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Applying HR policies comes in different shapes and sizes



HR policies are the rules by which employer and employees play. They are the frame within which managers can make decisions about their team. But policies are not always applied strictly.


So what can you do when the policy is not followed consistently? In other words what can you do to resolve your policy compliance challenges?  


There are a few possible scenario that could explain why there is a lack of compliance:

1)     The cultural context of the local market conflicts with the organisation’s (which typically means with the cultural background of the policy)

Some countries feel it is perfectly appropriate to have rules but also have exceptions to the rule, based on who the person is or their personal circumstances. Often in these countries the exceptions are not explicitly listed. This would be unacceptable in other countries where rules are rules and they should be followed by everyone no matter what. This difference of perspective is known as the universalist and particularist value of a culture.

2)     The exceptions requested reflect a need for business efficiency

Policies are rarely reviewed. They can become out dated for a business which has evolved over time.

3)     The policy has not been communicated or accepted amongst employees

When the consultation and communication phase of a policy change is cut short or not meaningful, employees often reject the policy or show resistance to it which then creates a compliance issue for the organisation.


Here are some simple solutions to consider depending on the scenario you fall into.

Why is the policy application inconsistent?

Solution

The cultural context of the local market conflicts with the organisation’s

First, be clear on who is accountable for the decision to make an exception or not. Second, let that accountable person decide! They will need to consider the risks of making an exception (particularly the legal risk), what the local cultural norm is and the outcome they want for the individual and the organisation.

The exceptions requested reflect a need for business efficiency

 

Review your policies with input from the business. They should be as flexible as possible whilst maintaining a clear enough frame to provide employment structure and legal compliance.

The policy has not been communicated or accepted amongst employees

 

Go back to your policy, make sure it is fit for purpose. If it isn’t then go back to the earlier point. If it is then do a thorough communication campaign with participation from the business.

The solution for you may be a combination of several or all these.

Final reminder, when looking at whether exceptions to policies are acceptable, check your own cultural bias and where your preference lies to ensure you make a considered and fair decision.

 


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