HR Policies & Procedures

The HR Policy-Writing Shortcut

It’s a lot easier to have the human resources policies and procedures you need when you don’t actually have to write them. Here’s the way around having to do it.

A recent Daily Advisor article bemoaned the fact that so many companies create human resources policies and procedures manuals and then never use them. “The office dust collector,” we called these three-ring paperweights that seldom leave their place on the shelf.

It’s a shame that happens. Written policies and procedures are what keep us consistent, fair, and legal. And should an employee ever haul you into court over a disciplinary action, the first thing you’re likely to be asked is whether you had a policy on the matter. Being able to say “yes” is the start of a strong defense.

But we can also understand why policies get ignored, or never written in the first place. They’re just a lot of work.

Because each word may be critical in a legal situation, just drafting policies is a challenge. Chances are that senior management and corporate counsel will then call for multiple revisions. Multiply that effort by the dozens or even hundreds of policies needed by a modern business, and you see why many HR managers would rather ignore the whole thing.

The solution lies in having most of the policy writing done for you, through a good prewritten HR policies and procedures program. A number of such programs are on the market. Ours is called SmartPolicies on CD-ROM, and naturally, we’re partial to it. But whichever prewritten policies program you evaluate, look for these features:

–Time-Tested. You do not want a program of policies written yesterday. Why? Errors and omissions show up over time, as the policy is tested in actual workplace situations.. SmartPolicies has its roots in our Encyclopedia of Prewritten Personnel Policies…the famous “BLR Green Book,” used for decades, in thousands of organizations. These policies have had more than legal review; they’ve had “real-world review.”

–Complete. SmartPolicies has more than 350 prewritten documents, covering virtually every essential employment topic and alphabetically arranged for easy access. (See link to a complete topic list below.) The CD-ROM format makes each policy customizable right on your computer.

–Versioned. A prewritten program should offer different versions of each policy to fit your management style. BLR has “strict,” “standard” and “progressive” wordings. Choose the one that best matches your company’s mind-set.

–Updated. HR constantly faces new challenges from changes in the law or issues such as emerging technology. A prewritten program should periodically provide updated policies covering these issues. SmartPolicies sends quarterly updates, at no extra cost. How up to date are our updates? We recently sent subscribers a policy on “blogging,” the relatively new practice of employees writing a personal diary on the Internet. Our legal experts told us this activity has many potential legal pitfalls; thus, a policy was needed.

In addition, a good prewritten program will also tutor you on building a policy program, including how to build consensus, integrate policies with existing documents such as employee handbooks, and set up a policy review process to keep your policies viable and relevant. This tutorial is included in SmartPolicies on CD-ROM.

Click here for more information or for a FREE trial of SmartPolicies on CD-ROM.