HR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
This factsheet gives introductory guidance. It:
Highlights the main policies and procedures that organizations need to consider
Looks at formatting a policy and sources of information
Introducing HR policies and procedures gives organizations the opportunity to offer a fair
and consistent approach to managing their staff. For more on why HR policies are
introduced, see our factsheet HR policies and procedures: why introduce them?
11 Policy or practice areas those are crucial to effective people management and
Recruitment and selection
Training and learning/development
job challenge/job autonomy
Not all policies and procedures will be relevant to all organizations, and some policies are
required by law while others are to promote good practice.
The following paragraphs indicate the range of possible policies which apply during the
employment life cycle - more detailed information and the legal requirements on each of
these areas is included.
Recruitment and selection
Successful recruitment depends on finding people with the necessary skills, expertise and
qualifications to deliver organizational objectives and who have the ability to make a
positive contribution to the values and aims of the organization. A diverse workforce that
reflects customer groups in the local community should be encouraged.
Elements to consider when forming a recruitment policy:
job profile/person specification
dealing with job applications - whether to use hard copy and/or online forms;
recruitment advertising - discrimination pitfalls
selection techniques - training and validation
asylum and immigration
equal opportunities monitoring
return on investment (ROI)/cost.
There's more information on the website via our Recruitment and talent management
Designing an appropriate and cost-effective induction programme is a complex task. The
programme has to find a balance between providing all the information new employees
need without overwhelming or diverting them from integrating into the team.
The length and nature of the induction process will depend on the complexity of the job
and the background of the new employee.
Elements of an induction policy:
organization information - background and structure; departments; products and
services; physical layout
terms and conditions - hours of work; holidays, travel policy
financial - pay; bonuses; overtime; pensions
culture and values - communication
rules and procedures - data protection; email and Internet usage; equal
opportunities; use of mobile phones
health and safety - first aid; smoking; environmental aspects
welfare, benefits and facilities - alcohol and drugs; employee assistance
Organizations may find it useful to have checklists that cover the pre-employment period,
the first day, the first week, the first month and the end of the probationary period (if
applicable) to make sure everything has been explained.
There's more information on the website via our Induction subject page.
Employee relations look at the partnership between employee and employer, covering
areas such as communication, grievances and discipline. It is equally important in both
union and non-union situations. While employment law is closely linked with managing
employee relations, a successful organization won't just base its actions on compliance
with the law - exploring the concept of the psychological contract, based on trust between
employee and employer, may also be useful.
Policies and procedures that organizations may introduce include:
health and safety
disciplinary and grievance
maternity and paternity leave and pay
recognition agreements (union and other)
time off and leave for trade union activities, holidays, secondment, volunteering,
eldercare, childcare, bereavement
communication and involvement, including employee voice
harassment and bullying.
There's more information on many of these issues on the website via our HR
practice, Health, safety and wellbeing and Employment law subject pages.
Diversity runs through all aspects of an organization’s policies. Managing and valuing
diversity is central to good people management and makes good business sense, so it also
makes sense for diversity to be integral within all policies. A diversity policy sets out the
organisation's vision and values in relation to diversity. It will often include the remit of
polices, the processes for taking action, who is responsible and the training available.
The basic premise is that people should be valued as individuals and for reasons related
to business interests, as well as for moral and social reasons. A more diverse workforce is
likely to offer a wider range of skills and experiences and greater flexibility to meet
Elements of a diversity policy:
formats and accessibility of policies and procedures.
Learning, training and development
Roles and responsibilities are constantly changing, so employees will need to continually
renew and refresh their skills and competences through training. This can happen in the
course of normal working (on-the-job training) or away from the workplace (off-the-job
Some training is mandatory to comply with legal requirements, such as health and safety
Elements of a learning and development policy:
the organization’s vision for learning and development
opportunities available, including secondment, career breaks, courses, coaching,
who to ask to get authorization for training
support given for learning opportunities
development reviews and personal development plans
payment of professional fees
training available for 'peripheral' workers ie contractors, temporary staff
record-keeping and administration
continuing professional development and personal development allowances (if
these are not part of the employee benefits statement)
follow-up actions and transfer of learning to work.
Effective reward practices and procedures can underpin activities in recruitment,
retention, turnover and engagement. Effective implementation and communication are
essential for initiatives to succeed.
Reward policies should be clear and simple so that employees know what's expected of
them and what they can expect to receive in return.
Elements of a reward policy:
the organization’s vision for reward, including market rates, extra responsibility
how jobs are graded or evaluated
pensions/additional voluntary contributions
permanent health insurance/critical illness cover
bonuses and incentive pay
benefits and non-cash recognition
Other policies that organizations may want to consider in relation to employment include:
a mission or values statement
work-life balance/family-friendly work practices
well-being and 'wellness'
the employment of relatives/friends
conflict of interest, including personal relationships
bad weather/climate conditions
There are many reasons why employment ceases, from voluntary resignation to dismissal
Areas to consider for ending employment include:
retirement - retirement age; pre-retirement courses; phased retirement options
end of a short-term contract
end of a probationary period
death in service.
Exit surveys can record information about why employees say they are leaving. But the
data is not always reliable. Another way to discover the reasons why is through opinion
surveys during employment.
Formatting a policy
Policies should be written in plain English, so that they are user-friendly and easily
understood by all employees.
The culture of the organization and the complexity of the policies will dictate the format.
separate manager and employee manuals
all policies available on an intranet
key policies on notice boards.
Policies should also indicate who to go to with queries about the content and who is
responsible for updating and reviewing them.