IT’S ABOUT TIME!

When was the last time you had a re-look at your work­place poli­cies? A year ago? Five years ago? Here is why you shouldn't let your poli­cies gather dust

The Economic Times - - Finance & Commodities -

Poli­cies are like lega­cies, over a pe­riod of time, they lose their rel­e­vance and sheen but con­tinue to ex­ist. They are fun­da­men­tally de­signed to stream­line pro­cesses and make them sta­ble and ef­fi­cient. Uni­for­mity and sus­tain­abil­ity are the key el­e­ments to en­sure their suc­cess. In to­day's dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment, to ful­fil role ob­jec­tives, HR has to cre­ate poli­cies and pro­ce­dures which in­te­grate work­force ca­pa­bil­i­ties with busi­ness re­quire­ments. Poli­cies help in com­mu­ni­cat­ing vi­sion, val­ues and share­holder ex­pec­ta­tions with the em­ploy­ees, which adds to more be­long­ing­ness and em­pow­er­ment. It helps in bench­mark­ing and adopt­ing the best prac­tices in the in­dus­try and en­ables the man­age­ment to take de­ci­sions. Keep­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion in com­pli­ance with leg­is­la­tions/reg­u­la­tory frame­work is a ba­sic hy­giene re­quire­ment. Ap­pro­pri­ate poli­cies not only help do that, but also re­duce the in­ter­nal volatil­ity and boost the re­li­a­bil­ity on the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The de­sired struc­tural changes are dif­fi­cult to come by. The al­go­rithm is only mod­i­fied and gen­er­ally not changed. A lot of poli­cies have sprung up post the glob­al­i­sa­tion era. Work-from-home (WFH) was a nonex­is­tent scheme, but as the world came closer and started con­nect­ing vir­tu­ally, it just made busi­ness sense to in­tro­duce such a pol­icy. It is a win­win sce­nario for the em­ployee and the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Sab­bat­i­cal as a pol­icy was in­tro­duced to al­low em­ploy­ment con­ti­nu­ity with­out pay to the em­ployee. It was ini­ti­ated typ­i­cally for in­di­vid­u­als who needed time off for a spe­cific rea­son like med­i­cal treat­ment, fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, gath­er­ing some ex­per­tise/skill, and vol­un­teer­ing for a so­cial cause. Later, it was ex­tended to in­clude women want­ing to take ex­tended time off post child birth, pur­su­ing some pas­sion like writ­ing a book, and look­ing af­ter an un­well fam­ily mem­ber. Per­for­mance and rev­enue earn­ing ca­pa­bil­ity or po­ten­tial is a key in­gre­di­ent for any or­gan­i­sa­tion to flour­ish. But, sev­eral com­pa­nies are now do­ing away with the strin­gent and forced per­for­mance re­view and fit­ment.

When we talk of a pol­icy, pe­ri­odic re­view or au­dit is re­quired to en­sure that its ef­fec­tive­ness, essence and ap­pli­ca­tion is in the right di­rec­tion. months is nec­es­sary.

Ex­perts sug­gest that re­view­ing the poli­cies once in every two years is good to un­der­stand changes in the work en­vi­ron­ment in which the or­gan­i­sa­tion op­er­ates. To suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment change ini­tia­tives, or­gan­i­sa­tional lead­ers must iden­tify the need for change and com­mu­ni­cate it to all em­ploy­ees. We must en­gage peo­ple at all lev­els of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and also in­volve them in the de­sign of the im­ple­men­ta­tion strat­egy. Suc­cess­ful change man­age­ment hap­pens at the bot­tom where knowl­edge and ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion is present. A com­mon on­line fo­rum helps to man­age these poli­cies on a sin­gle plat­form.

An all per­va­sive ex­er­cise in­clud­ing re­dun­dancy checks, re-struc­tur­ing and re-or­gan­i­sa­tion needs to be done every time a pol­icy is relooked at for more rel­e­vant ap­pli­ca­tion. Con­sid­er­ing to­day's em­ploy­ees and their de­mands, the poli­cies, in­stead of be­ing very spe­cific, should rather be broad in na­ture. While the poli­cies should be used for main­tain­ing order, they should not bring in rigid­ity. But, this is easier said than done, be­cause the span of con­trol that the man­agers have over the man­aged peo­ple is be­com­ing wider. There are sev­eral poli­cies that cor­po­rates have in­tro­duced for the new gen­er­a­tion em­ploy­ees like flexi-tim­ings, work-from-home, pa­ter­nity leave, study leave and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion al­lowances, dat­ing al­lowances, recre­ation and sports ac­tiv­i­ties/events and many more. All these poli­cies are tar­geted to­wards en­cour­ag­ing a higher level of alignment and re­ten­tion.

Once the poli­cies un­dergo a re­vi­sion, the de­part­ments and func­tions get­ting im­pacted need to be iden­ti­fied for fur­ther ac­tion. Di­ver­sity and qual­ity im­pact also needs to be cal­cu­lated, which could be a po­ten­tial haz­ard to en­sure the suc­cess of a pol­icy. Thus, a sys­tem­atic plan to com­mu­ni­cate the sen­si­tiv­i­ties in­volved has to be steered well. The changes should be fa­cil­i­tated ef­fec­tively to dull any neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tion on dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers.

Thus, the fre­quency and method­ol­ogy adopted by every or­gan­i­sa­tion needs to be cus­tomised to its level of ma­tu­rity, rel­e­vance, age, mar­ket sce­nario and busi­ness con­tin­gen­cies. Or­gan­i­sa­tions have to be con­tin­u­ously en­gaged to min­imise the neg­a­tive im­pact of pol­icy re­vi­sions.

For edi­to­rial queries, con­tact: Yas­min.Taj@times­group.com

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