Free «Human Resources and Policies and Procedures» UK Essay Paper
Human resources are the backbone of an organization, and they are guided by policies and procedures that make them work efficiently. Barbeito (2004) perceives policies as formal statements of rules that human resources are expected to follow. They serve to address essential issues that are critical to an organization’s mission and vision. On the one hand, procedures are the means to detect organizations and the ways they implement policies. On the other hand, human resource policies and procedures can be perceived as established frameworks that set the standards with the aim of directing how employees and members of the broader community of an organization conduct themselves. This includes defining standards on how work should be performed, how decisions and overall management of the entire organization should be made. They are usually published in a company manual, which is provided to employees on joining an organization. VISTA, as an organization, has a member handbook, which is the employment manual that contains policies and procedures that act to provide employees with directions on various issues concerning the organization. Human resource procedures and policies follow certain standards set in place by laws and regulations that need to be taken into consideration by organizations when developing employment manuals.
An evaluation of VISTA’s employment manual reveals information relating to the organization’s operations, which places more focus on organizational procedure and less on policy. The manual, which has been referred to as a member handbook by the company, has been divided into 14 chapters. It also includes appendices and image gallery. There are a number of matters discussed in chapters 1 and 2, which have been addressed by VISTA’s employment manual. One such matter is discrimination, which has been discussed in the manual under the title of civil rights and discrimination, as asserted by VISTA Campus (2016). In this regard, members of AmeriCorps VISTA are protected by federal laws from violation of their civil rights. These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of the following factors: race, color, nationality, age, sex, religion, disability, and political affiliation. VISTA’s policy on discrimination also addresses discrimination by parental status in the provision of federally provided education, such as AmeriCorps VISTA training. The manual provides a clear procedure that members of the organization can use to file a case in the event they experience any form of discrimination, while working for the organization. The manual also addresses the legally prohibited form of discrimination, which is harassment. It coherently defines what constitutes harassment and clarifies who can be taken as participants of the process. In the continued discussion of the matter, the manual is also clear, as to the procedure to be followed in the event of harassment. According to VISTA Campus (2016), this entails the legal duties of the organization, which include not retailing on an employee filing a case on harassment.
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Another matter, addressed in the manual that has also been discussed in both chapter 1 and 2, is the grievance procedure under the title AmeriCorps VISTA grievance procedure. This procedure makes it clear what steps an employee is to take should there be a circumstance that violates the regulations governing the terms and conditions of their service and infringing on their rights or benefits. The procedure has been reprinted in the appendix for easier referral by employees. According to Barbeito (2004), the grievance procedure can be used by employees through submission of complaints in writing to their supervisors. This should be done within ten working days from the incident or situation pertaining to the grievance.
The manual further addresses another similar matter discussed in chapter 1 and 2. This is the matter regarding making changes or revisions to policies. Barbeito (2004) explains personnel policies should be routinely reviewed every year or in the event there is a change in employment laws and regulations. It is critical that any changes to be made on organizational policies be communicated to employees. This communication can take place in any number of ways, including staff meetings or memos. For VISTA, the company has in place a procedure for making changes and revisions to its policies. It communicates these changes through organizational memos, addressed to all employees. For instance, the company has recently made changes to an employment policy that prohibited VISTA members from securing additional employment outside of the organization. In a memo addressed to all VISTA personnel, detailed information on the policy, including factors such as its purpose, when it is to take effect, its impact on the organization, and other significant aspects of the new policy have been well explained.
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However, there are some matters discussed in the two chapters which have not been discussed in the manual. One such matter is the aspect of chain of command. The manual fails to illustrate the nature of interaction between employees and management. The need to provide clarity with regards to this nature of interaction is vital. Barbeito (2004) affirms that this is because it is an essential way of preventing confusion and undermining the management’s authority. Thus, organizations should work to ensure they have in place a policy that clearly demonstrates a chain of command, which guardedly represents the nature of interaction between the staff and management, including the way they communicate with each other. A policy like this should not be disregarded. This is because the relationship between staff and management should be based on understanding. It should allow staff to freely interact with management and participate in significant developments taking place in the company. More so, they should be allowed to have a say in issues that directly impact them. According to the text, encouraging round table meetings and allowing walk-ins can be used to achieve this.
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In the continued discussion concerning matters highlighted in the two chapters, another relevant matter which was not addressed in the manual is the process of crisis management. The manual does not highlight what activities or steps are to be taken by the organization in the event a crisis occurred. This is risky and to an extent careless, since crisis management is essential in guaranteeing the survival of an organization. This is vital, given the fact that a crisis is an unpredictable event; consequently, there is no way of foreseeing it. As a result, a policy on crisis management should take into consideration the following factors, as illustrated by Barbeito (2004) in the first cahapter of her book Human Resource Policies and Procedures for Nonprofit Organizations. First, how to speak with the media. This is critical, since the media is the main source of information for the public in the event of crisis. Accordingly, an organization should select a single spokeperson that will represents the views of organization to the media. The person may be an executive director or an appointed communications director. By having one single person to represent the organization, information will be disseminated in a manner that will prevent panic and confusion, since this information will be more consistent and accurate. Another aspect of media relations with an organization, that is equally vital, is in regard to press releases. These foster a way for organizations to respond to issues. An organization should have in place a policy that detects to whom press releases are written to and who is granted the authority to release them.
Additional evaluation of the manual reveals some areas which were not addressed in a clear and coherent manner and, thus, warrants some improvement by the organization. One such area is the discrimination policy. In the first place, the manual, while addressing the concept of harassment, failed to get into detail with regards to what exactly constitute harassment. It also completely failed to address the concept of HIV/AIDS, which has been a point of contention among workers and employers for some time. Persons with HIV/AIDS are protected by the Americans and Disability Act (ADA), according to Barbeito (2004). In line with this is the failure of the organization to effectively address the rights of its disabled staff. This is more so in their accommodation. Therefore, in the aim of ensuring reasonable accommodation of the disabled employees, organizations should strive to develop a policy in this regard. Another area that was not clearly addressed is discrimination. It lacked a lot of information with regards to the organization’s definition of equal opportunity and what steps it can take to guarantee this.
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Policies and procedures in an organization are vital in assisting an organization to succeed through its human resources. For this reason, it is imperative for due consideration to be taken with regards to their formulation and implementation in the organization. They should be clear and comprehensive in nature. In addition, they should also comply with employment laws and regulations. During the process of formulating organizational policies and procedures, organizations should strive to involve their human resources. This is critical in securing their support for the policies and procedures, since involving them to a considerable degree helps to overcome resistance. For VISTA, the company should take into consideration the above made suggestions, while developing their member handbook.
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