why do we need policies and procedures
Are you interested in growing your business while enhancing your employeeÁs ability to deliver consistent, high caliber service without dramatically increasing the burden of employee management responsibilities on you? If so, we recommend you take several minutes to read on and acquaint yourself with the importance and benefits of written, well-defined Policies Procedures! why is this important to you? Simply put, well-written policies and procedures allow employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits. Basically, policies and procedures allow management to guide operations without constant management intervention. And constant intervention equates to increase operating expenses that ultimately detract from your companyÁs profitability. So ask yourselfÁWhat condition are my companyÁs written policies and procedures in? Oh, you say you donÁt have written policies and
procedures. Fear not, itÁs never too late to take advantage of tools and techniques many of your competitors have, and are using successfully to grow their business and market share. In order to understand why policies and procedures are so important we need to know what they are, and the differences between them. What is a Policy? A ÁPolicyÁ is a predetermined course of action, which is established to provide a guide toward accepted business strategies and objectives. In other words, it is a direct link between an organizationÁs ÁVisionÁ and their day-to-day operations. Policies identify the key activities and provide a general strategy to decision-makers on how to handle issues as they arise. This is accomplished by providing the reader with limits and a choice of alternatives that can be used to ÁguideÁ their decision making process as they attempt to overcome problems. I like to think of ÁpoliciesÁ as a globe where national boundaries, oceans, mountain ranges and other major features are easily identified.
What is a Procedure? The ultimate goal of every ÁProcedureÁ is to provide the reader with a clear and easily understood plan of action required to carry out or implement a policy. A well-written procedure will also help eliminate common misunderstandings by identifying job responsibilities and establishing boundaries for the jobholders. Good procedures actually allow managers to control events in advance and prevent the organization (and employees) from making costly mistakes. You can think of a procedure as a road map where the trip details are highlighted in order to prevent a person from getting lost or ÁwanderingÁ off an acceptable path identified by the companyÁs management team. Policies and procedures are required when there is a need for consistency in your day-to-day operational activities. Policies and procedures also provide clarity to the reader when dealing with accountability issues or activities that are of critical importance to the company, such as, health and safety, legal liabilities, regulatory requirements or issues that have serious consequences. Are Your Policies and Procedures Meeting Your Needs? An increase in the number of accidents, higher failure rates or costly overruns. More staff questions on Ánormal operationsÁ or a feeling of general confusion within a department or division. Employees may also be demonstrating inconsistency in their job performance and there may be an increase in the workforceÁs stress levels. Customers are increasing complaints. Now that we have a better understanding of policies and procedures, letÁs take a look at the major benefits they provide. Employees understand the constraints of their job without using a Átrial and errorÁ approach, as key points are visible in well-written policies and procedures.
Policies and procedures enable the workforce to clearly understand individual and team responsibilities, thus saving time and resources. Everyone is working off the same page; employees can get the ÁofficialÁ word on how they should go about their tasks quickly and easily. Clearly written policies and procedures allow managers to exercise control by exception rather than Ámicro-manageÁ their staff. They send a ÁWe Care! Á message. ÁThe company wants us to be successful at our jobs. Á Clearly written policies and procedures provide legal protection. Juries apply the Ácommon personÁ standard. If written clearly so that outsiders understand, the company has better legal footing if challenged in court. LetÁs return to the first question we asked. Are you interested in growing your business without dramatically increasing your burden of employee management responsibilities? If your answer is yes, we recommend reviewing and implementing policies and procedures that are effective, and work on your companyÁs behalf. Every entrepreneur or small business owner can tell you what sparked an idea that turned into a business. Whether the business is manufacturing wood cabinets or delivering a carpet cleaning service, the product is only as good as the process by which it is manufactured or the service is delivered to the customer. PWriting business policies and procedures can help ensure product quality. Why write policies and procedures? As employees are hired, it is important that they understand the correct work process to ensure that the service or product maintains high quality. Policies and procedures provide a guide for meeting organizational objectives and describe the steps that employees are to take when creating a product or delivering a service.
This ensures consistency in practice and helps to maintain product quality. PA policy will set the expectation for employee behaviors and the procedure outlines the steps for it. 1. PArticulation of Required Steps A procedure should lay out the required steps to perform job tasks or provide a service to a customer. For example, for a waiter who serves in a restaurant, the service should be delivered by introducing themselves, making eye contact with the customer, offering the most popular menu items, ensuring all drinks are topped off when half filled and ensuring food quality meets the customers expectations. Detailing the procedure for delivering great service to customers is what contributes to a great service environment. 2. PPerformance Measures Procedures should be used as a tool to measure an employee s performance by determining if the process wasPfollowed appropriately. For example, a procedure for a receptionist answering the telephone should include a tracking of how often the receptionist answers the phone using a. 3. PProcess Consistency When procedures are followed, there isPconsistency in practice for work processes. This helps to ensure that things are done the same way, every time and that all steps are followed. When steps get skipped it creates an inconsistent process that then creates variations in product or service quality. 4. PServe as a Training Tool Employee training is one of the most valuable investments any organization can make. PWhen employees receive thorough training and detailed, they are prepared to complete job tasks. Using policies and procedures as part of employee training helps to ensure that there is consistency in practice and reinforces global expectations. PFor example, a review of policy and procedures should be included in a process. 5.
PIncorporates Worker Experience Policies and procedures build off of those who have been performing the job tasks and documents work methods of experienced employees. PIt also incorporates lessons learned and best practices to ensure quality products and services in addition to safety and legal compliance. 6. PTraining Refresher Having a written policy and procedure manual can be used as a tool to help train employees and serves as a reminder of procedure steps and expectations. 7. PFoundation for Process Improvement When policies and procedures are reviewed and employees, customers and quality data is considered in the review, it can serve as a great template for improving what is done and can help to improve current processes. Similar to the, it can help improve products and services and support a. Policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated at least annually to make improvements and keep them current. Employees need initial training on procedures but should have continuous refreshers to inform them of changes in practice and to remind them of expectations for following procedures. Records should be kept in employee files to document training. Policies and procedures should be consistently reviewed for its effectiveness and to ensure that what is being done in practice is adding value. Most procedures should have checklists that simplify the process and serve as a reminder for employees. As organizations grow it is important to put those things in writing that the organization values and deems important. PDoing so in a detailed policy and procedure manual, that is shared with employees, can help to ensure that products and services maintain the high quality that customers expect. Article originally posted June, 2012, updated January 2016.
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