Updating your human resources policies: Four tips to get through this boring task

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Updating your HR policies probably isn’t on the top of your to-do list. Although this dreaded task is often put off until the last moment, that doesn’t diminish its importance.

Whether the change is for legal reasons, or because a change in operations has made it necessary to update the policies, there are some sure-fire ways to efficiently get your HR policies up to date.

1)      Set a schedule to review policies.

The key to getting through an HR policy update is to review your policies on a regular schedule. “So many HR professionals put it off,” says Nancy Nelson, SPHR-CA, GPHR, principal consultant and owner of HRProse LLC, a firm that specialises in writing effective HR policies. “A month becomes two months, and then a year, and then it becomes tough to catch up.” Nelson suggests using at least an annual update schedule to keep up with changes in legislation.

2)      Tackle policy changes in phases.

If your organisation has several HR policies, dividing it up over the course of the year can help make sure it gets accomplished. If you’re way behind and don’t know where to begin, Nelson suggests starting with red-flag areas. “Determine what the major changes are that you know you need to make,” she says. “For example, social media policies probably need to be revamped if they are more than a year old.” The time you invest now will really pay off, even if it may feel reactive.

3)      Go online with employee handbooks.

Constantly updating physical employee handbooks can become problematic, especially if you have a sizeable workforce. Nelson says to turn to online methods for distributing updates. “More companies are going electronic,” she says. “Employees can access information that is up to date and accurate, regardless of location, and often from their mobile devices.” If a segment of your workforce doesn’t have access to computers, Nelson cautions that you will have to figure out alternative ways to get the information to them. “Technology has made it both easier and more complex,” she says.

4)      Empower your managers with information.

The whole point of an updated policy is to ensure that your organisation is ready to handle new challenges. You can’t do that without informing the workforce and managerial staff about changes. “Managers don’t have half a day to spend in a meeting going over HR updates,” Nelson says. “Ask yourself: What can we do in a lunch and learn? Can we do something monthly?” Webinars, internal memos or blog posts, and pamphlets can also help communicate the most critical changes.

Although updating HR policies can be a challenge, these tips can help you get there with greater ease.




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The HireRight Blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any statutes or laws cited in this article should be read in their entirety. If you or your customers have questions concerning compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations, we suggest that you address these directly with your legal department or outside counsel.

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