Guest Post by Ted Smith, HR Consultant and Author of Human Resources A to Z

Way too many line managers rely on the ‘rules’ contained in their company handbook or online policy portal. I guess there is comfort sticking to the rules and responding with the classic line “I can’t make an exception for you or anyone, the flood gates would open.”

Worse still, too many Human Resources (HR) people back them up and fight to preserve the rules. When responding to a single problem that has arisen they write a new rule forbidding anyone from taking that action again, and then impose it across the board.  No wonder HR is often seen as the internal police.

Much of this stems from teaching programmes in colleges, as new members of the HR profession learn about the importance of rules, the employment law that backs them up and how to avoid an error that will lead to a tribunal.

I was, for example, flabbergasted when I was told by my boss in local government that a guy could only have the afternoon off for the funeral of his Aunt, because that’s what the rules specified.  The fact that she had been his effective parent since his own mother died when he was age 2 counted for nothing!

I wanted to be able to challenge all this nonsense and yet the academic HR books we had to study, and the lectures we attended, kept pushing us back to the rules and procedures.  And that, in essence, is why I have now written an alternative view of the HR world for all people managers to dip in and out of.  It’s called ‘Human Resources A to Z, a Practical Field Guide for People Managers’, and it’s available to order now, with 25% of my royalties as the author going to Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity that has led the way in providing practical help.

You can dip in and out, pick up insider tips, and take confidence from hearing from someone who has challenged the status quo and avoided a tribunal!


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