Human Resources Policies And Procedures - What You Need No Know

Human Resources Policies And Procedures - What You Need No Know
Last Updated: March 29, 2023

Human resources policies and procedures refer to a set of core principles or philosophies about how an organization wants to manage the various facets of its human resources practices and how such practices would be implemented practically. Put differently, human resources policies embody the beliefs an organization has about how it should manage human resources practices. The procedures accompanying such policies are an instruction to the managers on how to implement the policies or comply with them. They are often written as step-by-step logical guidelines on how managers implement the policies. 


A policy is a written expression of the regulations of an organization. Each policy addresses a mission or operational issue. Procedures instruct individuals on how to implement policies. The procedure is the policy's "how to." Procedures are organized in phases.


The policy and procedures manual is a comprehensive road map the management team may follow in its day-to-day human resources administration. It explains the "why", "when," and "where" of all of the company's human resources policy and procedures.


Human resources policies provide a documented direction for how a wide variety of human resources issues should be addressed within an organization. They comprise a statement of fundamental concepts and the rights and obligations of employees and supervisors. One advantage of having human resources policies and procedures is ensuring fairness, equity, and uniformity in applying human resources practices in an organization. They also can aid in the protection of the organization against legal claims. Despite this, the most important factor in determining a policy's efficacy is not how well it is drafted but how effectively it is communicated and implemented, particularly by the target audience of such policies; the line managers.


The human resources policies and procedures are always developed based on what the organization wants and how the human resources can contribute to achieving such goals. I want to emphasize that the human resources policies and procedures are developed for the managers. They guide managers on how they can comply with the core human resources practices that the organization aspires for. The same human resources policies and procedures, when translated for the benefit of the generality of the staff members, are called a Staff Handbook. They are a summarized version of the human resources policies and procedures. The purpose of a Staff Handbook is to give employees a glimpse of the various policies in the organization and how employees can benefit.


Related: Crafting the Right Human Resources Policies for Your Organisation

Why are human policies and procedures important?

Human resources policies and procedures provide a systematic approach to human resource administration (good for all supervisors and managerial guidance). The policy manual serves as a communication tool for these members of management, helping to explain rules and procedures. The human resources policy manual is a book that managers may use to help them implement corporate policies. The policy document comprises extensive, detailed human resources policies and procedures covering all stages of human resource management.


Human resources professionals are responsible for providing direction and assistance to employees and ensuring that the company meets its goals and objectives. HR policies and procedures help an organization operate efficiently and effectively while complying with workplace activities' laws and regulations. When human resources policies and procedures are developed well, it minimizes situations of non-compliance with statutory requirements and internal guidelines from management. When employees have questions about their rights or the procedures for a given problem, they usually turn to their human resources department.

Related: Role of Technology in Human Resource Management

Other areas where human resources policies and procedures are crucial include shaping an organization's culture, hiring practices, and employee relationships. They define the rules and regulations that help ensure employees' safety, comfort, and productivity. They also help keep employees in the loop and motivated, providing them with information about their workplace and the organization's direction.


HR policies and procedures will likely increase trust in an organization's human resources practices. Employees would know upfront what to expect in a particular situation or incidence. Managers are likely to have confidence when dealing with human resources issues. It frees the time of human resources professionals as most of the human resources issues can be handled at the line manager level within the guidelines provided in the human resources policies and procedures. In addition, HR policies can speed the decision-making process by ensuring that clear advice is easily available to satisfy a variety of issues. The good news is that significant research points to the positive business impact of well-drafted and communicated human resources policies and procedures.


Related: Functions of Human Resources: How the department works


Human resources policies and procedures: How are they developed?


The starting point when developing human resources policies and procedures is to be clear on what the organization intends to achieve overall and how the human resources function can assist in achieving such ambitions.


To ensure that the human resources policies and procedures continue to be taken seriously by management they must be administered and applied consistently throughout the organization. Every policy needs to be in line with the laws that are currently in effect. Each one needs to be understandable, condensed, and current.


Sometimes what triggers the development of human resources policies and procedures are inconsistencies in the treatment of issues raised by employees. In some instances, they are triggered by situations where there is much ambiguity in certain aspects of the company or how things are done, and the organization would benefit from a policy. A policy can be written when a law specifically requires an organization to have a policy in place.


Listed below are some of the common human resources policies and procedures that are almost mandatory for every organization.


Certain policies have an administrative focus and are written to ensure compliance with statutory requirements.

Related: Human Resources Models Every HR Practitioner Should Know


Policies are created for the many, not the few. When you implement a policy, you are setting a standard that will apply broadly across the business, not just to a few individuals who may be generating issues.


A policy establishes a norm or standard that must be followed consistently, limiting management's ability to consider each circumstance unique. Poorly developed and implemented policies might cause more harm than good to your firm.


It might be tough to modify policies embedded in your organization's culture and ways of operating (They tend to create legitimate expectations ). You want to ensure that any policies you implement meet a real need and are consistent with your firm's beliefs and how work should be done. You must also guarantee that managers have the necessary skills and resources to execute and monitor the policy.


Much of the substance of policies mandated by legislation may be determined by the requirements of the legislation. Compare yourself to other organizations implementing a similar policy (best practice).


What is the policy's purpose? What are the outcomes? What role does this policy play in establishing our desired workplace culture? How will this policy be put in place and monitored? What impact would this policy have on a manager's ability to act when evaluating performance, promoting, allowing leave, hiring, or terminating? How will this policy affect our ability to attract suitable candidates? How has our organization dealt with similar issues in the past?


It is best practice to consult important stakeholders when establishing human resources policies and procedures. This includes consulting management, staff, and board members. This will ensure you gain buy-in, address the correct issues, and have a complete picture.


Related: Design your Human Resource Policies


The Structure of the Human Resources Policies and Procedures

The human resource and procedures should have the following structure:



The policy's aim is outlined in the purpose, which describes what the policy wants to achieve. For instance, the goal of a health and safety policy may be to guarantee that all employees are provided with a safe and healthy working environment that complies with the applicable health and safety regulations.



The policy scope describes the types of people to whom it applies. Every employee and staff member may be affected, or there will be some differentiation depending on level, location, job status, or department. In addition to that, the scope should specify any exceptions to the policy.


Policy statement

The actual rule or norm that the policy needs to express is included within the statement.



Describe the roles that will be played by the board, management, and employees in the policy, and indicate who will be in charge of creating, maintaining, monitoring, and enforcing the policy. Be careful to mention that failure to comply with the policy may result in disciplinary action.



Make sure that any phrases used in the policy are defined very clearly. If the definitions of the words are included in the law that underpins the policy, you must utilize the legislation's definitions (e.g., retrenchment, overtime, etc. ).

Related: Human Resources skills: A guide to HR Professionals


Final tips on drafting the human resources policies and procedures

You want the policy to speak directly to the people it is meant to, so be sure you use basic and obvious language and stay away from jargon and legally speaking. Make sure that the content and the way it is worded are objective and that they support fair and consistent treatment. Always use the same phrases, and define any unique terms. Be certain that the standard or norm established by your policy can only ever be interpreted uniformly.


Consider a few "what if" situations to check if the policy still applies, bearing in mind that most policies will not, and should not, cover every potential event. You should provide for exceptions to the norm in most policies. Use words like "generally," "usually," and "typically" instead of "always" and "never." Include a disclaimer such as "this is just meant as a guide." There are a few instances where you want to be completely certain that the policy's standard will apply in all circumstances.


Implementing Human resources policies and procedures

Employees, managers, and key stakeholders must have access to up-to-date versions of policies and procedures related to their roles in the company and be informed of and understand any new policies or changes to policies that go into force. This will ensure no one has an excuse for not implementing the policies.



Human resources policies and procedures are formal commitments focusing on how employers deal with employees. Policies and procedures regarding human resources are considered to be the most important aspect of any corporation.

Today, HR policies and procedures are more complex than ever before. There are more HR policies, more HR procedures, and more HR processes than ever before. HR managers have to make sure that all policies and procedures are followed.


Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.


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Memory Nguwi
Super User
This article was written by Memory a Super User at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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