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The Difference Between HR Policies and Practices

Human resources policies play a vital role in keeping organizations legal compliant and productive, providing employee relations support, as well as keeping up with modern workplace trends.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is a cornerstone of success for any organization. By designing policies to foster this endeavor, your organization can meet its legal obligations while increasing employee morale.


HR policies are written expressions of an organization’s regulations and guidelines regarding mission or operational matters. Each policy comes complete with an accompanying procedure which serves as its “how to” section; all together they form a manual that the management team can abide by when administering human resources day-to-day.

First step of creating an HR policy: identify its purpose. This may be triggered by company events like Covid 19, when many employers allowed employees to work from home during this flu outbreak, or from employee feedback such as complaints about how an organization treats one or more of its people.

Once the need for a policy has been identified, its research and documentation must begin immediately. This may involve reviewing similar policies at other companies as well as reviewing historical practices within your own organization. It’s also essential to remain abreast of global employment practices to ensure your new policy complies with current laws and best practices.

Once a policy has been developed, it must be communicated to both management team members and employees through training sessions, presentations or printed handbooks. HR leaders should communicate openly and honestly with team members – this fosters trust which is essential for employee retention and engagement. Furthermore, sharing information regarding successes and failures within the company will foster buy-in from employees.


HR policies and procedures are necessary for creating a compliant work environment and setting employee expectations and behaviors. Formulating HR policies takes research on employment law as well as company culture. Furthermore, policies must be presented in an easily understandable format that is consistent across departments.

Most HR policies should be included in an employee handbook or company intranet for easy access by all employees and understanding. Furthermore, this allows a company to easily make changes or modifications as needed. It may be wise to maintain separate documentation for specific aspects of HR policies like details about an employment contract or at-will employment policy for ease of reference and change.

An effective HR department can be the key to helping a company meet its business strategy and increase productivity, reduce costs and boost profit margins by decreasing employee turnover rates, enhance company reputation in the market and attract qualified job candidates, as well as providing training and support to new managers regarding company policies and practices, thus freeing up human resources professionals to focus on other areas, leading to higher morale and creating an improved corporate culture.


Implementation of HR policies and procedures is an essential element of an organization’s HR management system. HR policies serve to inform managers and employees on how best to deal with various workplace issues, guaranteeing fair treatment of staff across all divisions of employment. In addition, having in place HR policies also ensures compliance with federal and state employment laws.

When crafting new HR policies, it is crucial that consultation is undertaken with management in order to gain an understanding of their objectives and culture. Furthermore, conducting legal reviews on existing policies dealing with employee disciplinary or termination issues or termination will allow any concerns that arise to be identified quickly as well as inform future policy updates.

Formulating effective HR policies takes both creativity and legal knowledge. An essential first step should be assessing whether any particular policy is needed by researching policy models in companies similar to your own as well as reviewing historical practices within your own firm. Furthermore, staying current with global employment policy trends is also vitally important.

Once a policy has been written and communicated to employees in an understandable way, it must be distributed either in written format or made available online document repository. Employees should have ample opportunity to ask any pertinent questions and address any potential concerns that may arise.


For HR policies to remain effective and align with current laws, best practices, and industry standards, they should be regularly evaluated and revised. This may involve reviewing existing policies as well as monitoring workplace trends and gathering employee feedback – the goal being an established set of guidelines that aligns with an organization’s mission and values.

Finding the need for new policies usually stems from an event or circumstance affecting a company, such as during the pandemic where businesses were forced to rework their policies to allow employees to work remotely. An issue might also require revision of an employee handbook or revisions to an anti-discrimination policy.

Once policymakers have developed their draft policy, it must be communicated throughout the organization. This usually happens via company meetings or training sessions; alternatively, the company could send out memos or emails directly.

HR policies are an integral component of any successful business and play an essential role in creating an enjoyable work environment, adhering to legal requirements, and adapting to modern workforce trends. They play a crucial role in building strong teams by setting expectations fairly and consistently and providing career advancement opportunities. In addition, they help reduce employee turnover by setting clear procedures for handling issues quickly while offering assistance for work-life balance issues.

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