Online Class: How to Write Effective Policies and Procedures
with CEU Certificate*
have taken this course
Do your employees have a place where they can find information on everything from what happens to their job if they get sick or injured to whether it is okay if they post work-related photos on their social media pages?
If not, it is time for you to create a policy and procedure manual for your company. In today's rapidly changing business environment, you need a carefully planned policy and procedure manual more than ever. This important book, which can be both in print and online, helps keep you treat your employees in a fair and consistent manner.
Our lessons will guide you in the process of developing an effective policy and procedure manual that reflects the high standards and goals of your company. You will find helpful information for both the large and small organization and for whether you have an existing manual that needs updating or are starting one from scratch.
An effective policy and procedures manual communicates your company's goals and standards of behavior and clarifies your employees' expectations about the way your business runs. When you have these rules in writing, it makes it easier for everyone -- from your top supervisors on down to your part-time employees.
In addition, a carefully worded and up-to-date manual can protect your company from possible legal action and the possibility of employee fraud.
The good news is that you can create this important document in a step-by-step process. Once you have the basic manual in place, regular reviews and revisions will keep it accurate and in line with your growing company.
Does your business have a policy and procedures manual that covers company rules and employee guidelines? If not, it is time to develop one. It is a straightforward process, and once you have a workable template in place, you will be able to make revisions and updates as your company changes and grows.
An effective policy and procedure manual is an essential management tool. As a piece of required reading for all employees, it states business goals and policies and communicates appropriate standards of action and behavior for all employees.
Your manual should include your company best practices, your core business process descriptions, and the specific methods and standards for how work is performed. This manual enables you to simplify employee training, to focus your company for growth, and to enhance your ability to scale.
The manual can be printed and placed in a three-ring binder, placed in a folder on a network share drive, or automated and published online using procedures management software. Or it can be available in each of these formats. What is important is that everyone in your company knows about the manual, reads and understands the manual and knows where to find it when they need it.
Essentially, your policy and procedure manual is really about good communication. Your manual communicates your standards.
Your employees need to know what you expect of them. Your supervisors need a manual to reference for managing day-to-day business processes. By documenting your standards, you communicate what is important for your company's quality, growth and customer satisfaction.
With a policy and procedure manual in place, your staff will have somewhere to go when the unexpected happens or, in other words, when they wonder "What do I do now?" or "How do I handle this?" Let's take a look at the benefits of having written policies and procedures.
First, the manual helps your company avoid inconsistencies. With a written guidebook to refer to, your team will have clear directions from management on how to handle specific works situations. Clearly defined policies and procedures express the company's desire to make consistent and impartial decisions.
Let's say a new employee is chronically late for work, for example.
When you have an existing policy on tardiness, your manager will not have to make judgment calls on the spot. He or she can refer the employee to the manual. A written policy avoids the uncomfortable situation in which one manager excuses a chronically late employee while another manager fires a chronically late employee. In other words, the manual spells out the consequences for work behavior and takes out any opportunity for ambiguity, which can cause hurt feelings.
When company policies and procedures are in writing, you let employees know exactly what they need to do to remain employed with your company. When employees are required to read the manual, sign a statement that they agree to abide by it, they can be held accountable for their actions.
Another benefit of an effective policy and procedure manual is that it can protect your company from possible legal action or employee fraud. When you pay careful attention to the content of your policy and procedures manual, it can help you defend disciplinary actions and other actions in a variety of business situations.
It is important to have your attorney review your manual to determine if there are any legal issues that need your attention and if you are following federal and state legal requirements as an employer.
Thirdly, a policy and procedures manual can serve as a training tool, since it tells employees how they fit into the overall structure of the company, and it tells them where to go if they have questions or concerns. New workers will use the manual to help them get up and running in a timely manner.
An effective manual describes critical daily tasks that must be accomplished for your business to run safely and efficiently. More than just a list, the manual also should provide details on why things are done the way they are done.
Now, you may be wondering what the differences between policies and procedures are. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are key differences between the two. A policy states what management wants employees to do, and a procedure describes how that task should be done.
Since, an effective manual contains both policies and procedures, let's look more closely at each of them.
A policy is a guiding principle that sets the direction for an organization. Policies then are the rules and guidelines under which a company, division or department operates. In your manual, you will have policies for the overall company, for specific parts of the company and for individual employees.
Here is an example of a company policy for bill paying:
Accounts Receivable personnel shall ensure that all outstanding customer invoices are paid within 30 days (net 30) and 20 days next quarter (net 20).
And here is an example of an employee policy:
Smoking and drinking are strictly prohibited within the company offices.
Here is an example of an inventory employee policy:
Warehouse personnel must count physical inventory on a weekly basis to ensure the accuracy of the general ledger balance.
Company policies set a standard for your company image. They create a level of uniformity in employee rights and responsibilities. Without them, your employees will have varying personal standards.
Therefore, it is important to consider carefully what kind of image you wish to project as a company when you are developing your new manual. Policies typically reflect that desired image or brand.
Policies typically fall into the following three categories:
Policies create a level of uniformity in employee rights and responsibilities. Without clear direction, employees usually have varying personal standards. A company dress code is an example of a policy.
Without a dress code, some of your employees might wear a suit to work, while others might wear jeans and t-shirts. If you would like your employees to convey a consistent image to your customers or clients, a dress code takes the guesswork out of the situation.
A best practice is a technique or method that has shown consistently positive results in your company. These policies direct employees to act in line with what benefits a specific department and/or the entire organization. Many sales organizations have best practices policies for communication with clients and customers, for example.
Many organizations have policies that address employee and customer safety as well as legal and ethical safety for the company. These policies are particularly important in warehouses, factories or even restaurants where dangerous equipment is used or in any area of a business where injury is a concern.
It is possible to go overboard with policies. Excessive rules and regulations can have a negative effect on morale. Be sure that your policies do not restrict creative thinking or that they do not go against your established or desired corporate culture.
Procedures, on the other hand, are the means for putting policies into action. Procedures offer specific instructions and necessary to perform a task.
Procedures describe who does the task, what steps must be performed, when those steps should be performed, as well as how the procedure should be performed. Procedures also tell the important "why" something is done at your company. These "whys" are important ways of distinguishing your brand and of reflecting your particular mission.
- Completely Online
- Printable Lessons
- Full HD Video
- 6 Months to Complete
- 24/7 Availability
- Start Anytime
- PC & Mac Compatible
- Android & iOS Friendly
- Accredited CEUs
Lesson 1: Introduction to Writing Effective Policy and Procedure Manuals
Lesson 2: How to Begin Your Policy and Procedure Manual
Lesson 3: Working on Policies and Procedures as a Team
Lesson 4: Legal Considerations for Your Policy and Procedure Manual
Lesson 5: Digging Deeper - Other Legal Considerations for Your Manual
Lesson 6 Secrets to Creating Effective Policy and Procedures
Lesson 7: Doing the Writing for an Effective Policy and Procedure Manual
Lesson 8: Hooking Your Reader
Lesson 9: Making Your Manual Look Good
Lesson 10: The Review Process
Lesson 11 Distributing the New Manual
Lesson 12: Revising and Updating Your Policy and Procedure Manual
- Describe what writing effective policy and procedure manuals is.
- Describe how to begin your policy and procedure manual.
- Summarize legal considerations for your policy and procedure manual.
- Summarize secrets to creating effective policy and procedures.
- Describe the writing process for an effective policy and procedure manual.
- Describe methods for hooking your reader.
- Identify the review process.
- Describe distributing the new manual.
- Describe revising and updating your policy and procedure manual.
- Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
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- "The course was very helpful. I can honestly say that I am able to write a policy and procedure that is effective!" -- Nadine M.
- "This course was very teachable on guiding me to learn the proper way to set up my policy and manual for the company. In addition I thank the professor for all her support." -- Angela R.
- "It was helpful to see the difference between policy and procedure. I learned that what I'm writing for my office will just be the procedures. I also learned that the procedures need to include a description of 'why' certain steps are taken." -- Latonya A.
- "It was very helpful, especially for me as this is the first time I have been charged with updating policies and procedures." -- Amy L.
- "This was a lot of information, but it was presented well and easy to understand." -- Laura G.
- "I found this really good and informative." -- Muireann S.
- "This course was very helpful." -- Kathy R.
- "This course was very helpful, I learnt a lot." -- Tonylee O.
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