You may think you are covered until you read the small print; or you may decide to run the risk of breaking the law by not getting any cover in the first place. I’m sure the latter isn’t you – but the former may be. We all make decisions based on what the internet says or what your friends may advise. However, you only understand the consequences when you have an accident.

The management of HR in some businesses is exactly the same.  You set up a business and you search the internet for ‘model’ policies; ask a friend who may know the answer to a particular problem or you rely on information that you have retained from a former job, that you think ‘this will do’. This is OK, until something goes wrong. Then you have to rely on the ‘small print’ that hasn’t been given that much consideration, or the advice given by someone you know. This person doesn’t necessarily have the information that suits your company’s situation.

The management of your human capital is probably the most important part of your role as a business owner/leader. Whether you’re a large company or an SME, up to date HR advice from your own in house HR team or your HR outsourced provider gives you peace of mind of the risks associated with employing people.

Our blog this week shares Triple Three Solutions Limited thoughts on the importance of HR Policies and Procedures whilst providing advice on how to implement effectively.

Policies & Procedures:

If you have HR Policies and Procedures, these are often one of the first things a new or potential employee will see. Therefore, they will often set the tone of ‘how things are done’ in your business. This should be the tool that supports your vision for the company; outlining the company’s values and expected behaviours of your employees.

So what do we mean by ‘policies and procedures’?

In short, a policy is a formal statement, or rule, which all members of an organisation are bound to follow. Although they may not all be contractually binding; they will provide guidance on what is expected of an employee and the company as a whole.

Whilst policies are the ‘what’, procedures are the ‘how’. HR Procedures give an in-depth plan of action as to what to do in specific situations. Procedures must be clear and precise, so that they can be followed accurately.

Below, pcg-services.com breaks down the differences between policies and procedures in further detail.

‘Policies

  • Are general in nature
  • Identify company rules
  • Explain why they exist
  • Tells when the rule applies
  • Describe who it covers
  • Shows how the rule is enforced
  • Describes the consequences
  • Are normally described using simple sentences and paragraphs

Procedures

  • Identify specific actions
  • Explain when to take actions
  • Describe alternatives
  • Shows emergency procedures
  • Includes warning and cautions
  • Gives examples
  • Shows how to complete forms
  • Are normally written using and outline format’

Why do we need them?

Now that we’ve clarified what HR policies and procedures are, we’ll discuss what makes them so important to your business. Below are just some of the reasons for, along with the benefits of maintaining strong HR Policies and Procedures.

Employee needs: Businesses all over the UK employ a diverse range of people, all of whom have different beliefs, thoughts and natures. HR Policies and Procedures help make sure that everyone is treated fairly and that their needs are met. A well thought through, written and followed HR policy shows employees that they are considered and respected.

Reinforce rules: Along with catering to your employee’s needs, policies help to underpin the rules and regulations of your business; which employees must adhere to.

Avoid conflicts: We’d love to think that everyone can get along; however, this unfortunately isn’t always the case. HR Policies can help prevent tensions and conflicts between employees, whilst also aiding higher officials to make the correct decisions in difficult situations.

When things go wrong:

It’s one thing to have HR Policies and Procedures in place, but if they aren’t followed correctly, things go wrong. Below is an example of what happens when procedures aren’t followed properly.

Blackburn v Aldi Stores Ltd

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) provides an example of how things can go wrong. Blackburn v Aldi Stores Ltd concerned an employee who worked as a driver at a depot operated by his employer. The employee was dissatisfied with training and health and safety procedures at the depot, and also with his treatment by his manager. The employee raised a grievance, which was dealt with by the employer’s regional managing director.

The regional managing director produced a report that upheld some parts of the grievance, but not others. The employee appealed. He was invited to attend a meeting with the same regional managing director who dismissed his appeal within 20 minutes. The employee resigned, claiming constructive unfair dismissal. The EAT found that a failure to provide an impartial appeal was capable of amounting to a breach of the duty of mutual trust and confidence. Potentially, therefore, the dismissal was unfair.’ – personneltoday.com 

Our Top Tips:

To summarise, our HR Consultants share some of the main points to bear in mind regarding your business’ HR Policies and Procedures.

  • Execution: Any HR Policies and Procedures are only practically useful if they are kept up to date and are relevant to your business. Irrelevant or inappropriate policies and procedures are of no or little value to your business.
  • Remain impartial: It is important to keep your personal thoughts and opinions out of any business matter, especially one that concerns your employees. Where possible, investigations into disciplinary and grievance matters should be dealt with by someone not previously involved in the situation. In very small business it is sometimes difficult for a business owner or manager to hear a disciplinary or grievance meeting and be seen to be impartial, get advice.
  • Communication: It is crucial to communicate your HR Policies and Procedures to your employees. All members of your organisation should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what will happen should they fail to abide by what is previously agreed. You can read more about the importance of communicating HR Policies and Procedures here.

If you want to learn more about protecting the people risks associated with your business by having practical and appropriate HR Policies and Procedures, or for any other HR queries, please get in touch. Give our HR Advisors a call on 0333 050 3330 or contact us via email at lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.