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What Are the Different Types of HR Policies?

HR policies serve as guides that assist managers in making quick decisions quickly. They’re usually tailored towards day-to-day challenges in business and how best to address them.

Once a policy has been formed and announced, it provides a sound foundation for taking decisions across all areas of management. Furthermore, its adoption ensures uniformity and rationale when making decisions by managers.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts serve to outline the terms of an employer-employee relationship and set clear parameters on what work will entail and for how long the working relationship should continue. An employment contract usually outlines employee expectations, pay rates (including casual, part-time and permanent rates) as well as any leave policies in place – this can be particularly valuable for small business since a contract of employment will help ensure any pay disputes are handled consistently and within SA minimum wage laws.

Contracts should also specify what constitutes “for cause” termination and what does not. For instance, employees terminated due to bullying or workplace misconduct may only receive their salary up to the date of termination – unlike termination “without cause,” which could include factors like downsizing or an employee failing to follow instructions.

HR policies serve to communicate an organization’s expectations to their staff, usually created by a team within the HR department with management support. Well-written policies can reduce confusion and enhance employee performance and satisfaction.

Confidentiality Policy

Human Resources professionals possess various legal and sensitive data they are required to keep secure. This may include medical or personal data, company secrets, management issues, employee performance records or hiring documents which should only be shared with those who need access for legitimate reasons.

An HR manager who wishes to create a confidentiality policy must first consult existing documents, conduct industry and community surveys and interview people within their organization in order to create one that effectively meets organizational goals while being compliant with state and federal employment regulations.

Another key element when developing an HR policy is taking into account the culture of your organisation. Your policy should reflect the attitudes and philosophies of top management as well as employee customs and values, labour legislation requirements and any other relevant factors. Your HR department should also take into account potential changes due to new technology or emerging workplace trends.

Sometimes it may be necessary to breach confidentiality if an employee’s personal life poses an imminent and severe threat to themselves or others, while HR must carefully consider this decision as it could impede performance at work and affect employees negatively.

Performance Management

Setting HR policies that establish performance standards and expectations while offering feedback can greatly enhance employee satisfaction and morale. Outlining clearly how an employee should perform can assist managers in quickly recognizing any issues before they become more serious, while these policies can also ensure employees are on track to meet strategic objectives set for the company.

HR can go beyond setting employee performance expectations to also create policies to protect employee safety and provide guidelines for acceptable workplace behaviors such as dress codes, disciplinary measures and conflict resolution procedures. In general these types of policies must comply with any applicable employment laws.

Some HR policies are directly tied to an employment contract or mandated by employment legislation, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or Americans with Disabilities Act in the US and Employment Standards Act of BC in Canada. Such policies can positively impact both full-time employees as well as organizations employing them.

HR policies can have enormous advantages for an organization, but it’s crucial that policies don’t become bureaucratic and rigid, fail to promote employee trust or are outdated in today’s people-focused workplace. For instance, modern businesses that rely heavily on digital tools should establish policies around acceptable use. Not only will this protect the business but it can also motivate and engage teams more effectively.


HR needs to ensure they follow strict protocols when terminating employees, particularly if there is sensitive data or trade secrets involved. Their termination policy should clearly outline both voluntary and involuntary termination options so all parties involved remain on the same page.

No matter the circumstances surrounding an employee termination, it’s vital that employees receive equal treatment and respect throughout. This is particularly true when involuntary termination occurs through layoffs, RIFs or plant closings. HR staff should be trained to communicate with departing employees in a respectful yet compassionate manner even though discussing departure can be emotionally trying for all involved.

Termination policies can often be found in an employee handbook; however, they can also be written and kept separate from an employment contract or other documents. For instance, an employment contract might specify how much vacation time an employee is entitled to; however, having a separate vacation policy provides clarity as it details how the company tracks and approves leave requests, etc. Additionally, having this separate document also makes updating these policies simpler over time and helps stay up-to-date with HR leaders and management experts globally.

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