HR policies should possess the following characteristics:
1. The HR policy should present the principle that will guide the organisation’s actions and reflect a faith in the ethical values of employees.
As Peter Drucker has observed, “The policies of an enterprise have to be balanced with the kind of reputation an enterprise wants to build up with special reference to the social and human needs, objectives and values”.
It should be consistent with the overall philosophy and objectives of the organisation, as well as with labour laws and public policy.
2 The HR policy should be formulated after considering the long range plans and needs of the organisation.
The policy should be definite, positive, clear and easily understood by everyone in the organisation so that what it proposes to achieve in the long term is evident. Only a clear policy statement can serve as a guide to thinking and decision-making.
3. The HR policy must be reasonably stable but not rigid. It should be flexible to cover a normal range of activities. Change in a policy should be made only when it is essential and at fairly long intervals.
4. The HR policy should be formulated with due regard for the interests of all the concerned parties – the employers, the employees and the public community.
It should be stated in the broadest possible terms so as to serve as a guide in practice now and in the future.
5. The HR policy must be developed with the active participation and support of the management and the co-operation of employees at the shop floor level and in the office. It should be formulated with active participation of the trade unions as well.
6. The HR policy should be definite so that it is easy to understand. It should be stated in clear, definite and easily understood terms so that what it proposes to achieve is evident.
7. The HR policy must provide a two-way communication system between the management and the employees. It should be communicated in writing so as to remove any confusion. This is necessary to prevent misunderstanding and to ensure uniformity of application.
8. The HR policy should be consistent with public policy. A good HR policy should recognise individual differences and respect human dignity. It should be based on consistency in treatment to all employees without any favouritism or discrimination.