How to Write Policies, Procedures & Protocols

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Businesses, individual contractors and nonprofit organizations build policy statements to express the guidelines governing the execution of and participation in their services. These policies establish protocols and set parameters to which all who enter into contract with or visit a location must adhere. The crafting of these policies begins with input from all organizational entities, in addition to establishing a direct correlation to company goals. For policy writers, research, preparation and decisions regarding formats and distribution dominates the bulk of the protocol-writing process.

Prepare to write. Gather note-taking materials, secure a designated computer or word processor and choose a space to conduct the bulk of the writing. In addition, choose the policy or protocol's primary language while considering wording style and the font types for the policy document.

Conduct a meeting with key personnel for input on the creation of a new policy or document. For example, physical security policy parameters require both a human resources representative and security personnel to provide their views on policy requirements. Take meeting minutes for use in creating policies or protocols from information gathered.

Evaluate the company or service mission. Use the language and application of the company mission as a guide for the overall tone of the policy or protocol. For example, the repetition of careful planning and reporting measures holds significant importance for policy makers within the industrial safety community.

Research the audience. Count the number of clients, contractors or employees that constitute the primary audience for the policy document. Identify the work- or business-related location of these individuals to determine location and distribution requirements. In addition, review employee job descriptions and contracts for possible inclusion in the policy document.

Review the physical layout of the workplace or business space. Document the dimensions, existing traffic ways and dedicated areas, such as restrooms and employee lounges, for use in the creation of an environmental and safety portion of the protocol document. Contact outside agencies, such as the local fire department or occupational safety organization, to determine requirements such as maximum capacity limits and mandatory fire safety devices.

Review existing company documents. Gather all existing company policy letters, previous protocol manuals and service-related documents for use in constructing a new policy and procedure document. Identify outdated information and update essential data as needed. For forms requiring official signatures, locate the original signer or an appropriate replacement or surrogate. Properly dispose of outdated data that may still contain sensitive information.

Research product safety and usage. Product distributors, retailers or manufacturers must research the proper usage and safety measures of a sold or manufactured product. Add this information to the procedural section of the services policy manuals while presenting safety and emergency data. Add safe handling and disposal data for items existing as or containing hazardous material.

Create multiple formats. Book and electronic versions of the policy or protocol provide convenience for the document's audience. Electronic policy documents allow readers to conveniently review the policy from multiple locations. In addition, book or hard copy format provides a physical version for quick review when necessary.