What is a policy and procedure?
Policies and procedures often come together although they have different purposes. For one, policies refer to high-level guidelines used to define an organization’s culture. Organizations need them for making decisions and to provide a framework for its activities. Conversely, procedures refer to lower-level processes. These provide steps for the employees to follow so they can adhere to the policies of the organization.
The importance of a policy and procedure template
All organizations should have their own policy and procedure template. This is an important management tool that employees need to get acquainted with. All policies and procedures examples state the company’s guidelines and goals. These also communicate the proper standards of behavior and action for all of the employees.
All policy and procedure manual templates include the company’s best practices, the core descriptions for business processes, and the standards and methods on how employees should do their work. Usually, in manual form, a company policy template helps you standardize employee training so you can concentrate on the company’s growth.
Company policy examples are all about effective communication of standards between employers and employees. Here are some reasons that show the importance of this document:
- It keeps your employees in the know
A company needs a manual as a reference in the management of daily business processes. When you document standards, you can easily communicate with the employees on what’s relevant in the company’s growth, customer satisfaction, and quality. Moreover, the presence of a policy and procedure document helps employees know what to do when anything unexpected occurs.
- It keeps your company protected
Another great benefit of having a policy and procedure template is that it will protect the company from any possible employee fraud or legal action. You should pay attention to the contents of the manual as it contains the steps to take for disciplinary actions or other actions in different business predicaments.
Company lawyers can resort to the document to check if there are any legal problems that need attention or if the company follows the state and federal legal requirements.
- It helps your company avoid inconsistencies
You can always refer to a well-written company policy template if your team, with clear instructions from the management, have to deal with specific work concerns. Clearly stated policies and procedures help maintain the desire of the company to make impartial and consistent decisions.
- You can use it as a tool for training
In itself, you can use the policy and procedure manual template as a training tool as it already informs the employees about their positions in the company’s overall structure. It informs the employees where and who to approach when they have concerns or questions.
For new employees, the manual can help them start their work on time. Effective policies and procedures examples describe important tasks to perform daily and all employees must accomplish such for the company to operate efficiently and safely.
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Who can benefit from a policy?
All businesses and organizations regardless of size or type may benefit from a policies and procedures template. Here are the most common fields that will benefit from clearly-defined company policy examples:
The manuals here include the training and orientation policies, refusal of work policy, time reporting policies, and more.
For this type, the manual includes the tenure policy, code of ethics policy, credit-hour policy, and more.
Some examples include the cellphone policies for providers, notice of non-discrimination in health insurance policy, and appointment policies.
- Human Resources
The department provides a lot of the policies necessary companies. Examples include anti-discrimination policy, termination policy, time-off policy, and more.
- Emergency Services and Law Enforcement
Some examples include the drone policy, body camera policy, emergency communication policy, and others.
- Office Management
Some examples include petty cash access, after-hours calls, supply cabinet access, and more.
These include volunteer insurance, recruitment, selection, expenses, and so on.
Characteristics of a good policy and procedure
A policy and procedures template is a document that every organization or business should possess as this states clearly how things should be. This not only applies to large companies who need it so that the different departments can work effectively but also to small companies too. Whatever reason you may have for creating your own company policy template, this document should possess the following characteristics:
Avoid overcomplicated explanations when counting for every possible scenario. Each defined step should exist for a reason. But don’t oversimplify things as you might end up omitting important information.
When you develop each activity, make sure that there is always some relevant measurement that goes with it. This can be as something as simple as a checkbox to indicate completion or as complex as you need it to be.
You should store your policy and procedure manual template in common areas accessible only to those allowed to view them. This could be a filing cabinet, a binder or even an online shared site.
Policies and procedures may change depending on the needs of the company. You should have a review process for this document. After the changes, discard old copies or mark them as superseded.
Generally, you should first test a procedure before publishing it. The test should include the concurrence of everyone involved so they can attest to its success.
How to write a policy and procedure?
Creating a policy and procedure template can take effort and time but you can improve on this by keeping a few basic information in mind. Most of the work to create one happens even before you’ve started to write anything. These pre-writing activities may include researching the background and deciding on the focus of your document.
After writing the draft of your policies and procedures examples, you need to have them reviewed, validated, and approved. Lastly, disseminate the document then train employees in the new policies and procedures. Keep the following in mind before you start writing your company policy examples:
- A policy or procedure should focus on one concept at a time.
- Because of the effort needed to develop effective policies and because of how they affect the values of your company and potentially may have legal consequences, make sure that your employees support and endorse your efforts.
- Support the policy with employee education and training.
- Don’t expect employees to just read the information and remember everything. As you start training, give the employees a good reason to learn the new guidelines and follow them.
Consider using an online policy and procedure
For the past few years, companies have actively examined their decision-making processes with the aim of finding a decision-making authority at the lowest levels. Improving the process of documenting policies – such as using an online policy and procedure template – can provide the following benefits:
- Easier access to the document
At present, there are too many loose memos and documents that cause a flood of information. This makes employees confused as they do not know what’s important. Policies and procedures that exist aren’t always updated, giving employees a hard time to locate documents needed to make informed decisions. However, an up-to-date, online template permits access to employees who use or are directly affected by the policies and procedures to have access to them.
- It’s more economical
Presently, individual departments must dedicate their resources to maintain files of important policies and procedures. At the same time, such departments responsible for policies must correspond to requests for policy documents as other individual users might need these.
Because of this, they will use already scarce resources within their departments which might be better assigned to other activities. If written policies and procedures were readily available from a single department or position within the company and identifying such department in the policy to which queries can get directed, this could result in a number of benefits.
- It improves responsiveness
The quick updates and dissemination of procedures allow the company to meet the changing needs of the customers and to adjust to new environments.
- It prompts accountability
One of the foundational elements of a system in which units and individuals are directly responsible for adherence to is the use of clearly written and available policies and procedures. A policies and procedures template can easily become outdated even if there is an effective policy review process if it isn’t coupled with effort.
There should be a department in charge of maintaining and distributing policy records as well as updating procedures. This makes your effort in creating the document more rewarding.
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