The Definition of a Procedures Manual

by Contributing Writer; Updated September 26, 2017

Procedures manuals provide instructions and directions for the day-to-day operation of a business venture. Procedures manuals are essential to ensure consistency and quality in products and services. Every business interest from the single entrepreneur to small ventures or large corporations should have a procedures manual for each staff member as part of the written job description. Procedures manuals also provide a written response for contingencies or solutions for common problems. The solutions ensure that common problems have the same response each time.

Solutions and Specific Instructions

Procedures manuals that relate to a staff member's job performance requirements ensure that if and when a new staff member is hired the job performance will be exactly the same. When staff members are absent due to illness or vacation the employee taking over the position will be able to perform according to policy by utilizing the procedures manual.

Quick Reference

Procedures manuals provide a quick reference when there is a question or problem. The development of a procedures manual for each staffed position, product or service provides necessary consistency and takes the place of word of mouth, which is consistently unreliable. Revisions to the procedures manual are generally conducted every time a new position, product or service is introduced to the organization. Each procedures manual includes a table of contents, a glossary of terms and copies of forms used in the performance of a task.

Creating a Procedures Manual

Without documented solutions, instructions and directions there would be no uniformity in business. The best presentation for a procedures manual is a binder, usually one with three rings. Procedures manuals tend to contain at least 100 pages. Illustrations for the manual may be created with a digital camera. Business managers determine the information to be included in the procedures manual by developing an outline and requesting input from each person in the department that the procedures manual will affect. Employees of specific departments have knowledge of problems and issues that commonly occur in that department.

Expert Advice

Managers creating a procedures manual also seek guidance from experts who have a proven track record providing solutions and developing procedures and policies. A team of professionals, each with a specific task, documents in writing a business organization's policies and procedures for the manual. Every procedure in the procedures manual should be worked through before it is included in the procedures manual. Working through each procedure allows the team an opportunity to see just how effective the proposed solution will be.

Graphics in a Procedures Manual

Photos are included in procedures manuals, especially if multiple steps are required to perform a task. People will often respond better to written instructions or directions supported by images or illustrations.