Why it’s Time to Update your Employment Policies

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by Patrick Gallen, Partner, People & Change Consulting at Grant Thornton Ireland

If employee engagement and retaining people is a priority for your business, embarking on a review of your employee policies and handbook is a great place to start – to enhance the overall employee experience.

A review and update will allow you to identify which employee policies you may be missing in order to be a forward-looking employer, and equally will help you identify which of your policies are currently out of date or require enhancements to make them relevant to your people. As a result, you will have a more engaging and contemporary suite of policies to share with new joiners and existing employees alike. It is an important part of your overall employee value proposition to have relevant and up to date employment policies.

Employee handbooks contain employee policies based on essential legal topics which, when not communicated correctly, can create problems for your organisation. However, handbooks also represent the way you talk to your people; ‘your tone of voice’, your relationship with them, and the experience they will have within the organisation.

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New team members will usually read the handbook in full, however, employees from across the organisation will interact with your policy documents at various times throughout their career, not just at the beginning. Designing a suite of employee policies which are cohesive, engaging, and comprehensive goes a long way towards showing your people you are invested in them and their professional lives.

Most organisations have employee policies, but often they are a collection of documents gathered together when they first started to employ people, and not something reflective of the current business or culture. Not only are these policies often out of date and not reflecting current legislative or compliance standards, but they can be disorganised and lacking connection with your overall brand as an employer and organisation.

Spending time on implementing and updating a suite of policies can empower employees to be the best they can be, whilst adhering to guidelines and procedures set out within your organisation. If your policy documents integrate with your organisational vision and values, employees are much more likely to understand how each of your procedures serve an overall objective for your business, and as a result, they will work harder to fulfil the standards you and your customers expect.

About the author

Patrick is the Partner leading Grant Thornton’s People and Change Consulting practice in Ireland. He has over 30 years of experience in People and Change, working right across Ireland, the UK and on a global basis. He specialises in delivering behavioural change through capability building, which can range from working on complex transformation projects right through to coaching senior Board members on a one-to-one basis. Patrick has deep cross-sectoral experience and his clients include large global banking and financial institutions, utility companies  and well-known global brands in the food and drinks sector. His clients in the public and semi-state sector include Government Departments in the UK and Ireland, including Treasury and Finance Departments, Transport, Health and Utilities.