New year, same issues? Four HR policies you should update

Kate Palmer - HR Advice and Consultancy Director

January 12 2022

There’s no denying it: the last two years have introduced countless challenges for employers.

From poor employee wellbeing to rising resignations, many issues will spill over into 2022 – but by tweaking your workplace policies, you can keep your staff happy and healthy.

And here’s how…

1. Change your retention policy

If you’re worried the new year will bring more resignations, it’s time to introduce ‘stay’ interviews.

You might carry out exit interviews already. This means you speak to your employee after they’ve handed in their notice to learn why they’ve quit. But by that time, it’s usually too late to encourage them to stay.

And since January is a popular time to job hunt, it makes sense to act now – before you face a raft of resignations. So, speak to your staff now and see if they have any concerns about their role.

To boost retention, make sure you act on any feedback – and fast. For example, if your employee is bored with their role, see if you can put training in place to help them learn new skills.

Then, introduce a retention scheme to reward staff loyalty. For example, you could offer an extra days’ holiday or a financial bonus for each year of service. You could also make a commitment to promoting staff from within your business.

Add this to your retention policy and share it with staff to remind them about the perks of staying.

2. Improve your mental health policy

Whether it’s Blue Monday or seasonal depression, January can be tough for some employees. And with ongoing uncertainty over COVID-19, this year could be worse than ever.

Which means now’s the time to dust down and improve your mental health policy.

With a generic wellbeing policy, employees might think you treat mental health like a ‘tick box’ exercise. And without any policy at all, staff won’t know how to access help when they need it – meaning they’re more likely to call in sick or even quit.

So, lay out exactly how you support staff mental health, add this to your policy, and share it with your team. Your policy should cover:

    • How staff can discuss mental health matters – like during one-to-one meetings with their line manager or with an ‘open-door’ policy.
    • How you train managers to support mental health – like if they’ve taken a mental health first aid course.
    • Who employees should reach out to if they’re struggling – such as a qualified staff member or an external employee assistance programme.

3. Freshen up your flexible working policy

After rolling out remote or flexitime during the pandemic, it’s now become standard for many businesses. So much so, that nearly half of all workers now expect flexible working in their job – and would consider quitting if they didn’t.

So, a blanket ‘no’ to all forms of flexible working could see staff leave in droves – and make recruitment even more difficult. Which means, if you’re facing problems with turnover, it’s time to update your flexible working policy.

While remote work isn’t possible for every business, create a policy that works for you and your staff. Consider which flexible working options could work for your business:

  • Remote work.
  • Hybrid work – where staff split their time between the workplace and home.
  • Compressed hours – working full-time hours over fewer days. 
  • Flexitime – where the employee has flexibility over their shift times.  
  • Annualised hours – where an employee works a certain amount of hours over the year but has flexibility over when to work.   

In your flexible working policy, make sure you outline any limitations and expectations. For example, if you offer hybrid work, how many days per week can staff work remotely? And how do you expect workers to communicate with each other?

4. Make your recruitment policy more inclusive

Time to hire new staff?

With many workers on the hunt for a fresh challenge in the new year, now’s the time to tweak your recruitment policy.

First, consider if your hiring policy is inclusive enough. If it’s not, you could be missing out on a wealth of potential talent and applicants – without even realising. To create an inclusive recruitment process, consider adding these ideas to your policy:

  • Encourage applications from underrepresented groups in your job advert. This could mean adding an equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement or a sentence like “we welcome female applicants”.
  • Offering on-the-job training to help under-represented groups progress at work.
  • Offering mentoring to under-represented groups with particular needs.
  • Hosting open days for under-represented groups to encourage them to get into your field.

Then, make sure you have a procedure for an inclusive interview process. In your policy, set out how you prevent bias – for example, using ‘blind’ CVs or providing training.

Ready for expert HR policies? Get started today…

If it’s time to strengthen your policies for the year ahead, we’re here to help.

Our HR consultants will review your policies, making sure they keep staff happy and reduce your legal risk. Simply call us on 0800 028 2420 or discover our unlimited HR support.

Suggested Resources