Types of Personnel Policies

These may be classified into several categories depending on (1) their source (originated appealed and imposed) (2) scope (general or specific) and (3) from (within or implied). These may be stated thus:

Originated policies: These are established by top management deliberately so as to guide executive thinking at various levels.

Appealed policies: These are formulated to meet the requirements of certain peculiar situations which have not been covered by the earlier policies. Such requests usually came from subordinates who fail to handle the cases based on guidance offered be existing policies.

Imposed policies: These are formed under pressure from external agencies such as government trade associations and unions.

General policies: They reflect the basic philosophy and priorities of the top management in formulating the brand plan for mapping out the organization’s growth chart.

Specific policies: These policies cover specific issues each as hiring, rewarding and bargaining. Such policies, however, should be in line with the basic framework offered by the general policies.

Written or implied policies: implied policies are inferred from the behavior of members (such as dress code, gentle tone while talking to customers not getting angry while at work etc) written policies on the other hand, spell out managerial thinking on paper so that there is very
little room for loose interpretation.

Advantages of Personnel Policies:

Policies as useful instructional devices offer many advantages to the personnel working at various levels. These are:

Delegation: They help managers operating at different levels to act with confidence without the need for consulting superiors every time.

Uniformity: they increase the chances of different people at different levels of the organization making similar choices, when independently facing similar situations. They make the actions of organizational members more consistent.

Better control: As personnel policies specify the relationship shared between the organization, management and its employees, they allow members to work towards achievements of the objectives of the organization without friction / conflict paving the way for better control.

Standards of efficiency: Policies can also serve as standards in the execution of work. They enable the management to see if they have been translated into action by various groups in the organization or not. In the light of actual performance existing policies may be subjected to amendments / refinement.

Confidence: Policies make the employees aware of where they stand in the organization and create confidence in them while controlling routine and recurring problems. They reduce chances of misinterpretation, misrepresentation and friction.

Speedy decisions: Policies can speed up decision making by providing a blanket framework within which personnel decisions can be made. They summarize past experience.

Coordinating devices: personnel policies help in achieving coordination. If organizational members are guided by the same policies they can predict more accurately the actions and decisions of others.

They ensure a steady course of action and prevent unwarranted deviations from planned operations.

In the absence of a policy, similar questions must be considered time after time. Lack of policy means the organization has established no continuing position. Despite their usefulness personnel policies are not always easy to formulate and implement. A number of hurdles come in the way.

Obstacles in Administering Personnel Policies:

The factors which obstruct the implementation of personnel policies are:

1) Many times managers are reluctant to follow policy guidelines, for they restrict the scope of managerial work and curtail executive freedom.
2) Often conflicts erupt between implied and expressed policy statements especially on employment matters. For example, a policy of promoting employees on the basis of merit only (expressed) may be sabotaged by unscrupulous managers by promoting yes men (implied).
3) Personnel policies demand constant revision, modification and restructuring. However, they are characterized inertia. Once established they persist and become unalterable. In the absence of review, and appraisal it would be difficult to break the cycle and effect a desirable policy change.
4) Since policies grant freedom to managers as to what is to be done in a particular situation there is always the danger of some managers strictly adhering to the policy rhetoric and others deviating from the path excessively . A manager may be more liberal than was originally intended and vice versa. In general, the extra margin of liberty may or may not prove to be an investment in the long run.