The top 10 HR policies every organisation should have

The top 10 HR policies every organisation should have

hr policies and procedures

Policies are an important part of organisational life. They help establish processes, provide clarity on rules, support efficiency, minimise risk and ensure everyday operations go smoothly. A particularly important policy area is HR and people. When it comes to employment, most companies have a set of policies that relate to different areas of HR such as annual leave, pay & benefits, health & safety, and more. Some of these will make up an employee handbook and should be easily accessible, perhaps on the company’s intranet or HR portal.

However, resource-challenged HR teams can sometimes find it hard to keep these policies up to date and ensure employees can easily find them. In this post we’re going to look at ten of the most important HR policies every organisation should have, and how a solution like Xoralia can help busy HR teams manage their HR policies make them easily accessible for employees.

What are HR policies?

An HR policy is a document or set of statements that sets out an official, standard position relating to HR, people and employment-related processes. It might contain the overall rationale and approach relating to an area of HR such as professional conduct or pay and benefits, and then a more detailed set of procedures and rules. HR policies often come with additional guidelines to help managers and employees to follow them.

Why is it important to have HR policies?

As every HR department knows, it’s critical to have clear, up-to-date HR policies that all employees can access. This is important for several reasons:

  • HR policies help guide employees to carry out the right people-related processes and procedures, helping drive efficiency, consistency and standardisation.
  • HR policies help to define an organisation’s employee value proposition so employees know what to expect and understand all the benefits they experience. .
  • HR policies define professional conduct and expected levels of behaviour to support a safe and optimal working environment. .
  • Policies also establish expectations around performance, to help employees succeed in their role.
  • Having the right policies helps establish a culture of fairness and inclusion, supporting important areas such as Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI). .
  • Policies help managers to make the best decisions in managing their team and also ensures consistency in decision-making. .
  • HR polices ensure an organisation adheres to legal, regulatory and compliance commitments, reducing any associated risks. .
  • Having the right policies also help the HR team to streamline their operations to provide consistency and drive efficiency. .
  • Policies should also support change management within the organisation. .

What are the ten most important HR policies?

Let’s look at ten of the most important HR policy areas where every organisation should have a clear policy available for staff.

1. Pay, benefits and rewards

Policies relating to pay and benefits are always going to a key area, providing information that staff need to access on a regular basis. Policies relating rewards will establish everything relating to salaries and benefits, covering the details around overtime, who is eligible for benefits, processes around salary reviews, any bonus scheme, the company pension scheme, any choices relating to benefits and more.

2. Performance management

Performance management policies help to establish expectations around the performance of employees and provide clarity on processes that are put in place to support performance. This will include annual performance reviews, providing ongoing feedback around performance, details around promotions and any links between performance and rewards. The policy or policies will be a valuable reference point for employees and managers.

3. Professional conduct and disciplinary procedures

Most companies have policies relating to professional conduct and expected levels of behaviour, and will usually be a core part of the “employee handbook”. The policy will also usually detail disciplinary procedures too in the event of misconduct. It might cover specific use cases for certain industries where there are regulations, for example relating to receiving and declaring gifts in financial or professional services.

4. Annual leave and absence

Everyone needs clarity around policies relating to annual leave and absence. A policy in this area could cover elements such as annual leave allowance and how this relates to role and tenure, details of maternity and paternity leave, approaches to volunteering and if a organisation allows for any absence, compassionate leave, sick leave, whether the annual leave allowance rolls over from year to year, and so on. This is a key area where it is essential to have everything written down and where employees and managers can access all the necessary information.

5. Home and hybrid working

Since the pandemic, hybrid and home working have become a common pattern of working. It’s still a relatively fast- moving area with some senior management keen to get more people to return to the office. Having clarity is king and having a policy is valuable. This might encapsulate the expectations of the company relating to hybrid working, the rights of employees to work from home, the level of discretion managers have in defining working patterns for their team and so on. There may also be related processes relating to health and safety at home, working in the office and booking desks.

6. Health, safety and wellbeing

Health and safety at work has been an area where many companies have strict policies for compliance and risk purposes. In particular companies in certain sectors such as mining, utilities and engineering will feature health and safety policies prominently; sometimes the policy may not always be the responsibility of HR, and there will be a separate team. Health and safety can also apply to homeworking, with risk assessments relating to workstations being a legal requirement. Wellbeing is also a related area with HR functions increasingly having policies that better support staff, particularly relating to mental health issues; sometimes a wellbeing policy might be separate to a health & safety policy.

7. Learning and development

Learning and development is central to employee experience. A policy will cover both the expectations and opportunities around learning and development, including areas such as any mandatory training that needs to be carried out, professional training or Continuous Professional Development (CPD), learning for new staff as part of employee onboarding, and optional training, for example around softer skills. A policy may also cover learning budgets.

8. Diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion (EDI also sometimes DI&E) is an important area for many companies with a raft of potential benefits. Many companies support EDI with a range of different measures including support for employee affinity groups and accessibility. The policy could cover a business’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as measures that have been put in place. A policy in this area is sometimes shared externally as employers are keen to display their credentials, particularly in relation to recruitment.

9. Recruitment and onboarding

Recruitment and onboarding is another area where there are a complex set of processes with many moving parts, and there is actually like to be more than one policy. Managers will need to know the process around hiring a new person and the details such as role descriptions, interview protocol, involvement from the HR team and so on. Employee onboarding is also very process-led with a set of tasks involving multiple functions required to set up a person with all they need by their first day, and then a programme of learning and engagement to follow. There may also be a policy detailing a referral programme for employees who introduce people they know to fill a position.

10. Whistleblowing

It’s not always considered a core HR policy but actually a whistleblowing policy is very important, helping drive a culture of transparency, reducing fraud and supporting ethical practices. A whistleblowing policy will state an organisation’s approach to whistleblowing and also the process, which usually involves contacting a third party service.

How Xoralia policy management software can help

HR teams tend to have many policies that must be keep up to date and are frequently accessed by employees and managers. Without a comprehensive and consistent approach to policy management there is always the danger of a policy not being kept up to date, multiple versions begin in circulation or employees not being able to find a policy and then continually emailing the HR team, asking for the latest version of a document.

A dedicated policy management solution like Xoralia enables busy HR functions to streamline their approach to managing policies and makes it very easy for employees to find the policy they need. Xoralia achieves this by:

  • Providing one source of truth for HR policies
  • Having an easy-to-access, searchable single library that employees trust to quickly find the right policy
  • Using robust version control to ensure employees only find the latest versions of policy documents.
  • Including policy lifecycle management features such as granular permissions, automated reminders, approval workflow and dedicated reports to help busy policy owners across HR teams keep their policies up to date.
  • Enabling employee attestation features to help notify users about policy changes
  • Supporting personalisation and targeting so the right people can see the right policies, which is particularly useful for global organisations where some HR policies might be location-specific.

Need help with HR policy management? Get in touch!

Managing your HR policies is important and a solution like Xoralia can help. Why not schedule a free demo?

Book a live demo

Find out more about Xoralia policy management software

During the demo, we'll walk you through Xoralia’s various features and functionality, providing plenty of time for you to ask our experts questions along the way.

Book a demo

Seven common mistakes made in policies and procedures management

Seven common mistakes made in policies and procedures management

Policies and procedures management has never been the most glamorous business activity, but it has continued to prove to be one of the most useful – providing clarity for employees, reducing risks and underpinning efficiency. When employees can find all the policies and procedures they need, it helps them get things done quickly and successfully, and ensures they are following the right processes and making better decisions.

However, not every organisation carries out policies and procedures management as well as they could. Mistakes are common and when this happens it can lead to problems; employees cannot find the everyday policies they need and end up having to contact policy owners and wasting time. Even worse, employees may follow an out-of-date policy or simply ignore a policy that they cannot find, leading to potential risks.

In this article we’re going to explore seven of the most common mistakes made in policies and procedures management and how a solution like Xoralia can help avoid making them.

1. Not actively reviewing and updating policies

One of the main mistakes organisations make is not actively reviewing and updating their policies so they go out of date. This happens surprisingly often – a policy gets written with good intentions, usually to embed a change of rules or to clarify an area where there are particular risks. It might be then placed on the intranet as a useful reference resource. However, when the rules perhaps change – even if only slightly – the original policy never gets updated.

This has two impacts. Firstly, it means people simply don’t follow the right process. A new starter joins, downloads the policy, and will assume that it is up to date. Secondly, many employees realise a policy document is not up to date, so they simply ignore it. This also undermines confidence in whether other policies are up to date too. A central pillar of policy management has to involve actively reviewing and updating policies.

2. Not providing a central access point to browse and search for policies

Most organisations have policies, but they are not always easy to find. In fact, they tend to be distributed across multiple repositories. Some in a Microsoft Teams space. Some spread over SharePoint intranet departmental sites. Some within the HR platform. Some in the IT service platform such as Service Now. Perhaps others on the shared file drive. And some even only available by emailing the right person.

When policies are distributed like this they are very hard to find and access – and in practice people end up ignoring them, using out-of-date versions or relying on email to ask colleagues for policies, which is highly inefficient.

Many of these issues are solved by having a central access point for employees to browse and search for all the different policies they need. This might be available via the intranet or perhaps via a central SharePoint site. By providing one central access point for policies, it means employees can find what the right policy quickly. A core capability of most policy management software like Xoralia is establishing that centrally accessed policy library that employees trust and find useful.

3. Not applying version control

One of the biggest mistakes in managing policies is not properly applying strict version control to policies that are in circulation. When there are multiple versions of the same document floating around it gets very confusing. Employees don’t know which is the latest version and either end up using the wrong policy, or have to contact the policy owner to get sent a version that is up to date.

A variety of different approaches can support version control, including a document management solution like SharePoint or dedicated policy management software like Xoralia. Ensuring each version has an updated number, providing version information within the document itself and ensuring existing versions are replaced, also all help support version control.

4. Failing to communicate a policy change

Often when there is a policy change, its important that employees know about it, as it usually means it is a change of process or rules. But some organisations fail to communicate either that a policy has changed or what the change actually is. Employees who might actually be used to carrying out a process are very unlikely to refer to a policy to check if something has changed; this means that the policy change is effectively worthless as nobody is following it.

Some policy management solutions like Xoralia have features that mean employees to know that a policy ha both changed but also what the change is. These include personalized notifications alerting a user that a particular policy has changed as well as employee attestation processes to confirm that they have read the new policy. In Xoralia you can even ask specific questions so they can confirm they have understood and accept the particular change.

5. Not having clear ownership of policies

Effective policy management requires clarity over who is responsible for keeping each policy up to date. If you don’t have clear ownership of policies, then they simply won’t get updated. People may assume it is the responsibility of somebody else – and when a person leaves a company, then a policy may even get forgotten about.

Every policy needs to have a named individual associated with it who is the clear owner. While a policy might be the responsibility of a department or function, ownership should not be just at the team level. There needs to be an individual who is responsible for keeping a policy up to date and actively manages updates.

6. Making policies hard to understand and find

Policies are there to help employees follow particular processes, complete tasks more easily, reduce risks and make the right decisions. However, some policies are not always easy to follow or understand. This can be down to a variety of reasons:

  • The title of a policy might be wrong or ambiguous so it makes it hard for employees to find
  • A policy may be written more in “legalease” or use specialist language or terms that makes it harder to follow
  • Some policies may be especially hard to follow for employees who are not native speakers of the language the policy is written in – and sometimes it may be necessary to perform a translation.
  • Policies may be too long and the important detail that employees really need to access is hidden inside pages and pages

Although policy management software can’t write your policies for you, it can help you think about structuring them in ways that make it easier for employees to find what they need, so encourages elements such as clear titles, targeting policies to the right audience, and keeping policies shorter and manageable.

7. Mixing global and local policies up

In complex international organisations there will be global policies, but then also regional or local policies that apply specifically to a region or country. This is particularly the case elating to HR processes or where there are differences in using different systems and applications. In companies built up by acquisition, local processes and systems can endure for a long time.

Sometimes when policy management is not rigorously applied it can be difficult to ascertain when a policy is local, regional or global. Sometimes global policies are tweaked to be localised but then not properly renamed. Sometimes an intranet or Microsoft search can return ten versions of the same policy – some global and some local. This means it is very difficult for employees to find the right policy to follow – and it also means that they may question if they use a global policy, whether there is also a local policy they need to find.

When you have global and local policies living side by side, active policy management and the ability to target policies to different audiences based on their location becomes critical.

How policy management software like Xoralia helps

Many of the mistakes mentioned in this article are completely avoidable. Having a dedicated policy management solution like Xoralia can help by:

  • Having a single policy library that is easily accessible via all staff through the intranet or within the Microsoft 365 digital workplace.
  • Having search and intelligent views with custom filters to allow employees to find the policies they need and make it clear what is a global and a local policy.
  • Having strict version control to avoid duplication of policies
  • Delivering content lifecycle management features that will ensure polices are reviewed and updated, and that there is clear ownership for each policy.
  • Ensuring that policies are now findable, visible, and trusted, encouraging policy owners to be more accountable and be more proactive in managing their policies and ensuring they are more readable and actionable.
  • Using personalisation and targeting to ensure that people get a view of policies that have updated and which they must read, as well as access the right regional and local policies relevant to them.
  • Including employee attestation and testing features so employees can confirm they have read an updated policy and also understood it, making it easier to communicate policy changes.
  • And many more!

Need to better manage your policies? Arrange a demo!

When it comes to policy management, organisations can’t afford to make mistakes. If you’d like to see how a solution like Xoralia can help, then arrange a demo!

Book a live demo

Find out more about Xoralia policy management software

During the demo, we'll walk you through Xoralia’s various features and functionality, providing plenty of time for you to ask our experts questions along the way.

Book a demo
PHP Code Snippets Powered By :

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find more about the cookies, please see our Cookie notice

You can also read about our Privacy policy

Contact Support

If you have a question about Xoralia software, please fill out the form below and a member of our support team will be in contact with you shortly.