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Kelly Tucker

HR Star Consulting Ltd

Founder

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New year, new HR policies: A guide to updating your people framework

HR policies are not ‘one and done’ documents; they are living guidelines that should be updated as work evolves. To kick start 2024, Kelly Tucker, Managing Director at HR Star, outlines how to refine your people framework to remain relevant.
silhouette photography of person, Illustration New year, new HR policies

The threshold of a new year signifies more than just a calendar shift. It represents an opportunity for recalibration, innovation and advancement within the HR sphere.

In this era of ever-evolving work dynamics, a fresh start demands a reevaluation and refurbishment of HR frameworks to steer companies toward success in the upcoming year – it’s an essential strategic move.

Embracing change within HR practices ushers in an era of adaptation and sustained success. Here, we dissect the critical pillars that form the bedrock of this transformational journey.

HR policies on remote work, hybrid work and flexible work

The surge in remote work necessitates a strategic overhaul of HR policies to accommodate this burgeoning trend. Crafting flexible policies that cater to remote and hybrid work models ensures operational fluidity while maintaining employee engagement and productivity.

Empower remote workers to tailor their own work environment to optimise productivity.

What should you do when crafting or updating your flexible working policies?

Define remote work expectations

Clear communication regarding remote work policies is crucial. 

  • Articulate guidelines regarding working hours, communication channels and performance expectations to align remote employees with organisational objectives 
  • Implement technology that supports remote collaboration to further streamline this transition
  • Establish clear working hours or availability windows for remote employees to help synchronise operations and ensure seamless collaboration. This clarity reinforces a sense of structure and maintains consistency across the team

Balance flexibility and accountability

  • Grant employees the autonomy to manage their schedules and work in a manner that suits their productivity rhythm; this develops a sense of ownership and motivation
  • Empower remote workers to tailor their own work environment to optimise productivity
  • Be mindful that this flexibility should not translate into a lack of accountability
  • Emphasise deliverables and results to ensure that employees remain focused on achieving goals rather than just logging hours.
  • Shift the focus to outcomes to drive a results-oriented culture

HR policies on training, recruitment and onboarding

The recruitment process acts as a gateway to a company’s talent pool. Strengthening recruitment strategies, enhancing onboarding processes and continuous training opportunities cultivate a workforce primed for growth and success.

Reimagining recruitment strategies involves a deeper understanding of market dynamics.

How can you improve your training, recruitment and onboarding policies?

Revamp recruitment strategies

Reimagining recruitment strategies involves a deeper understanding of market dynamics and the evolving needs of prospective employees. 

  • Implement targeted approaches, including passive candidate sourcing, talent mapping and industry-specific networking events to access diverse talent pools
  • Explore new platforms, professional networks and partnerships with educational institutions or industry associations to broaden the reach of recruitment efforts
  • Review and rework job descriptions to reflect an inclusive, appealing and accurate representation of roles.
  • Highlight the company’s commitment to diversity, career growth, and a supportive work culture

Optimise onboarding practices

An effective onboarding process sets the tone for an employee’s journey within the company. 

  • Design detailed orientation programmes encompassing company history, values, departmental overviews, and role-specific training to familiarise new hires thoroughly
  • Establish mentorship programmes pairing new employees with experienced staff to facilitate knowledge transfer, provide guidance and accelerate their integration
  • Incorporate interactive sessions and workshops allowing new hires to engage with various departments, understand workflows and immerse themselves in the company’s culture and expectations
  • Gather feedback from new hires to continually improve the onboarding process
  • Regularly update onboarding materials and sessions based on this feedback to ensure relevance and effectiveness

Invest in continuous training

It’s important to prioritise continuous learning through personalised development plans, skill enhancement programmes and access to learning resources. 

  • Offer individualised development plans tailored to employees’ career aspirations, strengths and areas needing improvement.
  • Ensure these plans align  with organisational goals and encourage regular reviews to adapt to changing needs
  • Provide access to skill-specific workshops, online courses, certifications and seminars relevant to employees’ roles and industry advancements
  • Create a centralised platform or library offering diverse learning resources, including articles, webinars and industry-specific materials, enhancing accessibility for all employees

HR policies on employee wellbeing

Transparent communication channels and policies prioritising employee welfare are indispensable in nurturing a thriving workplace culture.

Employee health and wellness extends beyond physical health. It also encompasses mental health, work-life balance, financial health and stress management. So how can you ensure all of these components feed into your HR strategies?

Hold leadership accountable for supporting employee wellbeing.

Prioritise an holistic approach to employee wellbeing

It’s important to develop policies that provide resources, support networks and initiatives promoting holistic wellbeing.

  • Implement policies that de-stigmatise mental health conversations and provide access to resources such as counselling services, mental health days, or employee assistance programmes
  • Regularly assess the effectiveness of wellbeing initiatives through employee feedback, surveys and wellbeing-related metrics
  • Use the above data to refine and enhance existing policies
  • Hold leadership accountable for supporting employee wellbeing by integrating it into performance evaluations and leadership training programmes
  • Implement policies that support career development, mentorship programmes, skill enhancement, and growth opportunities to empower employees in their professional journey
  • Establish recognition programmes acknowledging contributions to promoting a positive work environment, employee wellbeing and support networks

HR policies that support diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

Amidst a diverse workforce, embedding diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) principles within HR policies is imperative.

Further than just compliance, it’s about creating a workplace culture that celebrates difference and where everyone feels valued. How can you go about achieving this?

A significant challenge lies in bridging the gap between policy implementation and genuine cultural assimilation.

Expand DEI initiatives

Incorporating inclusive language and practices into policies is foundational. However, this goes beyond semantics; it’s about cultivating a mindset that embraces diversity. 

Often a significant challenge lies in bridging the gap between policy implementation and genuine cultural assimilation. It requires a shift in mindset – an organic acceptance of diversity that permeates every level of the organisation.

This shift, nurtured by effective training and leadership models, facilitates the integration of DEI principles into everyday practices.

  • Develop and enforce policies mandating the use of inclusive language in all official communications, including job postings, company documents and internal communications
  • Establish a policy requiring all employees, including leadership, to undergo regular and comprehensive diversity training sessions. Include modules on biases, cultural awareness, and creating an inclusive work environment
  • Implement a policy mandating leadership training programmes focused explicitly on promoting and implementing DEI initiatives within their respective teams and departments
  • Revise performance evaluation criteria to incorporate an assessment of how well employees and managers contribute to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

As companies venture forth into the new year, embracing these foundational pillars signifies strategic manoeuvring and dedication to enduring growth, adaptability, and a resolute focus on fostering an environment centred around employee empowerment and success.

Key takeaways on updating your HR policies 

Remote work and flexibility: Craft clear policies, balancing autonomy with accountability. It’s about outcomes, not just hours logged, for a results-driven culture.

Training and recruitment: Innovate in recruitment strategies, enhance onboarding, and prioritise continuous learning for a skilled and adaptable workforce.

Employee wellbeing: Transparency and employee welfare policies are vital; prioritising holistic wellbeing, including mental health support, is key.

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB): Embrace a culture that values differences; it’s not just about policies but about a mindset shift. Measure success beyond numbers; focus on inclusivity and belonging.

Embracing change is about a commitment to growth and empowerment. Let’s create workplaces where diversity thrives, flexibility breeds productivity, learning never ceases, and every voice feels valued.

Interested in this topic? Read Three ways to make your WFA policy work for everyone

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Kelly Tucker

Founder

Read more from Kelly Tucker
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