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Two men shaking hands in a office closing a deal with documents pertaining to HR policies and procedures.

Working in the Human Resources (HR) department is a complicated career with a multitude of things to keep track of, including staffing concerns, workplace dynamics, HR policies and procedures, and HR laws. HR policies and procedures should create a united team, protect and encourage employees, support organizational values, create a secure workplace culture, comply with legal requirements, and minimize risks to the company. In this article, we will first discuss HR policies, then continue to HR procedures, and next, examine HR laws. Finally, we will examine how to assemble HR policies and procedures into one comprehensible technical document.

The Importance of HR Policies and Procedures

HR policies and procedures are crucial for organizations as they provide a framework and guidelines for managing employees and ensuring a fair and consistent work environment. Here are some key reasons why HR policies and procedures are important:

1. Legal Compliance: HR policies and procedures help organizations comply with employment laws and regulations. They establish guidelines for fair employment practices, anti-discrimination policies, harassment prevention, wage and hour regulations, and other legal requirements. Compliance with these laws is essential for avoiding legal disputes, penalties, and reputational damage.

2. Consistency and Fairness: HR policies and procedures ensure consistent treatment of employees across the organization. They outline expectations, rules, and procedures for various aspects of employment, such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, performance management, disciplinary actions, and termination. Consistency promotes fairness and helps avoid favoritism or bias in decision-making.

3. Employee Understanding and Alignment: Clear and well-communicated HR policies and procedures help employees understand what is expected of them. They provide guidance on acceptable behavior, performance standards, benefits, leave policies, and other important aspects of employment. When employees are aware of these policies, they can align their actions with organizational values and goals, fostering a positive work culture.

4. Conflict Resolution and Grievance Handling: HR policies and procedures provide a framework for resolving conflicts and addressing employee grievances. They establish procedures for reporting complaints, conducting investigations, and resolving disputes. Having transparent and well-defined processes in place promotes a sense of fairness and trust among employees, allowing issues to be addressed promptly and effectively.

5. Risk Management: HR policies and procedures help mitigate risks associated with various employment-related matters. By clearly outlining expectations and procedures, they reduce the likelihood of non-compliance, employee misconduct, and legal disputes. This proactive approach to risk management can save organizations from potential financial and reputational damages.

6. Performance Management: HR policies and procedures play a crucial role in performance management. They define performance expectations, appraisal processes, feedback mechanisms, and development opportunities. Clear guidelines enable managers and employees to have constructive performance discussions, set goals, and identify areas for improvement, ultimately enhancing individual and organizational performance.

7. Organizational Culture and Employer Branding: HR policies and procedures shape the organizational culture and contribute to employer branding. When organizations have well-designed policies that promote inclusivity, work-life balance, employee development, and employee well-being, they attract and retain top talent. Strong employer branding enhances the company’s reputation, making it an employer of choice in the competitive job market.

8. Change Management: HR policies and procedures assist in managing organizational change. They provide a structured approach to implementing new policies, procedures, or organizational initiatives. By communicating changes clearly and providing guidance on the transition process, HR policies facilitate smooth change management, reducing resistance and disruption.

In summary, HR policies and procedures are vital for legal compliance, promoting consistency and fairness, facilitating employee understanding and alignment, resolving conflicts, managing risks, enhancing performance, shaping organizational culture, and managing change. By establishing clear guidelines and expectations, HR policies contribute to a positive work environment, employee satisfaction, and the overall success of the organization.

HR Policies

There are seven HR policies every company should have written out for both management and employees:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Remote Work Policy
  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy
  4. Social Media Policy
  5. Harassment Policy
  6. Workplace Health and Safety Policy
  7. Leave and Time Off Work Policy.

The seven policies would generally be written up in an Employee Code of Conduct. Inside each of these broad titles exist many details that need to be elaborated.

HR Procedures

Second, not only does recruitment have policies, but also procedures to follow. They have a multi-step checklist to go through to make sure they have covered all the bases, both for the quality of the candidate and to follow HR law.

Similarly, termination procedures abound. These are especially significant to follow HR law. Human resource departments must protect themselves from wrongful termination suits, harassment or discrimination claims, and more.

In the same vein, disciplinary procedures exist for management to review each action to keep the company out of court and keep employee morale high. Management has abundant documentation to fill out in disciplinary procedures to help the employee understand their unacceptable behavior and to prove fair action to the courts.

HR Laws

Third, we will discuss laws that HR personnel must consider. First, the recruiter must deal with the Immigration and Nationality Act, when they make you fill out the I-9 form.

Another is the set of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, which prevent employers from discriminating against any applicant or employee due to disability, age, sex, color, race, veteran status, national origin, or religion. This affects the recruitment, harassment, disciplinary, and termination policies and procedures.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) affects the Leave and Time Off Work Policy. Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) instituted the 40-hour work week. Most of us are familiar with OSHA: the Occupational Safety and Health Act that greatly enhances workplace safety. It hangs on that corkboard in the Restaurant SOP blog.

Who Documents HR Policies and Procedures?

Finally, HR personnel could take time from their busy schedules to write out the Employee Code of Conduct and other documentation. But why should they? Technical writers assemble and communicate complex information in a clear and useful manner. One of the things they specialize in is policy and procedure documentation! In this way, the HR personnel can consult with them on all the HR policies and procedures they want written out. Finally, the technical writers at Essential Data Corporation can make it easy for them by authoring the document.

How EDC Can Help

Essential Data Corporation

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or [email protected]

Written by Heidi Ripplinger