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
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.
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