How to Develop Policies

Policy development is one of the most important aspects of a business, because policies establish a framework from which to build a solid foundation for business success. The guidance and structure that organizational policies provide can make or break a company. Workplace policies are a requirement for promoting job satisfaction, employee engagement and productivity. As a result, your company policies can have a significant impact on your business reputation, ability to attract qualified talent and retain high-performing employees.

Read company materials about organizational philosophy, mission and values. Review the code of ethics for your organization, which should be based on the professional code of ethics for your field and business ethics that specifically apply to your company practices.

Assemble existing workplace policies to determine which you can keep and which will need updating, pursuant to labor and employment laws, business regulations, improved technology and your workforce size.

Conduct research on policy development through reading trade and business journals, entrepreneurial seminar materials, professional association newsletters and online resources for federal, state and local government regulations. Network with professional counterparts from similar business entities or develop your own network of similarly-situated human resources experts who may be developing their own policies for startup businesses.

Contact local universities that support business incubators. Groups such as Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) utilize the expertise of retired business owners and entrepreneurs who can help with policy development and implementation. In addition to local colleges and universities, contact business and entrepreneur support groups that facilitate an exchange of ideas among professionals responsible for policy development.

Analyze your workforce, looking at factors like number of employees, departments, management-to-staff ratio and organizational structure. Incorporate these factors in drafting organization-wide policies, followed by department-specific policies.

Focus on employment policies based in part on labor and employment laws that regulate fair employment practices. Research human resources best practices for organizations that set the bar for developing effective workplace policies. Locate online resources for examples of industry-specific policies and workplace recommendations that similar companies use.

Begin constructing your organization's policy handbook, as well as a handbook that contains employee policies. Depending on the size of your workforce, it may be possible to address both organizational and workplace policies in one handbook. Construct workplace policies in a manner that allow some room for interpretation; every workplace situation is different, and a one-size-fits-all policy cannot address every workplace concern.

Discuss your draft policies with executive leadership and human resources staff. This ensures you cover all bases and areas that require structure and guidance for the company to be productive and profitable. Conduct a review of all draft policies and gain input from experts in every area of the organization. Upon completion of the draft policy review, refine your draft and reconvene the human resources and leadership teams to prepare for finalizing the policies and plan for implementation.

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About the Author

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.