Meaning Of Human Resource Policy

Definition of HR policy

HR policies can be defined as broad stated statements that guide an organization when making decisions in managing their people. They define the philosophies and values of the organization on how people should be treated, and from these are derived the principles upon which managers are expected to act when dealing with HR matters. HR policies therefore serve as reference points when employment practices are being developed, and when decisions are being made about people. They help to define ‘the way things are done around the organization’.

HR policies should be distinguished from procedures. A policy provides generalized guidance on the approach adopted by the organization, and therefore its employees, concerning various aspects of employment. A procedure spells out precisely what action should be taken in line with the policy.

Characteristics of a good HR policy

A good HR policy should be;

  1. a) Based on objectives: they should assist in attainment of the organizational objectives.
  2. b) Clear; should not give room for misinterpretation
  3. c) Expressed in written form to assist in compliance, training and future reference.
  4. d) Based on careful consideration of the resources available and environment of the organization
  5. e) Revised regularly but stable
  6. f) Communicated to concerned persons so that they understand and implement the policy. This can be done by conducting regular meetings to give information on the policies, immediate giving oral instructions, use of booklets and bulletins, conferences and seminars etc.
  7. g) It must conform to the norms of behavior and ethical standards
  8. h) Should be uniformly applied to all members in an organization to avoid discrimination.


Types of policies

a) Organizational and functional policies

Organizational policies are overall policies for an organization which are formulated by the top management. Functional policies are made for specific functions or departments.

b) Originated or appealed or imposed policies

Originated policies are formulated by top management on their own initiative to guide the actions of the subordinates and then put in writing in form of a policy manual. Appealed policies are formulated by the management on appeal/ request by their employee while imposed policies are formulated because factors imposed on the organization by external forces.

c) General and specific policies

General policies are stated in broad terms and they give freedom to departments to make decisions based on those broad terms. Specific policies are defined and limit freedom of action.

d) Written and implied policy

Written policies are those that are documented while implied policies are got from the behavior and conduct of the members of the organization especially those in the top management.

Sources of HR policies

There are many sources from which an organization may get policies from. These sources include;

  • Past practices of the organization
  • Competitors
  • Knowledge and experiences from day to day personnel problems
  • Employees suggestions and complaints
  • State/ government requirements
  • Economic and social changes in a country
  • Extent of influence of trade unions
  • Objectives of the organization
  • Ethical standards / social responsibility

Human resource principles applied in formulating HR policies

A principle is a statement of basic fact that has been tested through experiment or experience. When preparing policies, The HR principles below are applied;

  1. The incentive principle: states that to increase productivity of the workers, incentives should be given whether in monetary or non-monetary terms.
  2. Workers should be given a chance to participate or be involved in decision making.
  3. Principle of communication; Employee must be given appropriate information regarding activities, objectives, immediate and future plans of the organization.
  4. Principle of compensation; states that workers should be paid a reasonable, equitable and fair amount of wages depending on nature of work, level of education, management policy, government regulations.
  5. Principle of team work (Espirit de corps); states that efforts should be made to develop team work and cooperation among workers
  6. Principle of right conditions of work; Workers should be provided with right tools and equipment to make the work easier, increase production as well as productivity.
  7. Principle of self-development; means giving employees an opportunity to improve themselves through career guidance and training programmes.
  8. Principle of dignity of labour; All jobs should be treated with dignity because they contribute to achievement of organizational objectives.
  9. Principle of security; All jobs must have a degree of security and stability.

Importance of Human Resource Policies

HR policies are important in an organization because;

  • HR or employment policies help to ensure that when dealing with matters concerning people, an approach in line with corporate values is adopted throughout the organization.
  • They serve as the basis for enacting values i.e. converting espoused values into values in use.
  • They provide frameworks within which consistent decisions are made, and promote equity in the way in which people are treated.
  • Because they provide guidance on what managers should do in particular circumstances they facilitate empowerment, devolution and delegation.
  • They assist in long term survival of an organization
  • Helps demonstrate both internally and externally that the organization meets requirements for diversity; ethics and commitment as well as compliance with legal frame work of the country and cooperate governance.
  • They also help to shape organizational culture.
(Visited 62 times, 1 visits today)
Share this:

Written by