HR Policies and Procedures
It is often said that one of the roles of Human Resources is that of a corporate policeman. It’s some hyperbole, but the HR Department often issues the largest number of policies and procedures. They are all about how people are managed in the company, what they are entitled to, and how the internal environment of the company is regulated. For this reason, it is imperative that Human Resources staff know how to write a good policy. And they can often create good procedures to go with it that bring the rules to life. After all, having good policies means that company life is fair to all employees.
The internal policies mirror exactly what the corporate culture is. If it is open, friendly and employees are empowered, then the guidelines are usually short and the processes are only outlined to provide sufficient room for relatively independent decision-making.
Conversely, if the corporate culture is relatively strict, then internal directives are very detailed and processes are described in great detail. In such directives, decision-making powers are also described in detail and there is no possibility to grant exceptions.
For HR Managers, internal policies are an excellent opportunity to start changing the corporate culture and give employees and managers more freedom to make decisions. Delegating authority where it can be used well is good practice and will allow the company to respond more quickly to demands.
In addition, employees will appreciate it when their line manager can decide some issues on their own without involving others. However, consideration should always be given to avoid breaking the law and delegate authority only in areas where there is no risk of doing so.
A good policy acts as a navigator. It not only tells you what is and is not possible, but it also opens the way to get to the outcome if the current answer is that it is not possible. Good policy does not prohibit, but shows the way to get to a positive outcome. It sounds very simple, but it is very difficult to write a guiding policy that also manages to keep the limits set.