A policy is basically a set of rules which aim to give everyone a guide on how to act or behave in the workplace, there are many different issues which are covered in a set of policies.
A Procedure may discuss who is responsible for what within the organization and include how to complete a range of tasks within the business.
I know from time to time, Managers get frustrated with their HR departments, requesting time to update and improve their Policy and Procedures, and often Managers, especially in small Business believe there is limited need for these.
The Main reason, we need good, current Policy and Procedures, is it helps to set the culture of the company, but it guides all who are in the business, staff, managers, employees, volunteers, and at times contractors into what are appropriate actions and what is expected. They have to provide Consistency throughout the workplace and with everyone involved.
Policy and Procedures, sometimes referred to as the company P&P’s can help everyone providing clarity when there are issues within the company and help to keep all staff accountable. Important critical items could include Legal Matters, Health and Safety, Legislation or regulatory requirements, anything which can have a serious consequence for either the company or the individual.
In short, the policy should be, a deliberate set of principles, which can help with the decision-making of everyone involved, it will have a Statement of Intent, and then could be implemented within the procedure document.
You are probably now thinking, what should I put in a policy or procedure, some of the following notes/tips are more for Procedures but can be considered when writing a policy,
Write the actions, in the order you expect them to happen within a procedure, where the following is more relevant in a Policy.
Avoid too many words, You may be able to use Bullet points or numbers
Don’t be too brief, as it may become too confusing without sufficient information
Be careful using Jargon and Slang, as not everyone understands this, and is not always acceptable in the legal arena. Never assume things, always write things clear so people can understand them, and limit to interpretations by each employee.
The above may seem a little confusing, however when it comes to writing your policy and procedures, you can set yourself a few hours to write your own, you can contract an HR consulting company to assist you in writing your Policy and Procedures, or you can find a template from the Business Vic website, which gives you a better understanding of what is required in an HR Manual.
However, just because you write your company Policies and Procedures, it does not mean they are forgotten about, they need to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they are current and up to date, especially in relation to any legislative changes which may occur from time to time.
Any Business should have a set of Policy and Procedures, when they start employing staff, although it is good for a company to have a HR manual in place, prior to considering employing Staff, this can help with employing staff and give everyone a understanding of what is required, including allowing the Manager to understand their recruitment policy etc.