The Importance of HR Policies and Tips to Make Them More Appealing

The Importance of HR Policies and Tips to Make Them More Appealing

The unequivocal answer to whether you really need HR policies is yes.

HR policies are crucial for safeguarding your business and providing guidance to your employees. While they might not be the go-to choice for bedtime reading, it’s vital that everyone in your organisation is not only aware of their existence but more importantly, comprehends their content.

When creating or reviewing your policies, consider the following:

Who is your audience?

As you embark on creating or revisiting your HR policies, the first step is to know your audience. Policies are most relevant to employees and their managers directly affected by them. Keep them concise, informative and to the point.

For instance, an expecting parent would appreciate a succinct family-friendly policy detailing maternity or paternity leave, including eligibility criteria, timescales and pay to minimise potential issues during a significant life event. Similarly, an employee filing a complaint would seek clarity in a grievance policy, covering all stages of the process, including informal resolutions. As we know, informal solutions (where appropriate) are often preferred and less stressful for all parties involved.

Try to solicit input from employees when creating or updating policies. This not only ensures that policies are relevant to their needs but also fosters a sense of ownership and engagement. You can also make good use of real-life examples. This can make policies more relatable and help employees understand how the policies apply to them.

Is the language used appropriate?

Try not to overcomplicate language when drafting policies. It is best to keep them clear and easy to understand. This approach helps to avoid confusion, misinterpretation and increases the likelihood of the policies being read in the first place. The language used should be aligned with your company’s values and fit in with the culture of the business. Please also remember to review policies drafted by legal teams as their wording can sometimes sound overly restrictive.

Is the style and design user-friendly?

Enhance the visual appeal of policies by incorporating images, tables, lists and bullet points. Experiment with font styles, colours and other graphic effects to make key information stand out. If your company has a brand, use this opportunity to showcase it, emphasising that HR policies are an integral part of your business.

What policies do we need? Is less more?

There are several HR policies that are commonly used in the UK, such as:

  • Legally required Disciplinary and Dismissal Policy: It outlines the business’ procedures for handling disciplinary matters.
  • Legally required Grievance Policy: This policy provides information about the business’ procedures for handling employee complaints.
  • Health and Safety Policy: It is required for businesses with more than five employees. This policy summarises the company’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy work environment.
  • Equal Opportunities Policy: It outlines the business’ commitment to provide equal opportunities to all employees (and candidates) regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. While this policy is not required by British law, lack of it may not be received well not only by employees but also tribunal judge in case you ever need to defend any claims of discrimination.
  • Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy: This shows the company’s promise to providing a safe and respectful work environment where harassment and bullying take no place.
  • Data Protection Policy: It outlines the company’s commitment to protecting data in accordance with the law.
  • Flexible Working Policy: This helps to understand the company’s procedures for handling flexible working requests from employees.
  • Sickness Absence Policy: This policy outlines the company’s procedures for handling employee short and long-term sickness absence. It would usually include information about sickness notification procedures, pay and return-to-work processes.

 

While this list isn’t exhaustive, additional policies may be necessary based on your business needs. You may decide that more progressive policies are needed; for example, you may choose to introduce a menopause policy or hybrid working if applicable to your business. Simultaneously, evaluate existing policies for relevance, updating or removing those that are no longer fit for purpose. In certain cases, companies opt for a more progressive perspective of a “principles over policies” approach or policy statements.

Despite evolving perspectives on policies in the current business environment, they remain essential for ensuring fair and consistent treatment of employees. The process of creating or updating these documents should align with your business’s specific needs and culture. If you require assistance with this process, please get in touch with us.

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