policy and procedures

Most businesses have HR policies and procedures in place, but in many cases, they are rarely updated. Or organisations use generic policies and procedures that don’t cover the needs of the business.

Sharon Olsson, Senior Human Resources Consultant at iHR Australia says small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, can fall into the trap of assuming that using generic policies and procedures is enough. “This can expose the company to substantial penalty risks if HR policies are non-compliant with Fair Work legislation.”

How do you know if your policies and procedures are sound? 

HR policies and procedures relate to recruitment, labour law, maintaining a fair, transparent and safe working environment, as well as encouraging healthy employee engagement.

Policies determine the structure and principles, while procedures are the framework of steps that need to be followed to adhere to these principles.

“Although that sounds straightforward, it is more complicated if we consider that each business has its own unique requirements. Plus, policies and procedures must also comply with territorial and national work legislation,” Sharon said

To be legally sound, HR policies and procedures must comply with the following structure:

  • A clearly stated purpose
  • A clear indication of who it applies to
  • A table of terms and their definitions
  • The responsible person or department

Essentials that must be covered:

  • Recruitment processes
  • Employment contacts
  • Position descriptions
  • Workplace safety
  • Use of company equipment
  • Grievance procedures
  • Termination of employment

Each of these points need to be further elaborated on to cover issues like relationships between staff memberssocial media policies and other matters specific to the environment. All this information has to be clearly communicated to the workforce.

Minimise risk exposure and improve employee engagement 

Implementing well-designed and documented policies and procedures improves productivity because it eliminates confusion in the workplace. Sharon said without clear guidelines, employees are inclined to become less engaged. Abuse of power, intentional or unconscious bias and loss of productivity can flourish.

Keep employees informed and updated

All new employees must be given a recent copy of the company’s policies and procedures in the form of an employee manual or handbook together with their employment contract. It is also essential that the policies and procedures are discussed with them when they receive their employment pack, or at the latest during induction.

For existing employees, it is vital to keep policies and procedures updated regularly, and that manuals and handbooks are reissued if there are changes. Policies and procedures can also be posted on an internal employee communication portal for employees to access at any time.

HR policies and procedures must also be subjected to regularly reviewed, to maintain compliance.

Companies that do not have internal resources to fulfil this responsibility should outsource to a professional HR consultants.

What next

If your organisation needs assistance updating your policies and procedures – iHR Australia can help.
< Learn more about outsourcing the design of your HR policies and procedures

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