HR Policy & Practices

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Human resources policies and best practices provide the necessary guidelines and methods for business success.
Human resources policies and best practices provide the necessary guidelines and methods for business success. (Image: notebook image by bilderbox from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Human resources policies are vital to any organization because they provide structure for the human resources department and guidelines for employment activities. Without human resources policies, it would be extremely difficult to justify employment or business decisions. Human resources leadership is initially responsible for creating the policies and later discussing the policies with executive leadership. Human resources practices are the method used to conduct any type of employment action.

Types of Human Resources Policies

Human resources policies are guidelines to be followed by the entire workforce. Policies are company-wide, unless your business is decentralized. Decentralized businesses are those which are separately managed at each different location and human resources policies may differ based on that location's management or locale.

The human resources department develops the introduction to the set of policies and guidelines and explains the importance of the policies. Policies about performance appraisals, fair employment practices, appearance and behavior are just a few of the several policies contained in an employee handbook.

The handbook is distributed to new employees on the first day of work and is typically discussed during informal or formal orientation sessions. Employers expect employees to fully understand the policies; a signed form to acknowledge the employee has received and understands the employment policies is contained in the employee's personnel file.

Human Resources Best Practices

Some methods utilized by human resources department staff are called "best practices," meaning the way an employment action is handled is the recommended way according to human resources experts. For example, a human resources best practice is conducting an HR audit each year to determine if human resources processes are helpful to the company.

Another best practice is providing new employees with a formal orientation session where they are fully aware of the company, its philosophy and mission. A company known for its human resources best practices is most likely the leader among its competition and typically has a high level of employee satisfaction.

Best practices in human resources are shared with other human resources practitioners as an industry-accepted way of doing business from the HR perspective.

Executive Support For Policies And Best Practices

Without the support of its executive leadership team - to which the human resources director should belong - the human resources policies will either fail or the workforce will be resentful of the human resources department as a whole.

Without policies, an employee has no way of knowing what's expected of her. Without policies, whenever a manager needs to correct the employee's behavior or performance, neither the manager nor the employee have any guidelines to follow. This makes it extremely difficult to conduct any type of manager-employee discussion. In short, the lack of human resources policies weakens the employer-employee relationship which can prevent your business from being successful.

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