HR policies vary considerably from one organization to another, depending on the age of the organization, its size, the nature of the workforce and the position regarding union recognition, but here are the main policy areas:
This is a statement about the general view by the management of employment in the organization. It is likely to carry ringing phrases about teamwork, fairness, innovation and opportunity, but may also include a declaration about the degree and method of employee involvement and the security of employment in different parts of the workforce.
Staffing and development:
Here will be the specific undertakings to employees and the management strategies to be followed in appointing the most appropriate people, providing the opportunities for career growth and ensuring that employees develop their skills and capacities in line with the growth of the business. The main features of this policy area are how vacancies will be determined, where applicants will be sought and how decisions will be made in selection. There will be further sections on how promotions are made, training opportunities and requirements, as well as the use of performance appraisal and assessment centers.
Policies in the area of employee relations will depend on the union recognition situation, but typical features are arrangements about recognition, bargaining units and union membership agreements, agree¬ments relating to negotiation, consultation, shop steward representation, membership of joint committees, safety matters and points of reference, such as following national engineering agreements on the number of days' annual holiday.
Several features of policy and related procedure deal with the working relationship between the organization and the employee or employees. These are mainly to deal with the approach to matters of grievance and discipline.
Terms and conditions:
Aspects of terms and conditions policies are approaches to determining differentials in payment, levels of sick pay, pension provision, holidays, study leave and hours of work.
Equality of opportunity:
A different type of HR policy is that relating to equality of opportunity. Theoretically, equalizing opportunity should be subsumed in all the other areas, but legislation and pressure groups have tended to identify this as an area needing separate treatment.
HR specialists could use the following procedure to devise policies:
1) Identify the topic: Individual topics on which policy clarification is needed have to be identified and worked on when the time is ripe. In identifying the topic, one has to be sure that it is correctly identified and that a policy statement will be timely.
2) Determine the key features: After the general idea has been accepted and shaped, there will be the key features of the policy to be determined. In the area of trade union recognition, the idea to be sold is whether or not to recognize. If the idea of recognition is accepted, the key features to be determined will be to decide which union to recognize and for what the union will be recognized - individual grievances only, terms and conditions of employment, manning levels or what?
3) Agree the details: The last stage is to agree the precise details of the policy statement, with all the implications for later interpretation and implementation. If the key features have been previously determined, then the detailed considerations can be carried through without the risk of jeopar¬dizing what the policy is intended to achieve, but the importance of the details should not be ignored.
Ref: Derek Torrington and Laura Hall