Policy and process for the sake of it

A snippet resonated with me from this CIPD article when I first read it a few years ago: So much so that I decided to tweet it.

If you follow my twitter, you know I don’t tweet lightly.

If you really follow me, you know that the above line is a complete fabrication.

If you want to follow me, you will receive my latest 140 character messages relating to HRIS, interesting articles, and even worse attempts at humor than you will here at www.thegraemewhite.com

Process and Policy are intertwined, and in my opinion should be Open, Well thought out and Effective.

The following are examples of policies that I have encountered that in my opinion should have never come to fruition.

The knee-jerk policy.

– or the Oh my gosh, something unexpected happened policy

A hard to fill vacancy sat unfilled within the organisation. It took time to find the right candidate, so when he was found, the company was rapt.

Some key projects were under way when, all of a sudden, this employee gave his contracted 4 week notice.

Being a harder to fill role, said projects are put on hold (again) until a replacement could be found

How did the company react?

Knee Jerk

I get headaches from sitting too long.

The head of HR instigates a new policy! From now on, by default all employees are to be offered employment with a 3 month notice period.

The company has extra protection, what’ is the harm?

Yes, now the company will be given more time to find a replacements for all of their roles, but the downsides had not been considered. For example:

  • Will longer term termination clauses “scare off” key talent?
  • Do you want “checked out” employees on your payroll for a quarter of the year?

Bear in mind that this was not a common occurrence at this business. A review, rather than reaction may have provided other solutions. Ideas include:

  • Increase notice periods for hard to fill roles.
  • Increase notice periods for “Key” roles.
  • Look into the reason for this employees departure and the likelihood of this happening again.
  • DO NOTHING
    It could be that no action is the best action.
    Especially given the cost and time to:
  • Update offer templates, Policy documents, Intranet pages.
  • Notify and educate all Hiring Managers, Recruitment and other HR stuff in the business of the change.

The best of intentions policy.

– or the There is no way this can be effective, but at least it looks like were doing something policy

As a part of their recruitment process, another company did not know if an offered candidate was on their “Would Not Rehire” list until all compliance paperwork was received and tax details were entered into the payroll system.

By this time, it was too late. Offers had been made and weaselling out often was not a possibility.

The Solution:

Add a new field to the ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

When a terminated employee was assessed as not to be re-employed, as before, notices were created and sent to the payroll team to update the staff record. Only now, they were also updated in new fields in the ATS.

Now ex-emplopyee’s online recruitment profiles will come pre-flagged and staff involved in the recruitment process would check all applicants for this field as each candidate applied. The rest of the process would continue as before.

Sound like this would work well?

This is a case of process not being well thought out leading to ineffectiveness

In the ATS, candidates are able to create as many different profiles as they have email addresses. The profile that was flagged previously may never be touched again.

Any candidate trying to “sneak” their way back in after a less than amicable termination could easily apply and not be found until their details make it to payroll. In effect, this process was now as effective as the one before it only with extra (ineffective) administration and checking.

What is your tolerance?

In cases like this, I like to ask “What is an acceptable tolerance for X happening?”

For this example we would ask “How many candidates are we willing to get past the offer stage before being picked up as “Do not rehire”?

If the answer is 0, then your systems and processes need to be effective enough that the guarantee a 0 rate.

Why did you leave?

What are your thoughts?

Please share your experience with erroneous policy and process that you have encountered.

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