Having clear policies and procedures in place can help your organisation to run more smoothly and efficiently. Well documented and communicated procedures can help you to foster your values and standards and will guide employees on what is expected of them in specific situations at work. Procedures also help you to deal with HR issues as they crop up in a fair and consistent way.
If you don’t have suitable procedures in place then when HR issues arise, unnecessary time can then be spent on agreeing the right course of action because you have no written guidance.

What do I need to comply with the law?

Some employment procedures are required legally. This includes a written general health and safety policy and your rules on disciplinary and grievance procedures.
There are other codes of practice which are not legally required but are there to guide employers and employees. For example, an equal opportunities policy. Such a policy could help you avoid a claim for harassment or discrimination as long as training for employees has been provided and it has been fully communicated to your staff.

Procedures provide clear expectations

Another example of when employers can cause themselves problems by not having the correct procedure in place is not having a data protection policy detailing who to report breaches to or explaining what is and isn’t acceptable as regards personal data.

 Procedures can guide you as an employer

If you don’t have a clear procedure in place to cover a workplace situation you could fall foul of an employment tribunal. For example, dismissing a long-term employee without giving them reasonable notice of their disciplinary hearing because you didn’t realise that was a requirement. Another example would be dismissing an employee because they are a whistleblower because you didn’t realise that falls foul of the law.

Outlining your procedures

Providing a staff handbook for your employees will set out all of the information they need about the organisation’s rules, policies and procedures. As well as the policies and procedures previously mentioned it can include clauses such as dress code, how to claim expenses and what an employee can claim for, maternity leave and pay, data protection rules, alcohol and substance abuse, social media, smoking, driving company vehicles etc.

Values and standards

Policies and procedures which deal with various aspects of the employment relationship are an important way to get the values and standards you expect over to your employees. The procedures set the standard. They can be used as a tool in employee management, providing clear expectations.

Keeping up-to-date with changes the law

It is also important to keep up with statutory requirements and recent developments and having your HR documentation reviewed once a year to ensure compliance is wise. For example, many employers have implemented home or hybrid working policies with in the last couple of years due to the pandemic, so a policy on that is key.
Most employers should have disciplinary and grievance procedures, sickness absence, health and safety, equal opportunities, anti-harassment and bullying and email, internet and social media policies (assuming employees have access to email/internet access) as a bare minimum.

For guidance on the policies and procedures that are relevant for your organisation or to review what you have in place, contact Liz Jewer on 07803 007591.

Get in touch

Contact Liz Jewer on 07803 007591 if you need advice about this topic or HR related services HR Think offer.