Is there an effective way to deal with these kind of situations where "company policies" get in the way of you getting a raise?
No. In large companies, these policies are always concocted by people far distant from the front lines. Neither you nor your boss will be able to change them. The closest you might get will be to redefine your job with a new title. This is why many companies have job titles like "Business Analyst 3" so as to provide different pay bands for different levels of skill/talent/ability.
In the case of my current employer , the only way to get more than a 3% raise was to quit and then get rehired. This was something done by most of the developers here. In my case, the pointy haired boss liked to lowball new hires , knowing full well that raises were almost impossible to get . Quitting to work as a contractor yielded a $30k/year raise for myself .
These policies lead to people whining "we can't get qualified people" . They are really saying "we can't get people to work at the wage we are willing to pay" . There is really nothing that you, or your boss, can do to change the policies, so you'll have to vote with your feet. Or decide that there are more important things than money .
In some cases, the appeal to remote authority (perhaps a "policy" or "mean" executive) is a way for your boss to say "no" without sounding "mean" to you . The only way to deal with this situation is to always be ready to move on.
1 - It is a privately owned company in the Fortune 500.
2 - Married new hires would automatically get $10k/year more than an equally qualified single worker.
3 - Unless there was a policy that year saying "people getting more than $X don't get raises this year", then everyone would get a 3% raise. Even people about to be fired for cause would get 2% raises.
4 - When hired back, I didn't get to stay at the new level, but basically I get about $20k/year more than I did when quitting about 1 year previously.
5 - Our office makes products that need lots of business domain knowledge. Even after "bridging" (where my absense was ignored/bridged to be the same [for some benefits] as if I never left, at "6 years" I am the lowest "seniority" person in this office. Many people have been working for this corporation for up to 19 years. They knew I left for more money, and with a recent deathmarch, they need folks who know what the product is and what the business is.
6 - Generally, when CEOs whine about a perceived shortage of talent, they are lobbying the government to save the businesses from the free market; they want talent but without paying the market wages for such talent.
7 - In one co-worker's case, he values time off more than high wages, even though he is the highest paid developer here.
8 - In the worst cases, this sort of appeal is done because the boss does not like filling out the paperwork and uses this as an excuse to avoid work.