There is nothing right or wrong in certain circumstances. You can follow the principles and practices that will fulfill your commercial needs, but common sense should also be applied in HR. If you do not have such sense, you cannot drive performance.

Policies and procedures are mere guidelines intended to serve fairness in the system. But many people do not understand that there is an HR dynamics which should be applied. Beyond policies and procedures, there is a need to act and respond quickly to business needs.

If a process does not serve the purpose of boosting performance, what is the use of having it? A CEO once told me, ''Get lost with your policy.'' He wanted to give a just-hired candidate a joining bonus. I objected because it was not part of the company policy. He asked me to change the policy. I told him it would take two weeks for the management committee to approve it, after which the business process department would amend and control the document.

The young CEO said such practice kills dynamism in the organization. He said, ''I have the authority to use my resources. As per delegation of authority (DOA), I can take a decision to approve up to Dh50 million. This DOA should also apply to people management.''

He was right. As the HR head, I should have taken the decision to appoint the candidate with a joining bonus and obtain approval later. Since I was used to following written HR policies, I resisted. I realized after that had we not appointed the person, we would have lost a potential candidate. Searching for a substitute would take another three months. Such long period would lead to potential loss in the company.

Policies should not limit anyone's ability to make decisions. The use of common sense should be encouraged. I told my staff not to worry about audit/compliance, but to act like a business partner to serve the business. I know internal audit would write a non-compliance report after three years, but I am not worried because I did not harm the company.
  • HR policies make businesses stronger, workplaces better
  • Policies must not limit anyone's ability to make decisions
  • Aside from HR practices, common sense is also encouraged
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Source: Dr. Pon Mohaideen Pitchai, Special to Jobs & Careers

The writer is a Dubai-based HR and Management Consultant
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