The calming power of a well-thought-out HR policy and Handbook
Today, we’re going to explore part three of our series titled, “The value proposition of an HR consultant.” The goal of this 5-part series is to explore the different ways an HR consultant can add value to your organization’s bottom line.To date, we’ve looked at the benefits of having a 1) strategic hiring plan in place and 2) implementing an effective communication rhythm.
So, let’s dive in!
Gain More Efficiency through a Clear HR Policy
What do you think of when you hear HR policy?
Terms like stiff, inflexible, and ‘no fun’ may come to mind. This is the reality of how most business owners and managers think of HR policies. I, too, wish that everybody would be all-star individuals looking out for the best interests of their co-workers, managers and the organization. There would be no need for rules and we could sail gracefully into profitability, but unfortunately, that is not the world we live in! However, if you start to think of HR policies as tools that help improve employee productivity and also serve as liability protection, you can start to see it in a more positive light.
Employees and managers, alike, prefer to know what is expected of them and what is expected of others. Even though employees may not like that there are consequences to their actions, there is a better acceptance of those decisions when it is fair and consistent across the organization. There will never be a policy for every situation that might occur in your company. Believe me – employees and managers can craft the craziest dilemmas that you can’t even imagine is possible until one day, it happens! With that said, for the sake of productivity, consistency, and your sanity, it is very beneficial to have policies written down to outline certain rules and acceptable behaviors in order to create a fair and equitable workplace environment. In the end, you want policies and practices focused on one goal – improving individual performance in the workplace.
How do HR policies help the bottom line?
When an issue arises, the manager is the first person that has to address the situation. If there is an outlined policy on how to address certain situations, then the manager doesn’t have to think through and stress about how to handle it. He/she will quickly refer to the policy saving time and energy. And since the employees were given a copy of the handbook and signed off on the policy when they first started, they will realize why the decision was made and that it is being applied consistently and fairly. Therefore, with HR policies in place, managers will know how to handle specific situations quickly and efficiently. This helps minimize the time it takes the manager to deal with productivity-draining employee issues and helps them focus on their core duties.
In some companies there could be multiple managers over groups of employees. If one manager decides to handle tardiness differently than another manager, than you will have a fairness and consistency issue on your hands across the organization (especially if there are differences in race, sex, age, sexual orientation, etc). So, it is critical to make sure that the HR handbook is not another stale document collecting dust on the shelf, but that it is an active ‘go to’ resource that all of your managers adhere to. If an employee feels that they have been mistreated, it opens the company up to discrimination lawsuits or sets the path for unionization. So, tools like an HR handbook are not just vital to avoid litigation but primarily to ensure fairness and predictability across your organization.
Where to Start when creating a handbook?
At HR Designs, we view the handbook as a living and adaptable tool. We do not recommend that you create a handbook, pat yourself on the back, and then never update it again. Workforces change, employees change, technologies change and your handbook needs to be flexible and change as well. Additionally, it might be tempting to go buy a template HR handbook off the web, it’s cheap, fast and easy! However, it won’t be customized to your employees and will more than likely not be used or even understood, AND could actually become a liability in some cases.
As an HR Consultant that isn’t with your employees 24/7, we ensure handbook acceptance and adherence through a very inclusive approach. We actively involve your managers and employees in the creation of your handbook so that there is more respect and buy-in to use this tool effectively. You will be surprised how a well-written and thought-out handbook can improve your organization’s productivity and morale. No more time, energy, stress, and anxiety wasted on deliberating over the SAME issues. Employees and managers will willingly use the tools ‘they helped’ create because they are simple to understand and more importantly fair.
If you are curious how working with a HR Management consultant can help streamline your HR policies and create buy-in across your organization, let’s have a conversation!
Stay tuned for next week’s HR value proposition … Performance Management (wow those are some big words!!).
Your local Chattanooga HR Consultant