A policy manual is a formalized human resources document that presents a broad overview of standard operating policies and procedures for an organization. It is an essential document that provides structure and establishes consistency and discipline in decision-making and employee behavior.
Policy manuals are closely related to employee handbooks, which are essentially niche policy guides targeted at employee-specific procedures. Policies should be closely aligned with the organizational mission, goals and values and offer a system of appropriate actions and enforcement.
Policy manuals are developed within the human resources (HR) department of an organization. While HR develops policies and guidelines related to employees and generally oversees their application and enforcement, it writes the policy manual following direction and guidance from the organization's board or executive team.
Policy manuals offer many organizational benefits, beginning with the company-wide communication typically involved in the development process. Once created, manuals offer a formal method for making HR decisions that are consistent, well planned and systematically linked to organizational goals.