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How to write really clear and engaging HR policies?

How to write really clear and engaging HR policies?

by Tania De Bock |

It may not be the most exciting literature you have ever laid eyes on, but clear HR policies are really worth investing your time in! Comprehensive HR policies are crucial to ensure clarity and consistency throughout your company in terms of HR practices. They help to increase employees' confidence in the HR function and therefore in their company. So read our policy-drafting tips, put your writing hat on and make the most inspiring and clear HR policies ever!

Our 6-steps writing plan:

1. Involve your key stakeholders as from the beginning

In order to increase acceptance and commitment,we strongly suggest co-creating your policies together with your key stakeholders. Identify who they are and what kind of input you need from them, eg:

  • Sr Manager(s): are company culture and values sufficiently reflected in the policies, they validate the existing rules and can make suggestions for new rules
  • Legal department: to verify compliance with applicable legislation
    Communication department: to check alignment with company culture, and to figure out an effective and efficient way to communicate about the policies
  • Employee representatives: what kind of information are they looking for, what kind of format works for them, discuss with them how the policy can help to make HR practices more clear, understandable and approachable to the employee
  • Focus group with employees from all over the company: what are their typical questions regarding the HR practices in the company, what is not clear to them, which HR rules can be interpreted in different ways, ...

Work with a draft, to clearly show that their feedback really matters and keep them in the loop during the whole drafting process.

2. Start with Why:

Remember WHY you are writing this particular policy: what's in it for the company, what are the needs of the employee, what are the needs of HR and make sure this is made perfectly clear as from the beginning of the policy.

3. Identify your topics and prioritize:

For some typical HR policies that can be relevant for your company, click here. For our free HR Policies, check out the Free Products section in our HRM Toolshop.

Since there are plenty of HR topics you can write a policy about, it might be useful to determine your priorities. The following questions can help you to decide which policies need to get your attention first:

  • What kind of topics invoke the most questions from the business?
  • Where do you think to have (potential) compliance issues?
  • Which HR rules and practices are the least known in the company?
  • The unions have questions typically about which HR practices and programs?

4. Choose a clear title:

It may speak for itself, but a clear title is important for the employee to understand very quickly what the policy is about. Make sure you use the same terminology in the policy, as well as in your other HR documents, daily HR practice, ...

5. Use a template:

A solid structure for an HR Policy could be:

  1. Some general Policy Information: Who is the Policy Owner, Purpose & Scope of the Policy, Field of Application, Key Principles (eg what is the aim of the Policy), Status & Review
  2. Policy Details
  3. Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Related Documents

For some examples, take a look at our free policies.

6. Be clear and concise:

A policy is not the most exiting document to read, so ask yourself the following questions when writing and reviewing your policy:

  • Can what you have written be interpreted in only one way?
  • Does the employee find to-the-point answers to their frequently asked questions (see step 1)?
  • Is all the information in the text really necessary and relevant?
  • Is it written in an easy-to-read style?

No doubt that you will write great policies if you apply these tips! And don't worry, if you really don't have the time to start from scratch, go to the HRM Toolshop for our extensive and clear HR policies. For the free downloads: see our Free Products.

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