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The problem with people policies…

Published On: July 11th, 2023By

Seldom read and frequently misunderstood, how do you ensure your people policies work for you, and not against you?

We think it’s all about the ‘3Cs’ – compliance, commerciality and contemporary tone. The ‘3Cs’ take a people policy from zero to hero. In this series, we’ll cover each ‘C’ in turn. Below we’ve kicked off with ‘compliance’ and what that means for your people policies.

Short and sweet – you want your employment contracts to be short and sweet, so use the law to help you leave out of your employment contracts anything which can rightfully be placed in your policies. Think data protection, confidential information and managing sickness absence, to name a few.

Contractual – you’ll want to ensure that some policies (such as confidential information) are contractual – be sure to call it out in the policy to save everyone guessing (and arguing if there’s a breach). If an employee doesn’t follow a contractual policy, they’ll be in breach, with the possible penalty being far more severe than otherwise (including dismissal in some circumstances). Contractual policies help to flag the importance of the policy and any breach of it.

Flexibility – think carefully about which policies should be non-contractual. Non-contractual policies give you greater flexibility if a situation arises where you don’t want to have to follow every detail – your sickness absence procedure or disciplinary policy are prime examples of where flexibility is important.

Don’t forget! – ensure that your disciplinary policy and performance policy are distinct and separate – mixing the two can mean you’ll have an unfair dismissal on your hands (we see this more often than you’d think!).

If it’s been a while since you last looked at your handbook or people policies, get in touch to chat about how we can help with a review or update!

This update is accurate on the date it was published, but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.