Why are workplace HR policies so important?

2mU47LLARySxWAhqwEKDiAThere’s no denying that HR focus has dramatically changed in recent years. In the not so distant past, HR was primarily an admin function, the dreaded “fun police” when it came to workplace policies or it was a task lumped in with Payroll.

But today’s astute business leaders understand in order to succeed in today’s (and the futures) business environment they need to move their HR function away from focussing on personnel management and administrative tasks, and direct their focus towards managing employee engagement and strengthening workplace culture. Smart business owners see the benefits in ensuring their employees are happy and as a result will continue to stick around for the foreseeable future.

Human Resources Policies and Procedures are important as they provide structure, control, consistency, fairness and reasonableness in the business. They also ensure compliance with employment legislation and inform employees of their responsibilities and the organisations expectations. In addition, they also provide transparency in how processes will be managed, and should be easily accessible by all managers, supervisors and employees alike.

Let’s imagine a workplace without any HR policies and procedures that employs managers who have very little knowledge of what to do in terms of process or best practice, and have received no training. How would this look? Like a disaster waiting to happen, thats what- workplace policies are useful documents to rely on when a legal dispute arises between an employer and an employee. In many cases, where the employer can point to a policy to show that the employee ought to have known what his or her responsibilities were in relation to the disputed matter, the employer is likely to be in a much stronger position before a court or tribunal. Some employment related laws include a requirement that a policy be in place and that the policy fulfil certain specifications. For example, occupational health and safety laws require employers to put in place a rehabilitation policy outlining the responsibilities of the employer. Where no policy is in place this will constitute an offence under the legislation. In other areas of the law, such as equal opportunity, there is no specific requirement in the legislation that policies be put in place. However, where an employer can point to a policy, that will go some way towards substantiating the employer’s compliance with the law should the matter arise before a court or tribunal. To this end many organisations have policies on EEO, workplace harassment and grievance handling procedures

You may think that as ‘sensible adults’ your employees know how to behave – but unfortunately it’s not always the case. The mix of backgrounds, cultures, upbringings, education and experiences see all of us develop different ideas of what is and isn’t acceptable, and how to conduct ourselves at work  Policies should provide all the information that new & established employees need to know.  They are a great tool in the induction process to ensure new starters are on the same page as you from day one.

There are plenty of places to obtain workplace policies on the internet, generally they are relatively cheap, you insert your business name and you’re off and running, but generic policies don’t always work from business to business. Your policies need to be reflective of your workplace & peculiarities of your industry. In addition most of these policies only contain basic information and will then include a “insert procedure here” paragraph, without the appropriate HR knowledge how can you ensure your content isn’t just best practice but legal?

The key to getting policies right isn’t just understanding industry and the workplace, but understanding the law. It’s the difference between knowing legally what steps must be taken during employee discipline & termination or managing drug & alcohol testing to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of a Fair Work decision & just copying another companies policies off the internet.

70% of SME’s utilise the resources of adhoc HR (an employee holding another position in the business that has taken on the duties of HR), and it comes at a risk: If your business is leveraging adhoc HR for your HR needs, you’re dealing with a fairly costly business issue. According to recent data on SME’s, 82% of employees undertaking adhoc HR duties have no relevant training which exposes the business to not only significant legal risk but the lack of capacity to implement strategies to help save money or improve employee retention and culture.

The People & Culture Office policies reflect contemporary human resource practice, offer step by step procedures and are fully compliant to Australian workplace law and legislation. They have been written with the average employee in mind; that is anyone in the business can pick up the policy and understand exactly what is expected of them and what procedure should be followed to achieve the desired outcome.

Policies should add value to your business, whether it’s a Recruitment & Selection Policy to guide you to recruit employees of the highest standard or an EEO, Bullying & Harassment Policy that covers off the relevant legislation, if your policies are too vague, don’t provide guidance and protect you from legal action then you aren’t getting the value from them that you should. Click here to view how we can partner with you to provide contemporary workplace solutions for your business.

Outsourced HR solutions can help manage your risk, keep you compliant, and give you peace of mind. And in doing so, you’ll be placing your company in a strong position to grow and prosper. 

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more

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