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Keeping Policies in Line With Company Values

Some hints for practicing what you preach.

March 21, 2000
Related Topics: Values, Policies and Procedures
As a human resources professional, you have the important task of communicating company policies to employees. In the current economy, company objectives aren't only the pride of the CEO--they're also a key factor in employee retention. So it's imperative that there's no disconnect between the company's goals and HR's implementation of policy.

Below, some hints on how to maintain harmony between what the company says and what it does.

  • Find out what the company's values actually are. No matter what the company's size or industry, a statement of the company's vision and goals should be communicated in writing and available to employees.
  • Determine whether current policies are helping or hindering the company's mission. Policies should be reviewed regularly in the context of how they are helping employees accomplish the company's objectives. For example, current Optimas winner Jellyvision revamped its health benefits package to a program with lower deductibles and a shorter waiting period to ease employee anxiety about coverage and to communicate an attitude of caring to the employees.
  • Be honest with everyone about HR objectives. Take time to help employees understand the hows and whys of company policy. You'll get much farther in making policies stick if you keep an upfront, open approach. If you're changing health care plans because costs are rising 30% (as is the case with some California plans), tell employees that's why you're changing.
  • Do a little audit. Get together a "focus group" of employee representing a cross-section of positions in the company. Ask them if you're living up to the values you've written down. Ask them if they feel strongly enough about the organization to recommend to a friend that he or she work there. If they say no, ask why. If they say yes, ask why. Consider their answers when revising policies.
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