How to write HR policies for SME’s

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In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face unique challenges in attracting, engaging, and retaining talent. To thrive in this competitive environment, SMEs need to reimagine their HR policies and practices. But having too many policies for the sake of it can have a negative cultural impact on your SME.

HR can become bogged down with endless policy admin and updating clauses, employees won’t feel trusted by hundreds of policies that cover their every move. This makes working harder for everyone. The idea is to free businesses & HR teams from pointless policies, giving employees the trust and respect they deserve. 

‘EACH’ model

The ‘EACH’ model – advocates that HR treat employees as adults, consumers and humans. HR is often overly parental, in treating employees like children and removing their space for common sense. Organisations that try to parent employees end up forming policies for every eventuality, resulting in a passive and compliant workforce. The EACH model advises that HR works best in the format of an adult-to-adult working relationship.

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to anything else, so why should HR be treated the same way. In treating employees like humans, it allows people to develop their own knowledge of right and wrong and trust in managers judgement.

The EACH framework explains that creating policies to prevent misbehaviour from the small percentage of potential ‘bad apples’ within a business means that you’re excessively patronising everyone else in the organisation.

Low-touch policy

The process of reinventing policy and cutting down unneeded rules, increases employee trust and morale, positively benefitting both the employee and organisation.

  • Assess the current landscape

Review and assess your SME’s current policies, their effectiveness and determine improvement.

  • Understand your SME’s identity

Develop an understanding of your goals and values to ensure your policy changes will fit with the vision fro your organisation.

  • Involve employees

Employee feedback is valuable to the effective running of a company. How an employee engages with a policy decides how well it will be implemented.

  • Prioritise policies for reinvention

Isolating and focusing on key areas for change ensures more significant impact on employee well-being and success.

  • Simplify processes

SME’s often work with limited resources and time, so HR policies should be designed with efficiency in mind. Unnecessary and complex processes can overwhelm HR and employees, so streamlining the process is essential.

  • Communicate the changes

Working hand-in-hand with a simplified process, communicating the policy changes is instrumental for effective implementation. Conduct training programs to ensure employees and managers understand the new policies and know how to implement them effectively.

  • Monitor, evaluate and adapt

HR policies shouldn’t be set in stone. Monitor the effectiveness of each policy and adapt it when needed.

7 examples of low-touch HR policy approaches

  • Netflix’s expense policy is 5 words – “act in Netflix’s best interests”. They found that getting rid of a traditional expense policy meant that costs were lowered, and responsibility shifted to managers rather than HR.
  • Netflix also removed formal reviews, after realising that they were overly formal, ritualistic and didn’t achieve a lot. Instead, they encourage regular conversations between employees and managers about performance.
  • Harwood HR endorses a progressive approach to performance management, with managers having micro one 2 ones each week and simply asking employees: ‘what are you working on, how can I help and how are you feeling?’
  • Swiss Re’s hybrid working approach – is simply ‘own the way you work’. The company encourages staff to work where they’re most productive
  • Hubspot have no formal policies, just 3 words for their employees and board members to live by – ‘use good judgement‘.
  • Many businesses globally have adopted the ‘dress for your day’ policy, rather than stipulating a strict work dress code.
  • Soundstripe offer simple, clear guidelines for their staff, such as ‘please don’t come into work throwing up, please take a vacation, often’.

For more information about reinventing your HR policies
or any other employment related concern please get in touch.

Harwood HR – HR Consultants providing HR Consultancy and
HR Outsourced Services.  We provide clear, cost effective HR advice. For a
free consultation, please contact us on:

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