A 'must have' guide to HR Policies


AS A responsible company in the 21st Century, regardless of your attitude to human resources, there are some elements of it that you cannot afford to ignore.  Your staff are one of, if not the, biggest cost to the business. You want to be sure you are doing everything correctly, legally and appropriately, but at the same time fit for purpose.

HR policies and procedures often feature fairly low down on companies’ list of priorities and at TrueHR we understand that. There are so many variations and suggestions for HR policies and procedures but we believe that there are 15 key policies/documents you need to be legally compliant. They go some way to protecting you in this ever increasing litigious society. Let me walk you through them below with a short explanation as to why. 

1       Contracts of Employment
Not just a policy on having them, but actually HAVING them helps. These are a  must-have within two months of the start date containing the main Terms and Conditions of employment, and referencing the various policies (ideally the ones listed below), collective agreements if applicable and directing your employee to other key documents they need to be aware of.
2&3   Discipline & Grievance
These should outline the company’s disciplinary, grievance and dismissal procedures. This is a statutory necessity.
4       IT usage
We find it’s always best to let your staff know up front what they can and can’t do – right? Especially in this day and age with the lures of social media such as Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn and the temptations of the Internet.
5.      Job Specification and personal profiles
As with the contracts, this is about HAVING these documents – they need to be bespoke, relevant and up-to-date. How can you measure an employee’s performance and either praise or take action if you have never told them what is expected of them?
6.      Performance Management
This must be closely linked to the above – it provides the means of how to deal with any issues, in a clear and upfront manner.
7.      Managing Probation Periods
Likewise – it is critical to set out the expectations and standards of behaviours, work and attitude for all new employees. This policy should help guide them and the managers undertaking any reviews as to what will be managed, how it will be managed, how it will be recorded and why.
8.      Data Protection Policy
This is one that is often missed – it’s assumed to be someone else’s remit but boy, oh boy is it important. It’s not just about what you store, but how you store and safe guard it – both for your employees and also your customers. Failure to do so could lead to a huge loss of customer goodwill to say nothing of the potential fines. The Information Commissioner is able to fine up to £500k for third-party related data losses or exposure. Now I know that’s an extreme figure and any penalty is decided on according to circumstance i.e. the level of data loss and existing prevention measures in place, but obviously any substantial fine is enough to seriously impact your company’s future.
9.      Equal Opportunities
The introduction of the Equality Act in 2010 brought together all the acts and laws in relation to discrimination and harassment, therefore it is more critical than ever to make sure your staff know what they can say and do, or, as importantly, what they can’t or shouldn’t.
10.    Sickness Absence & Sick Pay
This speaks for itself – a chance to tell your staff your attendance requirements (or hopes in some cases!) and then payment terms
 11.    Holiday entitlement
As above
12.    Appraisal Policy
This one is frequently seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than necessary but we should be keen to encourage staff, guide them in their roles and then support them in making any changes
13-15  Health and Safety Policy Document incorporating Accident Reporting & Risk Assessment process.  This is the basic information telling staff what you must do to make sure your business complies with health and safety law. It will help you decide who's responsible for health and safety, guide on how to manage the risks, consult employees, provide the right workplace facilities, make first-aid arrangements and report accidents
Obviously the actual numbers of available and possible policies are much greater – almost infinite but these are the ‘must haves’ in our opinion

So are you compliant?
For more help and advice about HR issues or employee development please contact us