13 basic HR Policies and Procedures
As a responsible employer there are some HR policies and procedures that it is basic for your business to have. Your employees are probably the biggest cost to your business. To get the most from this valuable and expensive resource, you need to ensure that you are doing everything correctly, and that your HR policies and procedures are not only legal and appropriate, but that they are fit for purpose.
In many businesses, especially smaller enterprises, HR policies and procedures are often near the bottom of the list of priorities, that is if they already characterize at all. In many such businesses, the HR function is the responsibility an employee who may have secretarial, payroll, or office management duties in addition as other responsibilities. Often, their HR function is limited to dealing with new starters and leavers.
The daunting task facing many businesses is knowing where to start, and what HR policies and procedures they must have to be legally compliant.
There is a baker’s dozen of HR policies and or procedures that every business ought to have. This article will walk you by each one, and briefly explain why it is basic for you to have it.
1. Job Specification and personal profiles:
It is important to get your recruitment course of action right so that you use the best person for the job. That method you must have a written job specification, which adequately describes the job function. That is a start, but you also need its style – the personal profile. This document describes the qualities, qualifications, and experiences needed to successfully perform the job function described in the job description.
These documents should be specific to the role. Without them, you cannot measure an employee’s performance. Nor can you praise them, or take remedial action if you have never told them what is expected of them.
This topic is discussed in detail in the next article in this series: Why You Need a Job Specification and Personal Profile.
2. Contracts of Employment:
Certain terms and conditions of employment are required by law to be in writing, and given to the employee within eight weeks of the commencement of their employment. These include the main terms and conditions of employment, such as pay, payment of overtime, paid holidays, normal working hours, collective agreements, etc. The contract of employment should also direct your employee to other important policies and procedures they need to be aware of.
3. Managing Probation Periods:
This policy should set out the expectations and standards of behaviour, work, and attitude for all new employees. It is best made part of your induction course of action. Most new employees are put on a probationary period. This gives you to time to estimate whether the new employee is cutting the mustard, or whether, given additional training, they will reach the required standard within a reasonable time, or whether it was a poor appointment. This policy should help guide the new employee and their managers when reviewing performance, and also in deciding whether to confirm the appointment at the end of the probationary period.
4. Performance Management:
This is closely connected to managing probationary periods as, in reality, it is an extension of that policy. It provides a clear and transparent method for dealing with any performance or capability issues. It is also connected to your disciplinary and dismissal policy as some situations of unacceptable performance may be wilful, and not caused by without of training or capability.
5 and 6. Discipline and Dismissal Policy and Grievance Procedure:
It is a statutory requirement for you to have these policies and procedures. They should outline your disciplinary and dismissal policy and your grievance procedure, both of which must include an appeals mechanism.
7. Sickness Absence & Sick Pay:
This policy, which is apt for inclusion in the contract of employment, sets out your rules for notifying absence due to sickness or incapacity, whether the employee can self-certify their absence and, if so, for how long, and what payment they will be entitled to during any such periods of absence.
8. Holiday entitlement:
All complete-time employees in the UK are entitled to at the minimum 5.6 weeks paid holidays in a year. This is capped at 28 days, which can be inclusive of statutory Bank Holidays and public holidays. These are sometimes called Working Time or WTR holidays. If you give more than the statutory minimum holidays, you can set out rules for carrying over unused holidays into the next leave year. Be aware, however, that the WTR holidays cannot be carried over.
9. I.T. usage:
Especially with the temptations of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and the Internet, it is best to let your employees know clearly and in improvement what I.T. usage is and is not permissible. This policy should also cover employees using their own devices either during normal working hours or during their work.
10. Data Protection Policy:
This is an important policy. It is not just about what data you store, including personal data and sensitive personal data, but how and where you store it, how and where it is processed, and how you safeguard it. Failure to protect this data could not only rule to a huge loss of customer goodwill, but also to a fine that is big enough, potentially, to seriously affect your company’s future.
11. Equal Opportunities:
The Equality Act 2010 brought together in one place all the separate pieces of UK legislation relating to discrimination and harassment. It is very important to make sure you know and understand the obligations on your business, and for your employees to know what they should do in addition as what they should not do or say.
12. Appraisal Policy:
Many businesses, especially smaller enterprises, consider a formal appraisal policy as being optional. I disagree. A good appraisal policy helps both you and your employee clarify their weaknesses and enables you to devise an appropriate training programme to sustain them in making any necessary improvements.
Such a policy also gives you an objective basis for considering pay reviews.
13. The make-weight:
The requirements of health and safety legislation permeate all aspects of employment from choosing a piece of workplace equipment, risk assessing a task, to reporting accidents at work. As a legal minimum, you should have a health and safety policy statement. This is the basic information telling staff what you, and they, must do to make sure your business complies with health and safety law.
Health and safety policies are job, activity, and site specific. Because of this, it is shared for businesses to incorporate their health and safety policy into their staff handbook by reference.
This baker’s dozen of HR policies and procedures are the very minimum you need to have in place to ensure that your business is compliant.
How do your HR policies and procedures compare with this list? Are they up-to-date?
Each of these thirteen policies and procedures are discussed in more detail in separate articles in this series, starting with Why You Need a Job Specification and Personal Profile.