By Perminus Wainaina
A successful organization is one run by systems and procedures. That’s why it is important to have standard operating procedures. When decisions are systematized you remove room for opinions therefore minimizing conflict, delay and improve accountability as everyone knows their place. However, rules and procedures should be flexible to encourage initiative and risk taking.
An important step in coming up with systems that includes procedures is documenting. Because proper documentation act as a point of reference, if there’s doubt or confusion, one can refer to the manuals.
In HR you need the following core documents:
- Job descriptions. A Job description outlines the responsibilities, skills and attributes required to perform a particular role. It also contains the key performance indicators that measure whether an employee is meeting the employer expectations. You must advertise jobs with a comprehensive JD so that proactive candidates evaluate their ability to deliver. And always issue new employees with JDs on day one of reporting.
- Employment Contract. This defines the terms and conditions of employment. As per the employment act 2007, an employee is entitled to a contract outlining responsibilities, salary, place of work, hours, duration of contract and termination clause. Although a contract can be oral, any engagement for more than 2 months must be in written form.
- Performance Appraisal Documents. This is to help bother parties measure performance as per the KPI’s. And feedback from this document and exercise can help an organization in decision making that involves training, promotion, and even termination. For management, feedback from employee can lead to improvements in processes, products, and management style. The law requires you provide such a document if you are to fire an employee on account of non performance.
- Employee File. Obviously this is not one document. An employee file consists of all the official communication between the organization and an employee. From leave days, warning letters, congratulation message etc. This file should be updated as often as possible and should be kept under lock and key. There should be absolute confidentiality on all matters. Again the law requires an employer to maintain such a file.
- Time and Attendance Register. As the title suggests, you need to monitor staff and when they report and leave. While you can take three to six months to perform a formal appraisal, time and attendance register helps you monitor staff time on a daily basis. Since its daily, you are able to identify a trend which can be a pointer to new behaviors or problems and you have a chance to address them before it’s too late. A staff might have moved houses and they are yet to get used to a new route or their interest is waning.
- HR Policy. This is an internal document that broadly defines the relationship between an employer and employees. A HR policy is unique to the organization and might capture the vision and mission, motor vehicle policy, gifts and entertainments, allowances etc.
HR Documents exist for two reasons. The first one being compliance. Here you are following what the law says. The second reason is because you want to establish systems that will support your business. With systems you don’t have to be there for staff to carry out their duties. And the business can operate without much input from you.
And that’s the main difference between multinationals or big corporate and SMEs. The big companies invest in systems and documentations while small business owners delight in being consulted on everything. The problem with such an approach is that it stifles growth, does not promote excellence and it ends up overwhelming the owner.
Perminus Wainaina is the Managing Partner & Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services Ltd. Email. Perminus@corporatestaffing.co.ke.