HR policies and procedures are integral to a strong company; they not only keep people safe and prevent legal issues, but they help foster a supportive, productive working environment. Accordingly, it’s best to be proactive with your policies; when there’s a solid set of guidelines and an effective method for handling difficult scenarios before a situation arises, everyone wins. However, before you hit the ground running with policy creation, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Sticking To The Essentials
It can be tempting to implement a policy for everything, and while that may seem like a good idea in theory, it can end up having the opposite effect in practice. To start, too many HR policies and procedures can lead to a stack of time-consuming, redundant paperwork on the HR staff’s desk.
And that’s not the only way too many policies can block productivity; micromanagement tends to hamper peoples’ performance rather than enhance it. Worse yet, an overabundance of policies can make employees feel as though the company doesn’t trust them; it’s difficult to feel at ease when there’s a rule dictating every move you make. Luckily, this can be avoided by refining the company policies, ensuring that the important areas are covered without enforcing irrelevant and unnecessary rules.
Contributes To A Strong Workplace Culture
The first question to ask yourself when deciding which policies to implement is if the policy will contribute to a positive company culture. It’s essential that the policies in place empower employees to speak up when they have ideas or concerns; a strong culture encourages people to take initiative, take risks, and stand up for what’s right without fear of repercussions. And of course, the culture should reflect the company’s values, so those values need to be weaved into HR policies and procedures as well.
Helps Meet Legal Requirements
Legal requirements are another aspect of HR policies and procedures that can’t be overlooked. If an employee breaks the law at work and the company didn’t do anything to prevent it, the company could be held legally responsible.
Companies need policies that cover not only physical safety but emotional safety as well. One of the main goals of HR policies and procedures is to protect employees, so policies about the treatment of others are non-negotiable. In general, people need to know that the company cares about their well-being.
Being Proactive With Certain Policies
Some HR policies and procedures can be added on an as-needed basis, but others need to be there from the get-go. There are certain areas where you don’t want to leave any room for error.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Policies around diversity, equity, and inclusion are pivotal to a strong company; studies have shown that a diverse and inclusive workplace sees more revenue growth, more innovation, and an increase in retention rates. What’s more, Great Place To Work found that when employees are treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age, they’re almost 10 times more likely to look forward to going to work. Of course, this is only possible with robust HR policies and procedures. A truly equitable company doesn’t just diversify its hiring efforts, they listen to what diverse employees have to say, create room for growth, and have no tolerance for discrimination.
Workplace harassment is any threatening or demeaning behavior directed at employees, and unfortunately, it’s more prevalent than we’d like to think. A poll conducted by Monster.com found that 90% of respondents had experienced bullying at work, and of those people, 51% had been bullied by their superior. Another study referenced by NPR revealed that the numbers were similarly grim for sexual harassment in the workplace; 81% of women and 43% of men had experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. This goes to show that a strong anti-harassment policy is an absolute necessity.
HR policies and procedures can help deter people from harassing others in the first place; defining harassment helps raise awareness and informs people that those behaviors won’t be tolerated. Policies also give people a route to report harassment, allowing HR staff to put an end to the behavior and proceed with fitting consequences for the perpetrator. And, anti-harassment policies don’t just protect the employee, they protect the business as well; without policies around harassment, the company could be legally liable for putting employees at risk.
Workplace Health And Safety
The purpose of health and safety policies is to protect employees from injury, illness, or exposure to harmful substances. While a company can’t entirely prevent accidents from happening, they are legally obligated to do their due diligence and put safeguards in place to reduce the risk. However, legal repercussions aren’t the only reason to implement strong HR policies and procedures around health and safety. Fewer on-the-job accidents increases productivity (more employees are able to work), saves money (less spent on workers’ compensation), and improves morale; a safe workplace benefits everyone.
HR policies and procedures are undoubtedly important, but they’re only beneficial when handled with care. Overly restrictive policies can damage morale, deter people from applying, and at their worst, make people feel dehumanized.
Strict Time Off Policies
It’s imperative to have policies around leave and time off; not only can these policies entice potential job candidates, but knowing how much time they get for vacation, sick days, holidays, and parental leave allows employees to plan their lives better. However, rigid policies around time off can be detrimental to employees’ well-being. Kids get sick, flights get delayed, and unexpected commitments pop up; people need to know they have a little wiggle room when they need it.
Bereavement Leave Policies That Demand Proof
Asking for proof of death after someone loses a loved one isn’t very empathetic, and in most cases, it’ll leave a bad taste in the employee’s mouth. It’s a good idea to have a policy around bereavement leave, if possible one that offers paid time off, but it’s best not to assume the employee is lying.
Strict Dress Codes
There’s nothing wrong with requiring a dress code of some sort, but strict dress codes tend to do more harm than good. To start, people work best when they’re comfortable, and strict dress codes tend to require uncomfortable clothing. Worse, strict dress codes can be prejudiced. Requiring people to dress a certain way at work isn’t a new tradition by any means, but while the rest of the world has evolved, dress codes largely have not. Banning hairstyles, requiring people to cover tattoos, and mandating that women wear heels can be discriminatory.
Create Proactive HR Policies And Procedures With ComplianceBridge
By sticking to the essentials, ensuring the necessary policies are in place from the start, and keeping policies positive, companies can create a safe and supportive environment for their workforce. That being said, it isn’t always easy. Luckily, automated policy management software can make a world of difference. Ready to get started? Request a demo with ComplianceBridge today!