Human resources (HR) plays a crucial role in any organization, whether big or small. Not all startups have the time and resources to establish a full-fledged HR department, however. But establishing HR can go a long way in helping your small business grow. But why’s that?
HR plays a crucial role in helping you define and revise company policies: you can craft policies that communicate your goals, values, culture, and work relationships. Moreover, it’ll provide a framework to guide your recruitment, training, evaluation, and reward initiatives. Let’s take a closer look.
Why Establish HR Policies?
Developing HR policies help empower your workforce — it ensures that every team member receives the proper benefits and is treated and rewarded fairly. Some areas covered by an HR policy include:
- Paid time off
- Holiday or overtime work
- Payroll deductions
- Performance evaluations
- Appraisals and promotions
- Termination policies
Moreover, implementing a solid HR policy can create a purpose-driven team that boosts productivity and translates to a higher return on investment (ROI) in the long run.
Take note that your HR policies should be properly documented. Otherwise, the grounds enumerated in the Labor Code can be used to justify disciplinary action.
What Should Your HR Policy Cover?
Below we’ve listed some of the relevant areas your HR policy should cover.
Recruitment & Onboarding
As your small business competes for the best and brightest workers, you’ll need a solid recruitment and onboarding policy in place. Start by ironing out your interview and selection process, as well as establishing a proper onboarding program.
Hire the Right Talent
No company is complete without employees. Here are some areas to focus on as you establish your recruitment policy.
Your hiring philosophy should reflect your purpose, values, and ethics. Keep it clear and compelling, so you attract the right people: ensure equal opportunity and diversity, adopt merit-based practices, and lead by example.
Customize your talent pipeline to fit the skills of different candidates. For example, ask yourself: What is your budget for a role? Who’s responsible for writing job descriptions, negotiating job offers, and onboarding new hires?
Hiring Standards & Compliance
Hiring standards culminate in transparency and compliance so assess whether your hiring process subscribes to labor laws and regulations. Some areas include the Data Privacy Act, Anti-Age Discrimination Law, employment of non-Filipino citizens, and bona fide occupational qualifications for recruitment.
Conduct an Onboarding Process
Your onboarding process plays an essential role in your HR policies. Start by preparing the necessary paperwork for employee registration, such as:
- PSA Birth certificate
- SSS Form E-1 (for first-time applicants) or E-4 (for those transferring from a different company)
- NBI clearance
- PAG-IBIG/HDMF and PhilHealth membership info
- Tax forms
- Diploma or transcript of records
- Certificate of Employment
Clearly communicate how you’ll conduct onboarding. Set a schedule and pre-board new employees before their first day to set expectations. For example, you can send new hires a welcome letter, dress code policy, benefits info, and your company handbook.
On their first day, make sure your new employee’s schedule is packed with fun activities where they get to meet new people. Conduct a welcome lunch (if you work under a hybrid setup) and assign a buddy they can consult about expectations, company culture, and wellness activities.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of your employees is of paramount importance. Your HR policy should promote safety and health.
Making occupational safety a core pillar of your HR policy can eliminate risks, protect workers, and improve workplace safety. It will start by visibly demonstrating and communicating your commitment to everyone’s safety.
In the Philippines, you’ll need to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act or Republic Act No. 11058. Under this law, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Implement safe work processes
- Communicate work-related hazards
- Conduct safety & health training
- Provide employees with protective equipment
Establish a mental health policy based on the Philippine Mental Health Act, which is designed to end the stigma and provide access to mental health care. Your company’s mental health program should be a part of your occupational health and safety (OSH) policy.
Employee Code of Conduct
An employee code of conduct defines acceptable behavior and social norms that your team members should follow. Here are some of the different areas it covers:
- Company core values & mission statement
- Dress code guidelines
- Unethical misconduct
- Discrimination & harassment
- Confidentiality procedures
- Employee violations & infractions
- Compliance programs
Your code of conduct should discuss disciplinary actions for potential employee violations, including verbal or written warnings, suspensions, probations, and dismissals. For legal disputes, make sure to observe due process and treat affected employees fairly.
Punctual and regular attendance is a must: your team members should report to work as scheduled and complete their work schedule. Hold every employee accountable for timely and regular attendance to ensure productivity and maintain positive morale.
Egregious behavior such as late attendance, early departure, and absenteeism are disruptive. Supervisors are responsible for monitoring employee attendance regularly and addressing related issues in a consistent and timely manner. Make sure your HR policy reflects this.
Below, we’ve listed some procedures your attendance and punctuality guidelines should include.
- Time clocks or biometrics systems
- Department notifications
- Corrective action
Compensation & Benefits
The most challenging part after the post-hire period is maintaining employee retention. Consider offering competitive remuneration packages to reduce employee turnover. Some areas of your compensation and benefits program that you can create policies for include:
Timekeeping & Payments
Timekeeping and payment guidelines allow employees to accurately record time spent working. Moreover, it informs team members when and how to receive their salary.
Policies regarding paid time off should cover procedures about holidays and other leave benefits (vacation and sick leaves). Remember to include mandatory leaves as stated in the Labor Code of the Philippines.
Meal & Break Times
Establish a clear policy on when team members can take meal and break times and for how long. Team leaders will need to monitor break times and subject those who refuse to return on time to disciplinary action (and pay deductions, when necessary).
HR Policies: When to Revisit
A robust HR policy isn’t static — it should be flexible and dynamic to adapt to your changing needs. As a result, you’ll need to review your HR policies regularly to see if they’re still in line with your company mission and goals, economic conditions, and current workplace trends.
An ideal timeline would be to conduct annual revisits of your HR policy. If you have several HR policies in place, you may tackle the policy change phase-by-phase. Here are some tips to follow to ensure a smooth revision procedure:
- Review your policies with company leaders, affected departments, and legal counsel.
- Consult collective bargaining agreements if you’re restricting employee autonomy when enacting policy changes.
- Determine if any labor laws could affect your proposed policy amendments.
- Obtain buy-in from employees and relevant stakeholders (a process called co-determination explained here).
A good practice is to give advance notice to your employees before implementing any revisions. After all, any changes could affect job expectations, work-life balance, and employee morale.
Successfully Implement HR Policies for Your Startup
Some startup companies may not be in the right position to create a full-fledged HR department. But with a set of robust HR policies, you can maintain an empowered, productive workforce and ensure long-term success. Just make sure to conduct annual revisits to your HR policy to remain timely and relevant.
Streamline your HR processes with the holistic Sprout Ecosystem. Visit our product page today for more details about our comprehensive toolset. To stay abreast of the latest developments in the HR industry, check out our blog page.