Policies and Procedures: Your Guidelines To Success
Policies and procedures manuals are the backbone of many successful companies. They often outline the proper behavior and processes that each member of the organization should follow to ensure that the organization runs smoothly, efficiently, and successfully. On top of ensuring organizations implement consistent processes and structures, these manuals make sure organizations stay compliant with relevant laws and regulations.
In this blog, The Write Direction will aim to shed light on the purpose of policy and procedures and their importance to every organization. Budding businesses might not know how important these documents are and want to know more. As one of the leading business and technical writing service providers in the North American region, The Write Direction will also provide you answers to the difference between policy and procedure. Read through until the end to know who your organization can trust when it comes to getting a tailor-made policy or procedure manual!
Importance of Policies and Procedures Manuals and How To Implement Them
Policy and procedure manuals are essential for any business that wants to keep a consistent and smooth workflow. In other words, these manuals keep your organization a well-oiled machine that runs without a hitch. When your organization and its members follow these manuals, it breeds efficiency, growth, and the ability to achieve goals. Without implementation though, these manuals are simply words on paper and will do your organization no good unless it is followed by all members. It would be better to view these manuals as less like rules and more as guidelines for the good of the whole organization.
To better implement a policy and procedure in the workplace here are certain things employees can do:
- Make policy and procedure manuals accessible to allWhat your employees don’t know, they can’t follow. It’s important to make sure that when you onboard every new employee to make your unique policy and procedure manual known to them. Since everything is now digital, we would suggest uploading your old employee handbooks that have been collecting dust online where it’s more accessible. Having these important manuals available online also makes it easier for employees to refer to them anytime and anywhere without having hard copies.
- Hold training courses for all employeesTraining courses are the best way to introduce your company’s core values and policies to new and even current employees. Reading the manual is one thing and it’s another to know how to put it to practice. Training courses should not only be a prerequisite for new hires, it should be an ongoing process for every member of the organization so that everyone can get on the same productivity, proficiency, and performance level.
- Assess the comprehension of employees
To ensure the effectiveness of the training courses of your company, it would also be best to test the comprehension of your employees afterward. Some employees may simply sign off on certain documents without thoroughly reading and understanding what’s on the fine print. You can hold interactive quizzes and make these tests more dynamic to make sure your company’s rules and regulations are understood and will be followed through.
- Promote accountabilityThe implementation of any policy or procedure within a company starts at the very top. Employees look up to their superiors for structure which means every member of the organization should consistently follow the manuals. The organization should also conduct disciplinary reviews in order to promote accountability for all.
- Consistently evaluate current policies and proceduresIt’s quite possible that a company’s policy and procedures aren’t practiced well because they are incomplete or outdated. It’s important to keep these manuals current and relevant. These manuals should reflect any shift within the organization or the industry so that it remains compliant with all regulations. Every update made to the existing manuals must be known to all members of the organization so that everyone stays on the same page.
When the ways of implementing the company’s policy and procedures are clearer, it can be better communicated to all its importance which are:
When your organization follows through with consistent policies and procedures, it keeps the operations from descending to chaos. Having all the members of an organization follow the same customs and regulations, allows for operations to run a lot more smoothly.
The goal of any successful operational business is to run and utilize its resources efficiently. When an organization sets clear processes, anytime mistakes are made, they can be easily identified and corrected. With all these regulations set, there will be little to no room for error.
As every team member of the organization follows a routine, they will be more consistent in their practices. It will be clear to each and every employee what their responsibilities are, what is expected of them, and what they can expect from their teammates are higher-ups. A consistent policy and procedure promotes confidence within everyone in the organization which creates more room for success.
For your business to be able to provide top-tier services, following a definite policy and procedure is imperative. A well-written policy and procedure manual serves as the guide that ensures operational tasks are executed correctly at all times. When guidelines are followed, your business goals are achieved and met with the highest of standards.
Because policies and procedures are designed to optimize business workflows, employees and managers can perform their duties with no wasted effort. With an efficient workflow in place, employees can dedicate more time, energy, and attention to quality service.
Safe Working Conditions
Not only are policies and procedures put in place for the benefit of the company and the consumers they intend to reach, but they are also made to protect employees. When followed, policy and procedure manuals ensure that accidents or unwanted incidents are unlikely to occur.
A defining feature of a policy and procedure manual is its compliance with regulatory laws. Creating your own business means complying with industry standards is inviolable. Risk management strategies are embedded in procedure manuals. On a greater scale, these manuals protect the employees and the business from legal issues, financial penalties, and damage to their reputations.
Policy Vs Procedures
You might be wondering what the difference between a policy and a procedure manual is so here’s the rundown of everything you need to know. For the most part, both ensure seamless operations for the business and basically keep everything within the company in check. However, these two manuals are not synonymous with each other despite them both being referred to together. Here’s what you need to know to know the procedures and policies definition.
What Is In A Policy Document
Every kind of institution, company, or business that is composed of a team of people follows its own uniquely written policy manual, but what is a policy manual? A policy manual is a document that contains every important information an employee would need to adhere to the company’s governing principles, policies, protocols, and practices.
A policy manual is also sometimes known as an employee handbook or policy handbook. This manual is important for employees to have a reference guide as to how to conduct themselves in alliance with the institutions they become a part of.
There are key components that are unique to a policy manual which include:
- Introduction – To outline the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture. This is important to acquaint new employees with the unique customs of the company and help them acclimate to their new work environment.
- Employment Policies – This clause informs new and current employees about hiring processes, onboarding processes, different job classifications, and varying employment statuses.
- Code Of Conduct – The code of conduct makes it clear to all employees what is expected of them behavior-wise, ethics, and professionalism. It informs employees of the norms that should be followed.
- Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy – To protect every employee, anti-discrimination and harassment policies are put in place to prevent and address unfavorable events in the workplace.
- Compensation and Benefits – For transparency, this clause informs employees of all the details regarding salaries, wages, benefits, and compensation-related policies. It will not disclose specific members’ salaries but will inform everyone of policies regarding overtime, bonuses, and raises.
- Work Hours and Attendance – To ensure all employees remain punctual, it’s important to specify policies on work schedules, attendance, and how to request for time off and how often they can do so.
- Leave and Time-Off – This informs employees of leaves they are entitled to which include vacation leaves, sick leaves, bereavement leaves, and holidays.
- Health and Safety – To maintain a safe working environment, there are specific guidelines set which include safety protocols and emergency procedures.
- Employee Benefits – Every company offers different benefits to its employees and this clause specifies what employees are entitled to including health insurance and retirement plans among others.
- Performance Evaluations – This informs employees how often performance evaluations are held, and what the procedures are and informs them of who will be responsible for giving feedback and creating development plans.
- Termination and Resignation – This clause informs employees of the guidelines regarding how the company ends employment relationships. It also includes allowable notice periods and exit procedures.
- Technology and Communication – This section specifies the proper use of technology and office equipment. It also specifies policies regarding the use of the internet and social media within office premises.
- Confidentiality and Data Security – This section is important to safeguard sensitive information that is stored by the company. To ensure the safety of an institution’s database, policies on confidentiality and data security are put in place.
- Workplace Policies – These are the rules regarding dress code and other specific workplace issues like smoking, alcohol, and drug use.
- Grievance and Complaint Procedures – So employees can feel safer, there are policies put in place so employees know the steps to address their concerns and where to report grievances.
- Acknowledgment and Agreement – To ensure that employees completely understand the guidelines set for them, there is a section for them to acknowledge that they fully read, understood, and will comply with all the terms and conditions outlined in the manual.
What Is In A Procedure Manual
There are plenty of benefits of having a procedure manual, which includes improving employee productivity, improving in-house communication, defining employee expectations, maintaining the safety and sanity of the whole team, and reducing onboarding and training time.
A procedure manual is also known as the operations manual and it outlines instructions and guidelines as to how employees can properly perform tasks by being given information on processes within the organization.
Policies and procedures differ in the sense that policies focus on general rules and regulations while a procedure manual is more detailed and specific. It provides all employees with the information they need to carry out their duties and responsibilities while adhering to the company’s proper processes.
The components of a procedure manual are:
- Detailed Instructions – When employees are given complete instructions, they are more likely to complete their tasks efficiently and correctly. There are simple and complex instructions given to employees to ensure nothing is missed.
- Consistency – Procedure manuals help with consistency. Outlining the guidelines for a consistent work process reduces the risk of errors and ensures a successful outcome all the time.
- Training and Onboarding – Procedure manuals inform new employees of everything they need to know to carry out their specific tasks. This section is a structured guide that teaches their employees about their responsibilities.
- Reference Material – Policy manuals exist to constantly remind employees of processes and procedures to follow. It acts as a reference guide any time employees are unsure or have doubts about certain tasks.
- Standardization – Procedure manuals allow for standardization which is crucial for industries that follow strict quality control requirements.
- Compliance – Procedure manuals make sure the company complies with industry standards, regulations, safety standards, and quality control procedures.
- Troubleshooting – In the event of issues, challenges, and even mistakes, procedure manuals outline troubleshooting processes to address and be ready in case of problems.
Types of Policy and Procedure Manuals In The Workplace
Not all policies and procedures outlined in one company can be used in another. Each organization expects different things from its employees. Regardless if an organization is in the same industry, they might not adhere to the same rules which is why it’s important to keep yourself updated on the unique policy and procedure manual that the institution you’re in has written. Here are other examples:
Workplace culture differs across all industries, companies, and even departments. Workplace procedures are applied within the workplace as rules for employees to follow. Not only that, they also contain information for employees who might be embarking on new projects and also range to processes for hiring new employees.
A leave policy informs employees of the process of requesting a leave of absence. It contains information like the acceptable reasons to request a leave, how far in advance they need to book their leave, and who to approach in the event of an emergency. There are also various types of leave like sick leave, vacation leave, and bereavement leave. The policy also outlines how many days off an employee is entitled to and the possible repercussions of not following the policy.
This is an example of a policy that doesn’t apply across different organizations. A relocation policy is set in place to let employees know about the process of moving offices or how to apply for positions that require them to relocate to other locations.
Employee Benefits Policy
Different companies offer various employee benefits so it’s best to put them all in one place where employees can refer to them any time they need to. There are benefits such as the cycle-to-work scheme which is a tax exemption initiative by the UK government. And then there are more general benefits that apply across many countries, industries, and companies like maternity and paternity leave, and paid-training benefits.
Organization Culture Policy
It is often helpful for companies to explicitly document their expectations from their employees and even put in writing the acceptable behaviors and demeanors expected when interacting with colleagues.
Employee Referral Policy
Some companies have employee referral policies which means they can get compensated for referring people for open positions in the company. The employee referral policy also informs employees of the process to follow when recommending someone for a specific role.
Team Outing Policy
Companies sometimes conduct team-building activities that are held outside of the office or they could need to travel for work so there are also specific policies that are written for employees to stay informed of the proper way to conduct themselves while outside their usual working environments.
Human resource policies are made up of smaller policies that govern how an organization handles all personnel. It ranges from how employees can make a complaint to what the disciplinary measures are when employees break rules and regulations.
Remote Working Procedure
There are companies that allow a work-from-home setup a few days out of the week or month, while there are companies that operate completely remote. Remote working procedures act as a guide for employees on how to conduct themselves, what tools to work with, and even policies on remote meetings.
How To Write A Policy and Procedure Manual
According to Indeed, there are 7 steps you can follow if you want to write your own policy and procedure manual.
- Identify What Your Goals AreIn creating your company’s policy and procedure manual, you need to clarify what you aim to accomplish by creating your company’s guidelines. You can do so by evaluating your business’s objectives and branching out to what the role of each department is in helping achieve those goals. By using the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goal framework and collaborating with other team members, you can easily identify your goals.
- List Down Company Tasks and ProcessesThe next step is to identify all the activities, tasks, and processes to easily break down what needs to have written policy and procedure. You can start crafting the policies by considering what challenges employees could face in following company processes and write down the safe process to follow and solutions they could use. Formalizing tasks and processes will vary depending on your company’s industry and you’ll also need to consider industry best practices.
- Choose A Policy FormatThere are two ways of choosing a policy format. You can either develop a policy format of your own or you could adhere to the specific formats that some industries require. You need to consider both the expectations and requirements of your company industry to write policies that are in accordance with your specific field.
- Write Your Policies and ProceduresWriting the policy and procedure manual for your company can be done in a collaborative manner. As a team, you can decide on the appropriate language to use for each policy and procedure. It could also be helpful to delegate specific sections to the appropriate group or department that has more authority on the subject.
- Be Compliant
When drafting the policy and procedure manual, it’s important to keep in mind legal guidelines and regulations that should be followed. These parameters have been set to create safety and transparency across different organizations in the same industry. It’s important to be compliant with the law because it can regulate specific clauses within your policy and procedure manuals.
- Proofread and Revise AccordinglyAfter you successfully draft your policy and procedure manual, proofreading is necessary to find all the clauses and sections that need revisions. It could also be beneficial to have a different set of eyes of a third-party group to review what you’ve written and suggest some changes.
- Publish and Distribute To All Members of The OrganizationUpon completion, you should publish and distribute the manuals in a way that will be accessible to all the members of the organization. The classic way to do it is by printing the manuals like employee handbooks while it’s also a new best practice to make everything digitally accessible.
Choose The Write Direction For Your Business and Technical Writing Needs
There’s no need to look for a policies and procedures template when you can get a professional writer to create it for your organization. The Write Direction works closely with clients to get a good grasp of what their goals are and what they aim to achieve by creating their policies and their procedures.
Every order is unique and you could need our services for steps 1 or 7 when you need help publishing or proofreading what you already have. Regardless of any kind of business or technical writing you might have, The Write Direction has the perfect team for the job.