Policy manuals have been a topic of contention for years. There are those firmly in the camp that they are not needed. There are those who believe in a minimalist approach, only including what is absolutely legally necessary to add clarity (I fall in this camp). Then there are those organizations who have a policy for everything. I’ve worked in all types of organizations and no matter if the manual exists or how long it is, I’ve heard employees comment that they do not like “HR’s policies”.
I can tell you from experience that HR is not writing all of your organization’s policies. In fact, the most senior leadership often comes to HR to add specific policies, thus they are sometimes more operationally focused or financially focused. Those that HR truly creates tend to be more compliance and legally driven.
So why does this matter? I think it represents just one way that HR gets a negative reputation. I’ve been called the HR police more times than I care to admit. The truth is that as human resources, we love NOT to be the HR police. We’d love nothing more than not needing a policy manual. The reality though is that someone has to ensure there is some standard of behavior in an organization and HR is often the group that leads that.
So, the next time you’re unhappy with a policy, try to think past the standard idea that HR created it. Try to imagine that at some point, a leader thought it was necessary. HR is often the group responsible for carrying out the enforcement of policy. In addition, if you disagree with a policy or feel it could be improved, don’t hesitate to speak up. Collaboration in policy making can actually lead to happier employees. Take a chance…