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Position descriptions, policies and procedures – do they still matter?

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HC Online | 17 Feb 2016, 07:00 AM Agree 0
HR often gets bogged down with time-consuming paperwork and processes - but is this rigorous workload still necessary and productive?
  • Bernie ALTHOFER EGL I ASSESSMENTS PTY LTD | 14 Mar 2016, 12:27 PM Agree 0
    The headline indicated "Nobody Told Me" and many people may have assumed that this only applied to the CEO or to HR. Whilst some organisations have changed the way position/job descriptions etc are structured, it does appear that there is an increased need to not only have these in place, but to ensure their currency.

    As an increased number of situations evolve that result in litigation, it also appears that an increased number of individuals argue that their position description and related organisational policies and procedures were non-existent, not current or not explained to them. It some cases, organisations place an expectation on individuals to seek out the relevant policies and procedures. In my experience, particularly when it comes to matters of bullying, some individuals are not able to access a current position/job description, produce outdated policies and procedures, and find themselves on the backfoot because of this. In other cases, individuals may try and justify their behaviour, conduct, actions or decision making based on outdated policies and procedures.

    Whilst there may be an expectation or belief that HR needs to do more, in my experience their workload increases when line managers or individuals do not comply with organisational policies and procedures, or act on outdated policies etc. When it comes to performance management and appraisals, some individuals do not reference their job/position description, and in some cases, the process become a 'tick and flick approach'. When individuals are required to change behaviour, the level of risk exposure increases accordingly to the variances from the policy and procedure.

    Rightly, the article invokes the need for training. All too often I have encountered individuals who have attended an induction or orientation process, only to leave with a 'brush stroke' coverage that they soon forget due to the immediacy of work. In some cases, I have encountered situations where new employees have been provided with education and induction packages that are considerably out of date e.g. contact persons referenced have left the work location, or procedures have changed significantly.

    As litigation increases and a broader range of internal organisational policies and procedures are accessed, there is an increased onus on organisations and their employees and workers at all levels to maintain currency of knowledge. In addition, policies and procedures have to be current, and there needs to be a system or process in place to ensure currency of procedure.

    It does appear that whilst the workload might appear to be unnecessary or time consuming, it does appear that when it comes to litigation, well documented position/job description, policies and procedures, and ongoing training might mitigate any losses.
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