How to write HR Policies & Procedures for New HR teams

Chayanika Sen
November 30, 2022
min read
January 10, 2024
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Are you looking for ideas to develop, socialize, and update internal HR policies? In this article, we have discussed everything you need to know about it.
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You are a startup. You work with a small team of people and treat them as a close family — and you want to keep it that way — friendly and informal. But as your team grows and the team members' roles evolve, things start getting complicated.

And this is exactly when you need a set of predefined HR policies and procedures. Employees need HR policies and procedures that can guide them to do their job effectively, especially in a complex work environment. 

TL;DR: HR policies and procedures

  • HR policies and procedures are essential for guiding employees in a growing and complex work environment.
  • HR policies are high-level statements that outline employee benefits, code of conduct, and desired results.
  • Procedures provide step-by-step guides for achieving job outcomes and serve as reference documents.
  • Important HR policies include attendance and remote work, benefits and compensation, employee training and development, recruitment, and disciplinary and termination.
  • Best practices for HR policies include clear language, flexibility, stakeholder involvement, and alignment with organizational culture.

What are HR policies? 

An HR policy is a high-level statement drafted keeping the overall organization's goals in mind.

It includes general employee benefits, an acceptable way of working, and an employee's general code of conduct while on the job.

For example, a policy states what kind of discipline is expected on the job, the requirement of compliance and adherence to ethics, desired results that need to be focused on, standard guidelines for the employees, and so on. 

🎓 Related resource: How to Write Policies For Your Business

What are procedures?

Business procedures define how to achieve a job, who will perform the job, or when the job needs to be done.

While policy states the outcome, procedure states how to achieve that outcome. 

There are many examples of procedures in business, but essentially they are step-by-step guides that walk you through how to accomplish a job.

Procedures also serve as your go-to reference documents, especially when the organization is in a crisis. 

🆓 Free resource: Try out these Method of Procedure templates that your HR team can use today!

You can write the procedures on paper or create Scribe, where you can capture and record your screen while performing a task.

This is particularly a good idea to do as an HR manager because every time you onboard a new hire, you simply run them through your Scribe without demonstrating it repeatedly.

You can also create a Scribe page to collate all your Scribes and develop standard operating procedures or HR SOPs for your team. 

💡Learn more: Policy vs. SOP — what's the difference?

Types of Human Resource policies & procedures & why they’re important (+ examples)

The workplace is evolving, and you want to constantly review your HR policies and procedures to keep them on par with the changing times.

While the types of human resource policies and procedures you may want to include in your employee handbook depend on the size of the organization, the industry you operate in, and employee geography, there are some standard key policies that you should be including regardless of the circumstances. 

Attendance & remote work policies

This is an important policy where you specify the employees' attendance and where they are expected to work.

After the pandemic, many organizations are now offering remote work for their employees. So, if you are offering remote work, set up the policy and the subsequent procedure for how the employee is expected to work when working remotely. For example, the procedure should cover how the employee can request a home office allowance. 

Here’s a checklist of things to include while drafting a remote work policy

Policy brief and purpose: Briefly describe the policy's purpose and the policy in a line or two.

Scope: Define for whom this policy is applicable. For example, employees whose primary work location is not in the office. 

Policy elements: What are the policy's important aspects that the employee needs to know? For example, remote working is a permanent or temporary agreement between employees and managers to work from a non-office location for more than three days.

Remote working agreement: Draft the detailed remote working agreement in this section.

Here’s an example.

Office-based employees may also work remotely for a maximum of two consecutive weeks per year if they want to visit family/ their birthplace. Our company has employed eligible employees for at least a year. Employees who are new parents or suffer from short-term/long-term disability may agree to longer periods of remote working with their manager and HR.

Equipment: Talk about the equipment the office will be providing/reimbursing/and what the employees need to arrange. Also, elaborate on the maintenance of this equipment and the consequences in case of damage.

Here’s an example. 

We will provide our remote employees with equipment essential to their job duties, like laptops, headsets, and cell phones (when applicable.) We will install VPN and company-required software when employees receive their equipment. We will not provide secondary equipment (e.g., printers and screens.)

The equipment that we provide is company property. Employees must keep it safe and avoid any misuse. Specifically, employees must:

● Keep their equipment password protected.

● Store equipment in a safe and clean space when not in use.

● Follow all data encryption, protection standards, and settings.

● Refrain from downloading suspicious, unauthorized, or illegal software.

2. Benefits & compensation policy

One of the important human resource policies and procedures includes benefits and compensation policies. 

Your employees should know how they will get paid, how they can reimburse expenses for business travels, and the payroll frequency and methods. You should also include all the other benefits you offer, like wellness programs, medical benefits, tech allowance, extra hour allowance, etc. 

Here is a quick checklist of what elements to include in this policy.

Purpose: Briefly outline the policy and its purpose of it. 

Scope: Who is this policy applicable? On-site employees, remote employees, all employees? 

Policy elements: Talk about the various elements of this policy. A compensation and benefits policy has a tangible part, like gross pay, basic pay, IT deductions, etc., whereas intangible pay includes leaving, bonuses, incentives, etc. 

The different categories of benefits and compensation policies are:

  • Bonus.
  • Benefits.
  • Annual pay.
  • Equity-based compensation.
  • Non-monetary benefits.
  • Severance pay.
  • Post retirements pay.

3. Employee training & development policy

Employee training and development are important to any organization’s work culture. Create your policy around employee training and development. 

Here’s a quick checklist of what you need to include:

Policy brief and purpose: Outline the brief of your policy and its purpose of it. 

Scope: Who does it apply to? For example, employee training and development policies apply to all the employees currently working in the organization. 

Policy elements: Employee training and development is the collective responsibility of the HR team, managers and leadership team. So everyone must collaborate to build a strong organizational learning and development culture. 

🎓 Related resource: Copy These Winning Training Program Examples Today

A few of the elements of the policy should be:

  • On-the-job training.
  • Job shadowing.
  • Formal training sessions.
  • Conference participation.
  • Employee coaching and mentoring.
  • Individual training programs.
  • Corporate training programs.

4. Recruitment policy

The recruitment policy talks about the criteria for recruiting a new employee.

Along with the selection process, it should also include the onboarding process. If you have an employee referral, the process is also included in the policy document. 

Here’s a quick checklist of what you need to include in a recruitment policy. 

Policy brief and purpose: Outline the policy brief and the purpose of the policy. 

Scope: Who is the policy for? For example, it can be for all the employees involved in the hiring process and all potential candidates.

Policy elements: What the hiring team needs to know

  • Identifying a job role that requires hiring.
  • Are you going to hire internally or externally?
  • Create the job description and create a job aid. Use job aid templates to standardize them.
  • Create a selection framework.
  • Shortlist resumes.
  • Conduct interviews and background checks.
  • Select the most suitable candidate and make an offer.

⚡ Try our free Job Aid Generator to get started!

5. Disciplinary & termination policy

The termination policy describes how an employee is expected to give a resignation, how many days of notice they need to give to the company, or cite situations when the organization may need to take disciplinary actions against the employee. 

Here is a quick checklist of what you need to include in a disciplinary and termination policy

Policy brief and purpose: Mention the brief of the policy and what is the purpose of it. 

Scope: Who the policy applies to. For example, it can be termination/separation from employment for all the current employees. 

Policy elements: Include the different policy elements like:

  • Resignation.
  • Retirement.
  • Completion of contract.
  • Failure to turn up for work for a specified number of days without notice.
  • Discharge with/without a cause.
  • Breaches.
  • Continuously disregarding company policy.

Procedure: Talk in detail about the process of termination/ separation from employment. 

For example, in case of resignation, the employee has to return all the company assets, submit a written resignation letter, hand over work to the manager, etc.

In case of an involuntary dismissal, the manager must submit an employee termination document to the human resources department at the date of separation or before that.

Other important HR policies are:

  • Leave policy.
  • Health and safety policy.
  • Unfair discrimination policy.
  • Social media policy.
  • Performance evaluation and promotion policy.

🎓 Related reading: Process Improvement Questions Every HR Team Should Ask in Interviews

HR policy & procedure best practices 

  • Keep your policy jargon free. Since everyone in the organization needs to read and understand the HR policies, they should be written in clear and simple language.
  • Your policy needs to be flexible. Ideally, you should review it regularly and make changes to adapt to the changes in the work environment.
  • The onus lies with the HR team to educate all the employees on the policies and spread awareness.
  • All the stakeholders should be involved while drafting the policies.
  • Appropriate procedures should support each policy. 
  • The best way to create your procedure manuals is simply by screen recording with an intuitive tool like Scribe. 
  • The policy should be in sync with your organization's culture. 

🆓 Free resources: Steal These Free HR Policy and Procedure Templates today!

Start implementing HR policies & procedures

Creating HR policies and procedures takes a lot of strategic thinking and consideration.

Free up some headspace by creating Scribes and Scribe Pages for your HR procedures.

Here's a Scribe in action.

‎And here's a Page with everything you need to know about creating visual, dynamic process docs by combining Scribes with video, images and more.

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