employee fraud.
Overall, human resource policies and procedures aim to promote a healthy and safe environment that protects both employee and employer, while consistently moving the organization forward in its growth and impact.
Types of policies and procedures
At minimum, organizations should research their country and local labor laws in order to create policies that ensure their compliance of said laws. In addition, organizations may choose to create and implement policies that are not required by law but which promote best practices and overall wellbeing. A list of potential policies may or may not include and is not limited to the following:
- Paid Time Off/Vacation/Sick Leave Policy
- Travel Policy
- Reimbursement Policy
- Hiring Policy
- Performance Evaluation Policy
- Maternity and Paternity Leave
- Bereavement Leave
- Severance Pay Policy
- Communications and Social Media Policy
- Health Coverage Policy
Organizations may also find it helpful to write detailed procedures or guidelines for employees to follow when carrying out specific tasks such as recruitment and hiring, performance evaluation, reimbursement requests, paying invoices, and/or requesting leave for a severe, long-term illness of self or family member, the birth of a child, and the recent adoption of a child.
When writing procedures, organizations should guard against using language that would legally bind the organization to carrying out the procedure exactly. Instead, organizations might want to write in such a way that employees know it is standard procedure but that can be adjusted on an as needed basis.
Recording and storing policies
Prior to storing policies in an official staff handbook, many organizations find it helpful to send their created policies to a legal professional to confirm the legality of the policies and to ensure no policies required by law have been left out. Lawyers can also review new procedures to check for any binding language and confirm that they, too, meet existing legal requirements.
All policies should be stored in a central, easily accessible location, such as an organizational staff handbook. Policies should be thorough and clearly written. All employees should be expected to read and understand the complete Staff Handbook and be required to sign a document confirming their understanding that will be stored in their personnel file.