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Policies and procedures, when written, provide managers and employees guidelines for fair, uniform, logical and legal treatment of everyone in an organization or company. Policies set out the rules, and procedures provide ways in which the policies should be implemented.
Why Policies and Procedures Are Needed
Policies and procedures provide the basis for consistent behavior regardless of the status or length of tenure of the people implementing them. They offer the opportunity for quicker responses to questions or concerns about “what to do.” Because they provide for relative uniformity, they make greater accountability possible. Policies and procedures also help to ensure actions are legal and timely.
Five-Step Plan for Creating Them
Step one requires a study of any past or present policies and procedures. It’s wise to look at what others are doing in this area to see what may be missing, especially if your organization or company differs in a significant way. Those who will be responsible for monitoring the policies and procedures, and the people affected by them, should be interviewed.
In the second step, armed with the latest data, the new, or revised, policies and procedures need to be formulated and distributed. Step three is the implementation phase. If staff training is required, this is the time to conduct it. Over time, step four seeks to evaluate what has been implemented so that changes, if needed, can be made.
The final step, based on ongoing evaluations of the policies and procedures, and changes in the environment, consists of updating so the process remains current. New state or federal laws may be passed or new regulations promulgated.
Human Resources Policies and Procedures
The human resources department is high on the list for required implementation. Recruitment, hiring and firing, personnel performance review, time and attendance, and vacation are but a few of the important areas that must be covered. Included will surely be sexual harassment concerns, consultants and fringe benefits.
Other Areas That May Require Policies and Procedures
Payroll, accounting and financial departments require policies and procedures. Inventory, supply and purchasing; computers, intranet and Internet; customer service, product safety and recall; security, disaster recovery; and sales and marketing are surely additional areas needing policies and procedures.
Numerous commercial and not-for-profit companies on the Internet offer you templates that have appropriate language in many areas. Rather than reinventing the wheel, using something already written as a basis for your policies and procedures makes sense. This saves you time, increases the likelihood that important areas will be included and helps to ensure that legal requirements are met.
If you can obtain the policies and procedures of organizations or companies engaged in the same enterprise as yours, this would be helpful.
No one source should be considered totally relevant or reliable. The more examples you can find, the better your policies and procedures are likely to be.
Roy Sylvan has a Ph.D. in communication studies. He directed a large city department of aging, was COO of a consulting company and provided management training to companies and nonprofits. Writing for more than 40 years, Sylvan has authored articles in trade journals, magazines and blogs, and wrote a how-to book on starting a business.