Human resources policies are a fundamental part of every business. These policies are designed to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, reduce the risk of lawsuits, and create a productive work environment. Human resources is a term used to describe a range of services standard across every business. These functions typically include recruitment, payroll, benefits management, staff orientation, training, and development programs.
The easiest way to learn about the human resources policies of your current employer is to request a copy. Large firms typically provide a copy of their policies together with the letter of offer, benefits enrollment form, and request for banking information. Smaller companies may not be as organized, but usually provide the policy booklet within the first three to six weeks of employment.
The standard information included in a human resources policies booklet are usually organized around the organizational structure, payroll information, employee benefits, and code of conduct. The organizational structure section provides a graphical image of the company's hierarchy or list of company executives and managers. Payroll and benefits includes the hours of work, payroll schedule, official holidays, health care plans, and overtime and holiday payroll policies. The code of conduct is often copied verbatim from the Fair Labor Standards Act and includes wording surrounding workplace harassment, bullying, and other unacceptable behavior. The consequences are usually listed to provide a deterrent.
People who work in human resources often find that they are required to write or edit the existing human resources policies as part of their job. This may be necessary to incorporate new legal requirements or to reflect the changing work environment. A daunting task at the best of times, some firms use this process as an opportunity to learn more about industry standards and what other companies have in their human resource policies.
To access the policies of other businesses or organizations in your industry, contact your counterpart in the human resources department of a comparable firm. Most human resources professionals are happy to share this information, after removing anything that is specific to their organization. For example, any bonus or merit-based payment programs may be removed, but the general policies surrounding acceptable behavior and hours of work are not considered confidential.
Courses in human resources compensation and documentation often have a section dedicated to the creation of human resources policies. The wording and phrasing is very important in this type of document, as it is often used to defend business practices in cases where an employee has filed a lawsuit against the company. Take the time to have the policies reviewed by a human resources lawyer to ensure there are no glaring issues.