When Should Business Update Human Resource Policy? -

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Human Resource Policy, like ones on conduct at work or social media usage, are important documents in Businesses. How often should they be reviewed? Our HR team weighs in.  

The environments in which we work are constantly evolving to address social, economic, and financial changes. That is why if you ask an HR expert when the ideal time is to update workplace policy, they’re likely to tell you there is no ideal time.  

As it reflects reality, your employee manual and workplace policies should be living documents designed to get the best from your business, whether you’re restructuring, realigning your business goals, or making new ones.  They should help your team with decision making, and guide employees on how to conduct themselves at work. A firm that hasn’t updated their manual in the last 10 years isn’t likely to have policy on social media and phone usage in the workplace, making employees uninformed about what is expected of them. 

Why Regularly Update Human Resource Policy?

The foundation of any successful business is the people who work within it. Keeping your policies up to date promotes consistency, guidance, and fairness amongst your employees to help create a more positive company culture while minimizing confusion and internal division.  

Causes to Update Human Resource Policy


When your business is growing, you’re likely going to take on new staff, form new teams, maybe even add some external partners. It’s important to now take a moment to review your HR policies to make sure they’re still relevant to your current business situation.  

Any significant business growth requires review. Will existing policies make sense in a larger team? Will they ensure fairness across your organization? Most importantly, will they help your business achieve its goals? 

Brand Changes 

Your employee handbook can also reflect changes to the organization’s direction or business approach. When there is a change in brand language and the value proposition, this needs to be reflected internally as well. This consistency helps employees understand the company culture, values, and mission.  

Changes in Employment Law 

It’s important to note that when your employment laws change, your company policy should also be updated. All organizations are required to comply with the latest employment legislation, and to bring in the necessary changes in a timely manner.  

The consequences of failing to comply can be costly, so business owners should pay attention to local business publications and their ministry of labour to be aware when changes are coming. 

CPA Canada: What to Know When your Employees Work in Other Jurisdictions

After Incident or Policy Violations 

When there’s an incident or policy violation within a business, it’s a good idea to review the HR policies after the violation or incident to determine whether the policy and procedures were useful and appropriate for the situation or if changes need to be made to better address similar violations or incidents.  

Societal Changes 

Your organization must consider sociocultural shifts when updating policy. It’s recommended to annually review your company’s employee manual to ensure that it reflects the world around you.  

When to Update Human Resource Policy

If possible, each time new legislation passes that has implications for your business, a policy review should take place to avoid the risk of running into any compliancy issues. If you’re like most businesses and don’t have a team ready to drop everything and update polices at the shake of a hand, there are other best practices you can follow regarding workplace policy. As many workplace legislations take effect on the start of a new year, December or January are the ideal times to update policies. It’s best to never leave a policy in place for more than 3 years without review at the maximum, reviewing a minimum of once a year.  

To Conclude

Employee guides are important for any workplace to have by setting the tone for employee conduct, business direction, and the values and views of the organization. They’re not expected to have a plan for every issue under the sun, but they should cover legal requirements and as many issues that are predictable. 

Updates shouldn’t be overbearing to do, rather they should be encouraging. Think of it as a sign that your company is growing, your policy needs to grow in tandem. If you need help working on policies that will scale with your business, our experts have a wealth of knowledge in the area of policy development that will show you ways your company can grow. With all clients, no matter the size, we begin with an HR Health Check to ensure policies are up to date and compliant with legislation, working with owners to correct any shortcomings.

Learn About the HR Health Check