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Revise or develop your in-house Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual

Revise or develop your in-house Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual

Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual

The convention of organisational Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manuals received new life with promulgation of the Employment Equity Act, which ushered in the discipline of employment systems reviews. Traditionally Human Resource Manuals merely sought to set out in typical fashion Company employment practices with particular emphasis on regulatory requirements and statutory compliance.

The concept of an employment systems review in the context of the Employment Equity Act is a comprehensive examination of an organisation’s policies and practices to identify and permit removal of systemic and attitudinal barriers to employment opportunities for persons in the designated groups. A comprehensive and thorough employment systems review goes beyond a desk audit of a human resources manual. It not only helps in identifying systemic barriers to the designated groups but also enables an organisation to institute or formalize non-discriminatory policies and practices. By building on the values of fairness and merit, a good employment systems review will contribute to better management of human resources in a diversified workforce. More contemporary approaches towards employment systems reviews tends to focus on the adoption of best practices which are aligned to the organisation’s strategic objectives.

Our approach

Few organisations have sought to extend the concept of an employment systems review beyond the confines of employment equity to a broader analysis of organisational values and culture and social imperatives. A human resources manual remains the single most visible output of the Human Resources department, and should:-

  • Capture the organisations human resources strategy;
  • Embody organisational values (or seek to grow or change actual values or behaviours); and
  • Drive organisational culture (current or desired).

In addition, we believe that employment practices should internalise corporate branding. In displaying values externally to clients, internal processes should reinforce these values and behaviours. All too often we see organisations which subscribe to people centred values reduce employment practices into a system of written rules and regulations.

We further maintain that unless human resource practitioners are able to evaluate their department's efforts and produce both qualitative and quantitative reports with the same integrity as financial reports and management accounts, human resources will never achieve the credibility to fulfil its strategic role within the organisation. Quantitative and qualitative measures should be identified for employment practices which are meaningful to the organisation.

Depending on the philosophical approach the organisation adopts, we seek to reinforce emerging human resources practices of employee self-service, internal communications responsibilities, and social responsibility.


On acceptance of the proposal, an exploratory meeting is held with the human resources team to identify critical components of their human resources strategy and those organisational values and behaviours important to the organisation.

During this exploratory meeting a preliminary analysis is made of the appropriate

  • Philosophies
  • Principles
  • Practices
  • Policies and Procedures

which will guide the formulation of employment practice recommendations.

Thereafter a desktop audit is conducted with a comprehensive review of existing employment practices, with particular attention on :-

  • recruitment procedures, advertising and selection criteria;
  • appointments and the appointment process;
  • job classification and grading;
  • remuneration, employment benefits and terms and conditions of employment;
  • job assignments;
  • the working environment and facilities;
  • training and development;
  • performance evaluation systems;promotion;
  • transfer;
  • demotion; and
  • disciplinary measures.

Ensuring regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance remains a key factor in conducting the audit. This analysis goes beyond mere compliance with the primary employment laws (Basic Conditions of Employment, Labour Relations Act, Skills Development Act, Skills Development etc). The Codes of Good Practice have introduced a new regime of employment principles. Concepts of reasonable accommodation, employee assistance initiatives, discrimination, harassment (other than sexual harassment), adverse impact, gender mainstreaming, etc, while new to South African employment practices, have been extensively developed in other jurisdictions (USA, Canada, U.K. and Australia).

In many senses, these additional statutory imperatives would require the extension of existing grievance and disciplinary procedures and codes to incorporate these "new employment rights and wrongs". For this reason, the potential list of policies and procedures is fairly extensive. We are not however suggesting that they are an immediate priority.

Process - Phase 1

  1. Exploratory Meeting
  2. Audit of Current Policies and Procedures
  3. Analysis of Result of Human Resources Audit
  4. Formulation of Human Resources Plan of Action

Process - Phase 2

Analysis of Result of Human Resources Audit

  1. Identification of critical areas of concern. Prioritisation and selection of HR interventions and agreement on time frames for delivery.

Formulation of Human Resources Policies and Procedures:-

  1. Development of terms and conditions of employment;
  2. Development of policies as per agreed prioririsation e.g. serious medical illness, AIDS, early retirement etc.
  3. Identification of Group policies and procedures, negotiated policies and procedures, and development of revised or new policies.

Development of Corporate and branded human resources policies and procedures manuals.

Based on our initial understanding of the project brief, and subject to further clarification, we envisage the development of a Corporate Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual as well as

  • An employee Handbook
  • Supervisor employee management guide
  • Training and Development Manual
  • Employment Equity Manual.

Employee Expectations

We believe that just as customer expectations of service are formed through Corporate branding, advertising and face to face interaction with employees, employee expectations themselves need to be clarified in a similar fashion. Employee expectations of their employment at a Company are initially formed at the point of employment. Invariably employee expectations regarding career pathing, salary expectations, and benefits are not clarified at the outset creating misleading and heightened expectations. We are of the view that concise and clearly written Policies and Procedures manuals which are communicated through effective workplace communication strategies will clarify these areas and give rise to "legitimate employee expectations" of their employment in the various companies.

Project Steps and Timeframes

  1. Select the policies you require to be created (which will include those to be audited for correctness/completeness and be modified from your initial draft policy documents).
  2. Agree a timetable for submitting draft policies to you for approval and sign off.
  3. Submit draft policies and procedures (as per agreed schedule) for sign off and/or modification; Please note that many of the polices will require that you insert company based decisions/amounts/days etc into the policy documents based on options available to your company, either in law, or based on company financial decisions/criteria. For example: will pregnancy leave be paid or unpaid, and for how long; will study leave be fully funded, partially etc.
  4. Agree content and overall design of the employee handbook.
  5. Complete employee handbook. Present final Manual and Handbook, including Adobe Acrobat version for access on Intranet.


The following specific manuals will be produced:-

  • Human Resources Manual which will incorporate executive summaries and process maps, and all procedures and forms
  • Employee Handbook
  • Supervisor Handbook (B4 format) containing workplace employee management guidelines and checklists.
  • Employment Equity Manual
  • Training and Development Manual 

Statutory Employment Policies

  • Policy
  • Employment Contracts and Particulars of Employment
  • Employee Orientation Handbook
  • Workplace Safety and Health, incl. Accidents at Work, Regulatory Clothing and Ergonomics
  • Aids Policy
  • Termination of Employment  
    • Abandonment of position
    • Death
    • Dismissal
    • Lay off
    • Medical termination
    • Rejection during probationary period
    • Resignation
    • Retirement
  • Harassment Policy(ies) - Discrimination, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Sexual Harassment, Aids (could be a composite policy or individual policies)
  • Whistleblower and Access to Employee Information
  • Employment Equity Plan and Policy Statement
  • Statutory Forms and Notices:
  • Statutory Summaries of the
    • Labour Relations Act
    • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • Employment Equity Act
    • Basic Conditions of Employment Act
  • Environmental Policy
  • Compressed Work Week, Reduced Work Week, Sunday Work & Public Holidays
  • Night Work
  • Independent Contractor Policy
  • Standby Policy

Special Accommodation Measures

  • Policy
  • Work-from-home
  • Flexi-work
  • Public Holidays & Religious Observance

Regulatory Policies

  • Policy
  • Company Travel Policy
  • Work from home or flexi-time
  • Remuneration and Payment Policy
  • Working Hours & Overtime Policy
  • Sick Leave
  • Annual Leave
  • Disciplinary Code and Procedure
  • Restraint of Trade, Competitor Policy, Copyright and Ownership, Supplier Relationships and Moonlighting
  • Grievance Procedure and Regulatory Code
  • Motor Car Scheme
  • Smoking Policy
  • Internet, E-Mail and Electronic Communications Policy
  • Telephone Usage Policy
  • Retrenchment Policy
  • Specific regulatory policies:-
  • Employee Attendance
  • Exit Interview
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Authorization
  • Recruitment Policies and Procedures including:-
    • Recruitment authorisation
    • Internal Advertisement Policy
    • Driving Record Check
    • Drug Testing Consent Form
    • Educational Record Check
    • Advertising
  • Appeals committee
    • applications received from dismissed employees
    • affirmative action staffing
    • evaluating the candidate
    • position analysis
    • re-advertising
    • screening and reviewing applications
    • developing the interview
    • staffing appeals
    • verbal and written offer
  • Transfer and Relocation Policy
  • Promotions Policy (could be included as part of a comprehensive job grading / broadbanding policy to allow for lateral movement, secondment as well as promotions and re-classification
  • Performance Management Policy, including:-
    • Job Descriptions
    • Salary Increase Discussions
    • Performance Appraisals & Reviews
    • Career Development and
    • Career Planning
  • Pre-employment screening, medical checks and employee search procedures
  • Employee Training and Development
  • Extended Leave Policy and Continuity of Employment Benefits

Employment Benefits Policies

  • Policy
  • Insurance Benefits / Cover
  • Medical Aid Scheme
  • Retirement Fund Policy
  • Community Health Policy (for employees who are provided with onsite medical assistance, but who are not members of a medical aid scheme)
  • Long-term disability
  • Domestic Spouse Benefits
  • Housing Policy
  • Aids, TB, Smoking, Alcohol Policies and Awareness Programme

Employee Assistance Policies

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a service designed to assist or benefit all employees, and in some situations their immediate families, with personal health and well-being. The services available through a comprehensive EAP programme normally make provision for the following:

  • assessment and evaluation of behavioural health problems, information and referral to appropriate community resources/treatment programs, consultation and education for the general promotion of mental health in the work place, and
  • short term counselling and crisis intervention as needed.

The EAP endeavours to assist employees with problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, family and marriage difficulties, as well as general problems in living.

The following policies can be included as part of the EAP programme, or categorised differently.

  • Policy
  • Family Responsibility Leave
  • Maternity Leave
  • Paternity Leave
  • Compassionate Leave
  • Traditional Leave
  • Educational Assistance incl. Study leave, approved institutions and study financing
  • Children's Educational Assistance
  • Work from home or flexi-time (or part of regulatory policies, depending on the philosophy behind the policy, e.g. instituted as part of a family responsibility initiative or a special accommodation measure)
  • Workplace Violence Awareness and Prevention

Proposed contents for Employment Equity Manual

  • Contents
  • Introductory Policy Statement
  • Terms of Reference of Employment Equity Committee
  • Employee Equity Reports Forms EEA2 and EEA4
  • Form EEA2A
  • Form EEA4A
  • Employment Equity Plan
  • Employment Equity Plan
  • Affirmative Action Policy
  • Codes of Good Practice on Employment Equity
  • Code of Good Practice on Implementing Employment Equity
  • Code of Good Practice: Human Resources
  • Affirmative Procurement Policy
  • Employment Equity Training Materials
  • Department of Labour Presentation
  • Employment Equity Committee Workbook
  • BEE and Employment Equity Management Workshop
  • Minutes of Employment Equity Committee
  • Meeting minutes
  • Charter and Scorecard

Contents of Training Manual

  • Contents
  • Workplace Skills Plan
  • Workplace Training Guide
  • Training Policy
  • Pre and Post Course discussion sheets for employees
  • Training Courses
  • Descriptions of Courses  attended by staff
  • Proof of attendance of employees on training courses
  • Invoices, attendance registers and certificates
  • Nomination forms and attendance records
  • Learnership
  • Learnership Agreement
  • Learnership Contract of Employment
  • Meeting of Training Committee
  • Workplace Skills Committee Members


Last modified onSaturday, 05 September 2015 20:21

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
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