Human resource policies are continuing guidelines on the approach of which an organization intends to adopt in managing its people. They represent specific guidelines to HR managers on various matters concerning employment and state the intent of the organization on different aspects of Human Resource management such as recruitment, promotion, compensation, training, selections etc. They therefore serve as a reference point when human resources management practices are being developed or when decisions are being made about an organization’s workforce.
A good HR policy provides generalized guidance on the approach adopted by the organization, and therefore its employees, concerning various aspects of employment. A procedure spells out precisely what action should be taken in line with the policies.
Each organization has a different set of circumstances and so develops an individual set of human resource policies. The location an organization operates in will also dictate the content of their policies.
In developing HR Policies, there should be clear and consistent statement of the organization’s policies regarding all conditions of employment and procedures for their equal and fair implementation. In order to fulfill this objective, policies and procedures should be:
- Clear and specific, but provide enough flexibility to meet changing conditions.
- Comply with all appropriate law and regulation.
- Consistent amongst one another and reflect an overall true and fair view approach to all employees.
HR policies are developed by making decisions and taking actions on the day-to-day problems of the organization. The process of developing HR policies involves the assessment of the following factors:
- Identify the purpose and objectiveswhich the organization wishes to attain regarding its Human Resources department.
- Analysis of all the factors under which the organization’s HR policy will be operating.
- Examining the possible alternatives in each area which the HR policy statement is necessary.
- Implementation of the policy through the development of a procedure to support the policy.
- Communication of the policy and procedures adapted to the entire organization.
- Auditingthe policy so as to reveal the necessary areas requiring change.
- Continuous revaluation and revision of policy to meet the current needs of the organization.
On the basis of their source, human resource policies could be classified into
- Originated Policies: These are the policies usually established by the senior managers in order to guide their subordinates.
- Implicit Policies: These are the policies which are not formally expressed; they are inferred from the behavior of managers. They are also known as Implied Policies.
- Imposed Policies: Policies are sometimes imposed on the business by external agencies such as government, trade associationsand trade unions.
- Appealed Policies: Appealed policies arise because the particular case is not covered by the earlier policies. In order to know how to handle some situations, subordinates may request or appeal for the formulation of specific policies.
On the basis of description
On the basis of description, policies may be general or specific.
- General Policies: These policies do not relate to any specific issue in particular. General policies are formulated by an organization’s leadership team. This kind of policies is called ‘general’ because they do not relate to any specific issue in particular.
- Specific Policies: These policies are related to specific issues like staffing, compensation, collective bargaining Specific policies must confirm to the pattern laid down by the general policies.
The following advantages are achieved by setting up HR policies:
- They help managers at various levels of decision making to make decisions without consulting their superiors. Subordinates are more willing to accept responsibility because policies indicate what is expected of them and they can quote a written policy to justify their actions.
- They ensure long term welfare of employees and makes for a good employer-employee relationship as favoritism and discrimination are reduced. Well-established policies ensure uniform and consistent treatment of all employees throughout the organization.
- They lay down the guidelines pursued in the organization and thereby minimizes the personal biasof managers.
- They ensure prompt action for taking decisions because the policies serve as standards to be followed. They prevent the wastage of time and energy involved in repeated analyses for solving problems of a similar nature.
- They establish consistency in the application of the policies over a period of time so that each one in the organization gets a fair and just treatment. Employees know what action to expect in circumstances covered by the policies. Policies set patterns of behavior and permit employees to work more confidently.