How to Write a Policy Document

by Janette Iachini; Updated September 26, 2017

Policies reflect the "rules" governing the implementation of processes. In other words, a policy, according to thefreedictionary.com, is "a plan of action; a course or method of action that has been deliberately chosen and that guides or influences future decisions." A policy guides a company or organization's employees toward proper work behaviors and ethics. Policies are as individual as the company. One company may have a policy for dress code; another company may not care about attire, but does have a policy for personal use of cell phones during company time.

Step 1

Write a policy statement. Identify the desired behavior and to whom the policy applies. Identify who is responsible to monitor adherence. Identify how and to whom appeals are to be made should a disagreement arise.

Step 2

Write the procedure. This section of a policy document is to inform an employee or organization member of their responsibilities and duties. Outline in detail the entire policy procedure. Include how it is to be applied, what are exemptions from the requirements of the policy, how misunderstandings and infractions are to be rectified, and how long the policy shall remain in effect. The main purpose of a detailed policy document is to avoid confusion by stating what is expected in specific situations. A detailed policy lessens the risk of conflict and removes the opportunity for unfair selective application of rules. Other significant information to include in this step is an effective policy date, job titles, revision dates, and the policy and procedure approval signatures from the CEO or authorized personnel.

Step 3

Make revisions. A policy is contingent on the needs of the company or organization at the time it was made. If the company or organization amends a policy and procedure, the manual must state the new amendment. Not only must the policy and procedure change be listed in the manual, but the employees or members must be aware of any new changes.

Tips

  • Policies are developed for preventive purposes in the workplace. Policies and procedures define the responsibilities of an employee and the disciplinary action for violators. Sexual harassment and racial/gender discrimination are two issues many companies or organizations can prevent using a well-defined policy document.

About the Author

Jan Iachini has an Ed.D., M.Ed., BSHPE, ACSM HFI, is the owner of UTEST, and is a basic writing instructor at UCC in Oregon. She has been writing professionally since 2003, and her published work can be found in "Occupational, Health and Safety" magazine, eHow, and Bill Sims Corporation. She tutors students in reading and writing.