At The HR Consultants, we’re here to help your business grow with the right workplace policies put in place.

Understanding human resources (HR) policies is key for a business of any size. So, we’ve put together a must-have list to guide you through.

Introduction to HR Policies

Whether you’re just starting out or streamlining your current HR policies, these practices will serve as your checklist.

Trust us to keep this page regularly refreshed, ensuring you stay informed and compliant with the latest in company policies and business strategies.

If you’re part of a bigger business, read our all-in-one guide to HR policies.

HR Policies for a Smaller Business

As we unpack HR policies for small businesses, we’re delving into the defined HR policies and procedures that anchor your day-to-day operations.

This blog provides a detailed list of HR policies, ensuring your company’s HR becomes a template for employee conduct and a basis for success.


Table of Contents

1. Disciplinary and Dismissal Policy

2. Grievance policy

3. Health and Safety Policy

4. Equal Opportunities Policy

5. Sickness and Leave of Absence Policy

6. Flexible Working Policy

7. Training and Development Policy

8. Bullying and Harassment Policy

9. Code of Conduct

10. Internet and Email Policy

11. Drugs and Alcohol Policy

12. Social Media Policy

13. Privacy Policy

14. Remote Working Policy

15. Data Policy


Core HR Policies

Let’s navigate the various HR procedures and policies required by law and provide you with a comprehensive list of other HR current trends too.

We aim to make sure your business is not only compliant but also poised for future success, with a robust list of company policies.

We’ll cover all types of HR policies, from the essential legal requirements to the ones that give your company an edge.

1. Disciplinary and Dismissal Policy

Disciplinary and Dismissal Policy sits at the heart of the HR policies required by law, guiding businesses through managing misconduct and termination processes. It’s crucial to have a transparent list of company policies and procedures that align with legal standards.

Unfair dismissal claims can arise if a company fails to follow proper procedures.

In these cases, dismissal may occur without a formal warning, contrary to the ACAS Code of Practice. This can lead legal disputes and to a tribunal favouring the employee, highlighting the need for clear procedures and documentation in disciplinary matters.

2. Grievance Policy

In addition to dismissal policies, employee grievances of workplace discrimination must be taken seriously. In 2003, Angela Vento, a police constable, brought a case against her employer for sexual harassment and discrimination.

Workplace discrimination cost West Yorkshire Police almost £260,000

The Employment Tribunal found in favour of Vento, and the case became notable for setting guidelines on the amount of compensation that could be awarded for injury to feelings in discrimination cases.

This case underlines the critical need for employers to take grievances seriously and to have strict procedures in place to deal with them, ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and with respect.

3. Health and Safety Policy

Another key HR policy to consider, that is required by law is the Health and Safety policy. This policy’s three key tenets are: ensuring a safe working environment, regarding physical risks, preventing accidents and health issues, and complying with legal health and safety procedures.

Health and safety policy is vital for any business

A willingness to comply with safety procedures demonstrates a business’s commitment to its employees’ well-being but also aligns with legal obligations, showcasing the importance of a proactive approach to this.

4. Equal Opportunities Policy

An Equal Opportunities Policy is essential in the list of workplace policies for a company, ensuring fairness and diversity in the workplace.

This policy, an integral part of any company policies and procedures list, mandates non-discrimination based on age, gender, race, disability, or sexual orientation.

It aligns with legal requirements under the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits unfair treatment in the workplace. Implementing this policy involves training sessions to educate employees about diversity and inclusion, regular reviews of hiring practices, and ensuring equal access to opportunities for advancement.

5. Sickness and Leave of Absence Policy

It is key to have a sickness and leave of absence policy to make sure employees know their rights and responsibilities when needing time off due to illness. However, a radical example of this policy that would be detrimental to business would be one where employees are allowed unlimited sick leave without requiring any form of medical documentation.

While intended to show trust and support, this could lead to abuse of the system, with an increase in unscheduled absences, putting undue pressure on remaining staff and potentially disrupting business operations.

It’s vital to balance compassion with practicality in business policies to maintain productivity and morale.

6. Flexible Working Policy

A Flexible Working Policy is an indispensable item on any company policies and procedures list, reflecting a modern approach to work-life balance. It’s a policy every company should have, allowing employees to adjust their working patterns to suit personal commitments.

Here’s an outline of what this might look like:

  • Eligibility: Open to employees after six months of continuous service.
  • Types of Flexibility: Includes part-time work, flexitime, remote working, and compressed hours.
  • Application Process: Employees must submit a formal request, detailing the desired work pattern.
  • Assessment: Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis, balancing employee needs with business requirements.
  • Review Period: A trial period to assess the effectiveness of the new working arrangement.

This policy promotes a supportive and adaptable work environment, improving employee satisfaction and retention.

7. Training and Development Policy

Experts advocate for a comprehensive list of company policies that champion continuous upskilling and development. This investment in human capital can yield substantial returns.

When devising how to approach training and development, remember the following:

  • Encourage regular skills assessments and tailored training programmes.
  • Offer opportunities for professional certifications and further education.
  • Implement mentorship schemes pairing experienced staff with newer employees

8. Bullying and Harassment Policy

Every organisation must have a company policy and procedures list that addresses Bullying and Harassment. This isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a safeguard for your team’s well-being.

Recent statistics indicate that in certain sectors, up to 94% of employees have reported being bullied at work.

Your policy should outline zero tolerance for such behaviour, detail the reporting process, and preserve confidentiality for those who come forward.

Remember, a safe, workplace culture is a productive one, and your stand against bullying reflects your company’s values.

9. Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct is another fundamental section in your list of company policies. It should form part of your own employment laws and employment contracts so everything is clear from the outset, but it’s not one-size-fits-all. Depending on the sector, the content can vary significantly.

For instance, in healthcare, there’s a strong emphasis on patient confidentiality and ethical and fair treatment, whereas in manufacturing, health and safety might take precedence. In the tech industry, intellectual property and data protection are often at the forefront.

So, when compiling your list of policies for a company, consider your industry’s unique requirements to be certain your Code of Conduct is relevant.

10. Internet and Email Policy

In today’s digital age, company HR policies on internet use must balance security with flexibility. Some businesses opt for strict monitoring and limited access, ensuring focus and data protection. Others adopt a more liberal approach, promoting trust and openness, which can foster innovation.

Whatever your stance, it has to be clear on acceptable use, data confidentiality, and the consequences of breaches.

Tailoring this policy to your company’s ethos and risks is essential for safeguarding your business and your employees’ digital conduct.

11. Drugs and Alcohol Policy

A Drugs and Alcohol Policy is vital among company policies required by law. It outlines the various disciplinary procedures and steps leading to dismissal for misuse. However, policies and procedures in business aren’t always black and white. For instance, a sommelier may be permitted to taste wine as part of their job role.

It’s about context and safety.

Your policy should be clear and fair, considering the nature of the role within your business. Establishing firm guidelines protects not only the workplace environment and business values but also the well-being of your employees.

12. Social Media Policy

In an age where businesses leverage social media extensively, setting well-thought-out boundaries is paramount.

The growing importance of social media

Your list of company policies and procedures should specify which platforms are suitable for work-related activities and the conduct expected on them. Whether it’s LinkedIn for networking or Instagram for brand promotion, make it clear how employees should represent both themselves and the company online. This clarity will help maintain your business’s professional image and prevent digital blunders.

Guidelines on the use of personal social media should also be devised.

13. Privacy Policy

Another crucial element in the list of policies every employee handbook should have, the Privacy Policy boosts confidentiality and security in handling personal data. For businesses, particularly those involved in publishing and printing music, it’s vital to create policies that delineate clear guidelines on company property and sharing resources.

These procedures must address how resources are used, and protected, alongside stipulations on sharing with third parties.

With a transparent environment, your business not only complies with legal standards but also builds trust with your stakeholders. Remember, a thorough Privacy Policy is your commitment to safeguarding vital information.

14. Remote Work Policy

In today’s digital age, a Remote Work Policy is essential in the list of policies modern companies should have. This company policy and procedures outline expectations, responsibilities, and the framework for employees working outside the traditional office setting. The Guardian notes how this has taken off since the Covid-19 pandemic:

“With 50-plus countries (the number is growing all the time – the Czech Republic is one of the latest) enticing digital nomads with a visa typically lasting a year or longer, the ability to work from anywhere has become a more appetising proposition – especially with the cost of living crisis hitting pockets hard in the UK.”

By embracing remote work, HR professionals can tap into a global talent pool, increase productivity, and offer a better work-life balance for new employees. Ensure your policy covers communication, data security, and productivity measures to harness the full benefits of remote working.

15. Data Protection Policy

Finally, this vital company policy allows for the secure collection, storage, and use of personal information, safeguarding both the company and its clients from cyber threats. For instance, employing HR software like Symantec Endpoint Protection can significantly bolster your data security efforts.

It not only protects against malware and breaches but also meets legal standards.

Remember, investing in robust data protection measures is not just about compliance; it’s about earning your stakeholders’ trust through demonstrable security commitments.


In a Nutshell

To sum up, establishing core HR policies is not just a formality; it’s a cornerstone for the success and sustainability of any business. From ensuring legal compliance to fostering a positive work environment, these policies are the backbone of your company’s operations.

By implementing clear, comprehensive guidelines, you’re not only protecting your business but also empowering your employees to thrive.

The strength of your business lies in the clarity of your policies. So, take the time to develop and refine these crucial frameworks, and watch as your business grows from strength to strength.

What should your small business focus on?

We’ve broken down a comprehensive list of the key areas of HR policies for any small business. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to speak to an expert.

Want help writing an employee handbook that drives growth and meets UK employment law?

Speak to The HR Consultants and recharge your HR policies.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers people want when searching about how HR works in businesses of different sizes.

What is a good HR policy?

A good HR policy clearly outlines company expectations and employee responsibilities, ensuring fairness and consistency. It covers legal compliance and employee benefits, promotes a positive work culture, and supports business objectives. Essentially, it is a comprehensive policy that’s the foundation for a transparent and efficient workplace, pivotal for both employer and employee success.

How does HR play a role in small business?

HR policies play a crucial role in attracting and retaining talent, ensuring legal compliance, and fostering a positive work environment. It’s about managing people effectively to drive the business forward, focusing on strategic growth while nurturing a supportive, productive culture.

What are the factors affecting HR policy?

Factors affecting a company’s HR policies include legal regulations, industry standards, company size, and culture. Additionally, technological advancements and economic conditions play significant roles. Tailoring HR policies to these factors ensures they support business objectives while forging a positive, compliant, and efficient workplace environment.