"An organisation's documented policies are not just a passive source of rules, procedures, and guidance for its employees - they actively create identities and positions, and influence attitudes. How they are worded is of enormous significance. These policies form the foundations of the organisational culture, and are the blueprint for internal relations.

Having policies and procedures that understand, take into account, and accommodate the nature of human beings - what we refer to as being 'people compliant' - won't in itself guarantee positive employee relations and engagement, or improved business performance, but without them any other initiatives face an uphill struggle."

The Work Practice




Workplace Policies and Practices

Key Questions
Are your HR policies legally compliant? Most probably 'yes', because that's the primary focus for the authors of such documents. While legal compliance is of course imperative when drafting employment policies, consideration of the psychological impact and affects on the reader are almost always neglected.

So we additionally ask 'are your HR policies people compliant?' and 'does it matter?' Based on our research and work in this area to date, the answers will most probably be 'no' and 'yes' respectively.

It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it...
Essentially, legal compliance is more concerned with what is said, while people compliance is equally concerned with the way that you say it. This does matter, because at a deeper level the words and discourse have a psychological affect on the reader.

Policies written solely from a legal perspective, with no consideration given to the psychological affects, can often undermine organisations’ well intended employee relations and employee engagement efforts.
Policies actively create the 'identities' of the parties they relate to (the employee, the manager, and the organisation), and heavily influence relational attitudes. To demonstrate this, we've prepared an example exercise for our clients >>

Promote Healthy Relations
We have drawn on our experience and evidence from conducting Cognitive Exit Interviews (not the standard HR exit interviews), Mediations, and Coaching Psychology engagements to assess the impact of policies on employees' psychological contracts, engagement, and commitment.

If you would like us to evaluate, review, or draft any of your policies and procedures (from a discourse analytical perspective) to ensure both legal and people compliance, please contact us.

If you would like to write your policies yourself using our framework, you can attend one of our public workshops on the topic..

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The Work Practice is a private limited company registered in Scotland SC403076. Registered Office: 83 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2ER.  Tel: 0844 809 2557