Policy and Procedure Guidelines

How we can help you Start Creating Your Policy and Procedure Manual. A well-written policy and procedure manual can improve your company by establishing clear guidelines, setting goals and communicating organizational knowledge. Sounds great, right? But how should you begin?

A good place to start is by looking at policy and procedure manuals of other companies with similar sized businesses. You also can look online for templates you can download, such as Microsoft Office Policy Manual. It offers 140 updated policies & procedures, human resource forms, labor posters, and job descriptions that will help you get started on a comprehensive office policy manual.

Although these forms and templates can give you a good head start, they are not customized for your particular business, or even your particular industry. Some companies, such as those in the banking industry, for example, are steeped in regulations and policies and, therefore, need a large amount of policies and procedures. Other businesses, especially small businesses, may only have a handful of policies. Chances are good that your business is somewhere in the middle.

To customize your manual, the best place to start is with your company philosophy. Do you have one? Do your customers and employees know what it is?

Top executives will often say something like, "That is not the way we do things around here." If they mention a company philosophy, they may assume everyone in their employ knows what it is. The truth is that they may not.

Many companies operate under general beliefs, involving honesty and integrity. Those values are good ones, but when it comes down to making decisions for your company, those words are not enough.

So what is a business philosophy? It is a term for the basic beliefs by which a company runs. It is the often-unwritten guidelines that employees are expected to follow. Company philosophies are often established over time and often over the course of trial and error.

Relying on "understood" policies can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. Are your employees guessing at what your company philosophyis? If so, creating a policy and procedure manual can be the opportunity to make those unwritten guidelines written for all to see.

Although business philosophies vary from company to company, here are the following concepts as typical components of a successful company:

  • High ethical standards
  • A fact-founded, thoughtful approach to decision making
  • Sensitivity to changes in the business environment
  • Employees judged on the basis of their performance
  • A sense of competitive urgency

A strong company philosophy will ensure that everyone from executives on down to hourly employees will have a basis upon which to conduct company business. Anybody can sell a product or offer a service, but it is the way you do those things that defines your success. A strong company philosophy will guide you and your team in all aspects of business. As a result, it is a strong building block for your policy and procedure manual.

If you haven't done so already, it is time to develop a strong statement that clearly summarizes your company's main beliefs and goals. An effective mission statement answers these four questions:

1. What do we do?

2. How do we do it?

3. For whom do we do it?

4. What value do we offer?

Your company's mission statement should not be a copy of any other statement. Forget overdone words and phrases that everyone else uses - such as; "visionary," "world-class," "cutting edge" and "outstanding," and boil it down to what makes your company, well, your company.

A mission statement should reflect the unique character and objectives of your organization. In just a sentence or two. Take time to think about what your firms stands for. What philosophy do you want your employees to keep in mind?

After developing your mission statement, the next step is to include a company overview, including your key officers and staff members and a brief history of your company. You may have already drafted this information for your company website's About Us page. but for your manual,keep your staff members, particularly your new hires in mind.

What do you want them to know about you and the founding of your company? By sharing your story, you can go a long way in building company loyalty.