Essential Documents & Policies every HR Department should have

By Savithri Subramanian
Essential Documents & Policies every HR Department should have

The human resource department plays a significant role in strategically aligning the business administration of the entire organization. In the past few years, HR has become the backbone of the organizations. Human resources play an essential role in developing a company’s strategy as well as handling the employee-centered activities of an organization. To make sure that your business administration is smooth and the internal control system is strong, every HR should create policies to help people to get guidance and document all activities and events related to the organization.

HR documents act as proof or evidence and play a very important role since these documents describe the processes and procedures of every activity of the HR which, when in doubt, can be referred to at a later stage by the HR personnel.  Also, when managers change in the organization, these documentations will come handy to the new manager to know about the team members of the department. Even HR personnel change. The newly appointed personnel might need to refer to the documents when decisions need to be taken to give promotions, transfers or even make any disciplinary moves.

We will now enumerate documents and policies which the HR should document.Documents as an HR in different roles:

The growing cut-throat competition for the people possessing requisite knowledge, skills and experience has made the job like a war. HR managers are expected to use their experience to good effect while laying down lucrative career paths to new hires without increasing the financial burden to the company.  The recruitment process has many steps like selecting the candidate, interviewing, screening, selection, induction, and finally onboarding the selected candidate with variations as per hierarchy. Manpower hiring documentation should be done in consultation with the Business heads/department heads.

All these processes need to be recorded in official documents to keep a track of how and where the process is heading. Various documents need to be documented for the recruitment process depending on the requirement of the job profile. Some of them are as follows.

Job Description
Recruitment Tracker
Candidate Evaluation Form
Background & Reference Check Guide
Offer Letter
Onboarding formalities
Employment Agreement and contract

Job Profile:

Documentation of the organization’s job profile is a must for the HR department.  It gives a detailed explanation of every job with the department and line of hierarchy. This helps the HR personnel to have a clear idea of the necessities of a specific job. They can design the document consulting with the line managers or reporting authorities.

Employee Handbook:


An employee handbook is also known as an employee manual, staff handbook, or company policy manual. It is a manual that lists policies and procedures, legal information like employment policies, anti-harassment policies, as well as the expected level of safety for employees in the organization is added in the handbook. Generally, it is handed over to an employee on the first day of employment. It helps new employees to learn about the company rules, policies, culture, and values.

Performance Appraisal Documents:

Performance Management System is the key driving force to employee’s productivity, development, rewards and awards thus making appraisal an integral part of a company’s system. Creating a standardized and uniform format to define performance and in setting goals across various levels of employees. Performance appraisals are ideally conducted two or three times in a year and the annual one decides evaluation of a compilation of parameters.

Following are some of the Performance appraisal document:

Performance Management Process
Employee self-evaluation form
Performance Review
Employee satisfaction ratings
Performance Improvement Plan
Performance Appraisal Letter
Performance Warning Letter

Leave & Attendance:

Leave and attendance of an employee is as vital as his salary and perks to him and they are directly linked to his compensation and appraisals. A well-structured leave system needs to be worked out by HR keeping in mind the festivals and religious sentiment of the employees.  Organizations opt to keep two leaves in a year as optional holidays where the employees can adjust holidays as per their decision.  All related documents need to be documented by HR.

Employee Compensation & Benefits Documentation:

Every employee expects a return for their contributions.  This is given as a package in the form of salary, perks and other benefits.  There should be no misunderstanding or mistake in what is given by the employer and expected by the employee.  The compensation is decided at the time of hire by the HR and conveyed before the employee joins the organization.  These need to be documented to protect themselves from lawsuits, such as wrongful termination claims.

The employee compensation module contains the following documents:

Salary Structure
Components of the Compensation package
Bonus Calculation
Increment Calculation
TDS Calculation
Salary Slips
ITR Declaration

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Statutory Documents:

Maintaining essential statutory document records are significant for satisfying the statutory disclosure purposes. Changes in these statutory brought about by the governing authorities need to be updated from time to time. Alignment with the finance department will be useful for the HR department to get the HRMS also updated. Keeping up such records helps in guaranteeing that the activities of the business are systematic.

Following are essential statutory documents that need to be maintained by an organization:

CESIC New Wage Ceilinge
Wage Ceiling under EPF Act
Payment of Gratuity Act
Professional Tax
Statutory Forms
Rules for Statutory Deductions Exemptions Perquisites-Payroll

Essential Documents & Policies every HR Department should have

Training & Development:

Training & Development is the first step the HR takes to improve the growth of the organization. When the HR hires an employee, apart from the educational qualification the employee may bring experience from his previous job or if he is fresher then, he needs to be trained. Some existing employees might need to sharpen their skills or might need specific skills in their job roles. Many times, managers recommend training during the appraisal.
Training ensures employees are aligned, evaluated, and developed in order to keep pace with the company’s goals. Training is a much-specialized arena of any HR Department and needs objectives to be defined, processes set, delivered, and results measured.

Essential checklist for Training:

Training Manuals
Training Calendar and suitable sessions to employees
Training Need Analysis.
Training Assessment Form
Training Requisition Form
Performance Evaluation Report as an Input for Training
Training Study Material.

Disciplinary actions:

The human resource must formulate documents and policies for various disciplinary actions that may be needed in case of any occurrence of sexual harassment, misconduct, fraud etc. Human resources often document the employee handbook with legal information like employment policies, anti-harassment policies, as well as the expected level of safety for employees in the organization.  Disciplinary action in the form of a verbal warning, a written warning, a suspension, loss of privileges. transfers or termination can be uncomfortable for both the employee and the manager.

All these warnings need to be ready on template form so that not much time is wasted in mulling over it.

Employee Termination and Policies:

An employee may leave a company for various reasons, ranging from not fitting into the work culture to getting a better opportunity elsewhere. In some cases, they could be terminated due to poor performance. The HR should have policies and documents to manage the employee separation process when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off. An employer has to follow a specific procedure as given in the exit process of the company to ensure a smooth process for both the employer and the employee.

Following are the Important HR documents that come handy during the exit process:

Leaving Formalities
Relieving Letter templates
Exit Interview
Clearance Form—Assets belonging to the organisation
Full & Final Settlement

Employee Engagement initiatives:

There is a lot of effort put in by the HR personnel in selecting an appropriate employee for a post in the company which also includes financial burden. When the turnover of the employee is high it adds burden to the team, the department, the company and to the customers or vendors too. Employee Engagement initiatives planned by HR to keep people together also makes the workplace exciting, rewarding and engaging.

Since this is an on-going process like any other activity, HR should research and document employee engagement ideas along with feedbacks on the earlier activities held.

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