Understanding Human Resource Policies and Strategies

The organisation’s role in human resource policies and strategies

In the ideal situation:

  • The organisation invites its HR director to be part of the senior management group. The organisation has HR policies and strategies founded on the principle of fairness.
  • This means fair rules, procedures and decisions that are applied fairly in each individual staff member’s case. Interpersonal communication is characterised by honesty, respect, dignity and politeness.
  • The organisation develops, implements and evaluates HR policies and strategies that are intended to create a positive work environment. Leadership underpinned by effective HR policies and strategies is a driving force in creating a positive work environment in the organisation.
  • The organisation promotes the importance of HR policies and strategies, particularly those relating to work relationships and acceptance of diversity, to all levels of the organisation.
  • The organisation regularly monitors and reviews critical HR performance indicators including the quality of work relationships, staff wellbeing, organisational justice, openness to diversity and emotional climate.
  • The organisation undertakes research to evaluate, monitor and develop staff.

The manager’s role in human resource policies and strategies

In the ideal situation:

  • Managers implement fair HR policies and strategies with the support of HR specialists.
  • Managers use the performance management system to develop and evaluate their team’s ability to form positive work relationships.
  • Managers use training as a means of cultivating, motivating and retaining quality staff and promoting positive work relationships, acceptance of diversity and fair practices.
  • Managers interact with their staff fairly. They are polite, honest and treat staff with respect and dignity.

The individual’s role in human resource policies and strategies

In the ideal situation:

  • Individuals negotiate flexible work arrangements with their manager to balance their work and private commitments. They believe processes and decisions are fair.
  • Individuals conform to the HR policies and procedures that cover interactions with colleagues and clients, such as the code of conduct.
  • Individuals have trust and confidence in their colleagues, managers and the organisation. They feel included in the team, treated the same as others, and able to raise their concerns safely. All interactions with colleagues and managers are respectful.
  • Individuals feel that rewards for good performance are meaningful.

The litmus test for human resource policies and strategies

Some important questions to ask about your organisation:

  • Is the HR Manager a valued member of the senior management group?
  • Do the HR policies and strategies contribute to a positive work environment or have unintended consequences?
  • Does feedback from managers and staff inform the regular development and review of HR policies and strategies?
  • Are the HR policies and strategies sufficiently flexible to accommodate differing situations and circumstances?


Measures that may be useful for confirming the quick check tool results or monitoring cultural change could include:

  • Flexible work hours rate
  • Gender staffing breakdown

A Dictionary of People Metrics

Case Study: Why is Status Important?

The team of 15 cleaners had worked for their entire career at the one hospital and, while not the best job in the world, they felt happy that their work was an integral part of the hospital’s successful operation. However, all that changed with the Mitchell Hospital’s decision to contract out the cleaning services. While the cleaners remained the same, their employers changed as the hospital went through a series of different contractors. With each contract change, the cleaners felt more distanced and less a part of the hospital.

When the cleaners were employed as staff, they were treated as an integral part of the hospital and everyone knew their names and spoke to them. With the move to being employed as contractors, they were treated as outsiders to the hospital. This affected their attitude to the hospital. They were the same people, performing the same role but with a different status in the hospital. The employment status affected how they were treated and how they saw themselves.

Elizabeth, the new HR director, reflected on the hospital’s decision and what must be done next. ‘In a positive work environment, both the decision to outsource and the consequences of this on everyone in the workplace has to be considered. The difference in treatment, in expectations and in status between staff and contractors should not occur. I will need to specifically address this within the hospital’s HR policies and strategies.’

Further Resources for Human Resource Policies and Strategies