Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting started with an HR Policy and Procedures Manual

Lisa Galbraith CEO

Last week, Cleardocs in Australia, launched a new product in a new product family – HR policies and procedures. We have been selling a similar product in the United Kingdom and with the recent changes to employment law in Australia believed it was time to provide an HR Manual that both small and large organizations could use easily.

Each year in Australia, Cleardocs helps thousands of people start new companies — and we understand that once you start hiring staff formal policies and procedures quickly become vital. We’ve had the same experience at Cleardocs — as we grow and hire staff all sorts of queries arise.

Providing a written employee handbook helps employers explain:

  • their values, philosophy and business strategy;
  • employees’ responsibilities and benefits; and
  • how customers are treated.

The HR Manual doesn’t need to be a weighty complex document – it should be written in plain English and be readily accessible by employees. Some key things to include in your handbook are:

  • Work practises: how do you develop your employees, what is your policy on drug and alcohol, how are expenses reimbursed, what is the computer use policy:
  • Leave and public holidays: how is compassionate leave handled, what happens when your employees are called for jury duty.
  • Grievance policy: how do you manage poor performance and what principles will you apply.
  • Equal opportunity: your procedures for harassment and what behaviour is unacceptable at work parties.

A good HR Manual is easy to read, readily accessible by all and most importantly up to date. It is not a document only for large organisations. It is a document for all business owners large or small. It promotes a professional workplace, it sets clear expectations for all employees and provides a framework for resolving employee difficulties. It provides an important starting point for any legal difficulties between your company and the employee.

I know from experience it is easy to lose sight of the importance of documenting your policies and procedures and to get distracted by other business issues and opportunities, but you do so at your peril.

You can view the table of contents, and the first few pages, of the Cleardocs HR Manual once you have logged into the website.

Order the Cleardocs HR Manual here

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