How to Improve Policies & Procedures

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If your business is falling apart, revise your policies and procedures.
If your business is falling apart, revise your policies and procedures. (Image: business image by timur1970 from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Policies and procedures are important to a business because, as explained by the Department of Health and Families of Australia, they define how a business is supposed to operate and identify the moral, ethical and legal standpoint of the business. Improving policies and procedures thus may strengthen a company's productivity and internal and external relationships. This in turn can translate into better revenue and overall business success.

Identify the aims of the business. Everything in the policies and procedures must reflect these aims.

Review the current policies and procedures to find out if they are up to date and meet the objectives of the company.

Conduct formal and informal employee meetings, interviews and surveys to gain input on what employees feel needs to be in the policies and procedures. It is possible that management may have differing views on what is important for policies and procedures. Including employee views eliminates the risk of having policies and procedures that don't meet the needs of the employees.

Investigate laws that are applicable to business operations. These laws can change over time. The current policies and procedures manual should reflect the current version of the laws and clearly define how those laws impact protocols.

Divide the policies and procedures into two sections. The first section should outline the protocols that apply to all employees. The second section should be subdivided by department and detail the regulations that apply to each company section. This allows the employees to find data that pertains to their work very quickly.

Pick a format for the revised policies and procedures that is concise and doesn't leave readers flipping all over the manual.

Develop and flesh out the outline for each section. Ask yourself whether the descriptions of services and jobs are clear and have them reviewed by a committee to identify any areas of ambiguity.

Review the policies and procedures for the 7 Cs. As outlined by Chris Anderson of work.com, the 7 Cs include context (inclusions are relevant), consistency (terms used the same way throughout), completeness (no information gaps), control (terms detail company aims and authority), compliance (terms show how to meet rules as well as penalties), correctness (no typos, spelling or grammar errors) and clarity (no ambiguity).

Have the policies and procedures reviewed by experts outside of the company. For example, a lawyer may examine the policies and procedures to make sure that they do not contain legal loopholes or liabilities.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the different learning styles in mind when constructing the policies and procedures. Be sure to include graphs and visual representations to help those who are more graphic learners.

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