Establishing & Communicating Human Resource Policies

Instructor: A. Casey Carr-Jones

Casey Carr-Jones holds a Bachelor's degree in English & Psychology. She is currently a PHR-certified Human Resources Consultant.

Employment-related policies and procedures can vary drastically from company to company, and establishing a clear set of policies can be critical to everyone's success. This lesson reviews the process of developing and communicating human resources policies, and the importance of doing so.

Human Resources Policies

On her first day at work, Brianna sits down for orientation with the company trainer. The trainer hands her a binder titled 'Employee Handbook,' and tells her that this will be Brianna's guide while working for the company. Brianna flips through the pages and thinks 'Wow, I've got a lot to learn!'

Company handbooks filled with human resources (HR) policies and procedures are essential ways to keep a company in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, and are a way to define the terms and benefits of employment. More specifically, human resources policies are standards developed by companies to define the rules and procedures for recruitment, training, and performance evaluation.

Why Do We Need HR Policies?

When employees are hired, it is important that they understand the core values of the company and the basic employment standards to which the company adheres. HR policies

  • help the company stay in compliance with state and federal law and regulations;
  • establish and reinforce company and manager expectations of staff;
  • ensure consistency in process, so that Employee 1 does not receive different treatment than Employee 2;
  • help guide managers to make consistent decisions;
  • can lead to stronger employment retention because expectations are clear;
  • offer transparency in company decision making;
  • can reduce legal risk and expenses.

Establishing HR Policies

HR policies are often included in an employee handbook, which is a book or document provided to employees that contains employment-related policies and procedures. These policies may include topics like compensation, benefits, labor relations, and technology. They may cover dress code, business hours, lunch breaks, paid time off, and maternity leave. The handbook should cover both legal requirements and employment expectations.

Policies should be written by HR and reviewed by senior management, if possible. Having executive buy-in and understanding will make communication of the policies easier. Writing policies involves research on existing processes, confirmation of best practices, and documentation.

Policies should be written in a way that can be understood by everyone in the workforce, which may mean having different translations of the documents. It is also important to periodically review, revise, and update the handbook and policies. Involving employees and other stakeholders in revisions may be a good way to receive feedback and ensure that current policies are being followed.

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