Did you know that if your company’s HR policies aren’t easily understandable, and you dismiss an employee for violating those policies, the Fair Work Commission can deem it unfair dismissal?

And besides the legal issues (which often lead to reputational and financial challenges!), confusing HR policies may impact your business in even more ways.

In fact, complex guidelines can result in a high employee turnover rate and decreased motivation due to confusion and frustration among your teams. That’s why you must make your HR policies as understandable as possible.

Top tips for creating and implementing HR policies

Clear HR policies lay the groundwork for fair decision-making, assisting you in navigating your company’s operations and limiting the possibility of misunderstandings or disputes. They also foster transparency, trust, and, thus, a positive work environment that enhances productivity and engagement. 

So, there is more than one compelling reason to invest your time in developing HR policies! Let’s explore crucial strategies you can implement right away to strengthen your organization’s policies and ensure compliance.

Use simple language

Picture yourself as a fresh new employee, eagerly stepping into a new job. But alongside the excitement, you’re bombarded with overwhelming information about your workplace responsibilities, rules, and other important details. To make matters worse, some of these documents are so complex and confusing that you question your decision to join. It’s certainly not an ideal situation.

As an employer, it’s crucial to prevent such situations. You should always aim to provide clear HR procedures, enabling employees to adhere to your organization’s expectations while feeling secure and valued. The easiest way to achieve this is by using plain, simple language that clearly describes each policy and leaves no room for ambiguity or uncertainty.

Communicate policies effectively

While there’s no legal requirement in Australia to inform employees about company policies, it’s highly advisable to do so to prevent any potential legal issues and foster a transparent and compliant work environment. It’s also a smart move to highlight specific sections of policies that require extra attention or hold particular significance.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to communicate with your teams whenever you change HR policies. For instance, if you implement a modification and don’t inform your employees adequately, it would be unethical to criticize or dismiss those who unknowingly made a mistake. Thus, establish effective communication channels, such as email or intranet systems, to keep your employees informed about HR policies consistently.

Require acknowledgment

When you require employees to acknowledge that they have read the policies, you significantly reduce the legal risk of potential policy violations. The acknowledgment serves as concrete evidence that employees were fully aware of the policies and understood their implications, providing your business with a solid legal foundation to address any policy-related issues that may arise.

Here, it’s best to use paper forms or digital platforms to collect employee acknowledgments as those establish concrete proof of their agreement. Additionally, carefully archive acknowledgment records so you may access them when necessary, such as during audits or legal procedures.

Seek employee feedback

By now, it’s evident that when people don’t understand something, they can’t comply with it. Therefore, it’s crucial to proactively seek employee feedback and continually ensure that your human resource policies are understandable. Regularly conduct surveys and engage in one-on-one discussions to gain insights into their understanding of policies and pinpoint areas of confusion.

Conducting regular tests is another practical approach to gathering feedback and assessing the understanding level. This method is particularly crucial when implementing new policies or updating existing ones, as tests provide an unbiased perspective on the clarity. This way, you’ll facilitate a more informed and engaged workplace, promote compliance, and enable continuous improvement of your HR policies.

Putting people first: the key to effective HR policies

When developing and implementing your human resource policies, it is crucial to prioritize the “human” aspect. Remember that your HR policies should be in the best interest of your company and its most valuable resource ― your people.

Engage in open conversations with your teams to ensure that everyone understands each policy, allowing for transparency, increased employee satisfaction, and, ultimately, the thriving success of your business.

And if you need any assistance regarding HR policies or other HR-related matters ― contact us today.