How to Write Polices and Procedures - Step-by-Step Guide
When it comes to writing policies and procedures, clients are like, “Looking for a writer to write policies and procedures within a day or two.” I am not kidding, I have seen such freelancing jobs several times on different websites.
People have a higher priority for website development and content writing, not realizing the fact that policies and procedures have equal importance. Instead of taking it for granted, there is a need to understand that these policies take fine experience and excellent organization skills.
What are Policy and Procedure?
Policy and Procedure may sound like interchangeable terms, but they actually are not.
The policy is the set of high-level guidelines on the basis of which the organization works and conducts its daily routine. It shapes the culture of an organization.
The procedure is the set of detailed instructions, implemented at a lower-level the policies, to achieve a certain goal and make the organization perform in a certain manner.
Policies and Procedures are the need of every business, without them the business may fail in a very short span of time. To conduct a legal work environment, an organization must be regularly guided with policies and procedures, through legal and regulatory compliance,
Why are they Important?
Companies, especially product-based, already know how much importance policies and procedures have in their daily execution. They help in:
- Consistency of task execution
- Limiting of human error
- Facilitating new members’ efficiency to complete the task with the same accuracy as exciting members.
Consider any successful company, you’ll see each of them follow certain procedures to deliver better results than the previous ones, such as Apple, Toyota, Volkswagen, and any other product-based company.
Here are some resources to help you begin with the implementation of policies and procedures:
Helpful Tips and Resources for Writing Policies and Procedures
You can find easy and quick help if you are only looking to write a few policies and procedures. In the case of writing a complete manual, you need great communication and training. Most importantly, your audience must follow them sincerely.
To help you out with that, there are numerous books, consultants and workshops available online.
You can also look for canned policy and procedure documents. If you wish to opt for this approach, then make sure to add the author’s credit.
The policies and procedures need to integrate the rules, guidelines, principles, and mission of an organization.
Outline Your Business Goal
1. Make a List of Goals
- Consider your major targets like sales, employees, and management
- At what level you want to see your business
- Write realistic, specific and attainable goals such as financial and employee performance goals
- Once you’re done, make sure to strictly commit to them. It’ll speak volume about your business reputation.
2. Make a List of Tasks and Procedures
- Consider the daily events, meetings, and duties conducted in your organization
- Write down all the necessary daily tasks and schedules
- Which tasks require formal directions and introductions
- Which process needs to be followed constantly in the same style
- Focus on the bigger picture, not on menial tasks
3. Make a List of Problems and Potential Solutions
- Consider the situations that may occur if there are no established policies in place
- Write about ideas that can help you handle those situations
- Issues can be anything related to daily business activities such as financial, employee interaction, customer satisfaction and employee interaction with each other and with customers
Write Business Policies
1. Make a List of Necessary Categories
- Consider categories for relevant issues you have found out in the early step
- Some examples of categories are pay, vacation, scheduling, safety, benefits, leave and discrimination
- You can easily figure out the most important issues of all and explain them in detail in your policies and procedures manual.
2. Make an Outline Format for Different Policies
- Outlines give you detailed aspects of each categorized policies
- Make use of numbers to put the categories in order
- Start with a brief for each policy and elaborate it after each policy is outlined.
3. Make a List of Consequences to handle policy breach
- Policies are needed to maintain the proper functionality of management and employees.
- They are also important to handle the situations where rules are broken or something went unplanned.
- Make sure to include necessary laws and tax policies to prevent any chances of harassment and discrimination in the work environment.
4. Make policies for Termination and Recruitment
- Termination is a legal matter. In any case, if there’s a need to fire an employee, you must have written policies to justify your point.
- Make policies for recruitment procedure as well to clearly state the needs of a background check before employment or giving a permanent employment status.
5. Make use of Active and Vivid Language
- Instead of using some or few, use exact figures
- Avoid passive voice
- Use Business English
- State clear points with no dual meaning words
1. Make a List of Complex Tasks
- Give complex tasks the higher priority since they need more detailing such as scheduling, payroll, etc.
- Consider which procedures are complex and lengthy to give them an appropriate outline
- Find out if there are any recent updates for a specific procedure
- Check if any procedure demands extra paperwork
- There might be some procedures that employees are confused about, figure them out and elaborate them as per the requirement.
2. Make a List of Necessary Information required for each Procedure
- Besides writing down every procedure, you need to make sure your work covers every issues and question raised by employees
- Stick to the basics, write what employees would focus more on while carrying out the procedure.
- Avoid using too many words. For example, instead of writing, “The pay slips must be filed with accounting”, you must write, “File the pay slips with accounting.”
Understand Legal Matters
1. Anti-Discrimination Policies
- Equal working opportunity for each person
- Strict policies against harassment
2. Confirm the Legalities of Your Policies
- Various Online resources provide helpful information to all the business owners, offered by the government
- Consider having an attorney to consult you regularly on your policies
3. Make Employees Sign New Policies and Procedures
- New employees must accept their agreement with the company’s policies and procedures by signing the documents
- Any change in these policies or procedures must be signed by every employee of the company.
- The documents are intended only for 18 or more years old. Minors are not allowed to sign any such documents, they, indeed, need to have written permission from their parents or guardians.
1. Present the Information in Logical Order
- Start with the most important issues then proceed with the lower ones.
- For example, instead of directly talking about termination or accounting policies, first, start with hiring and eligibility criteria.
- It is recommended to start with the company’s goals and mission statement.
- Use the table of content for quick reference
2. Use Visuals for Better Explanation
- The organization is based on hierarchy, so using certain diagrams and images, you can deliver your statements in a much better way to the employees.
- Some of your points may be specific to certain roles and duties, which can be easily explained through visuals.
3. Ensure Manual is Accessible to all Employees
- Provide manual to all the new employees and updated manual to the existing ones
- Make sure they sign the contract
- Keep the manual handy, just to ensure the correct execution of the procedures and no policy breach. If there’s any, you always have a manual by your side.
Policies and Procedures are the roots of every organization, collect all the necessary reports and information before proceeding with the writing part such as tax forms, employee information and so on.
© 2019 Prachi Sharma