Policies and procedures- advice for organisations

Categories: Leadership.

Some will love it, others will hate it, but policies and procedures are the backbone of any organisation.

In the absence of policies and procedures we are left with the unfortunate situation of having to look to each other for critical answers.

The value and importance of policies and procedures are critical to any organisation. Policies and procedures ensure good corporate governance, guide management, ensure fair labour practices, add credibility, give clear direction, provide a basis for decision-making and resource allocation and demonstrate clear commitment.

Developing effective policies and procedures is a process that involves a variety of key stakeholders:

  1. Identification of the need (management and staff)
  2. Development of the policy (management and staff)
  3. Recommendations (management and staff)
  4. Approval (board)
  5. Implementation (management and staff)
  6. Review and update (management and staff).

It is essential that policies include a title, date, policy number or code, policy statement, clear definitions, scope, responsibilities and clear reference to all related documents.

A policy clearly states the rule, rather than how to implement the rule; it describes what we do and is usually explained in very broad terms.

What are procedures?

Procedures are a set of guidelines that describe a process to be followed in order to implement a policy. A procedure is developed with the user in mind and can be characterised as having a narrow application, prone to change, includes ‘how’ and ‘who’ statements, and describes exactly how we execute the process.

Some examples of policies and their attendant procedures:

Policy Procedure
Financial Policy Petty cash Procedure
Payment of taxes and levies policy Payment of taxes and levies procedure
Procurement Policy Procurement Procedure
Board Policy Board Procedure
Complaints Policy Complaints Procedure
Salary Policy Salary Increment Procedure

When writing a policy, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Ensure that it is user friendly
  • wording should be simple and clear
  • less is more
  • beware of knee-jerk reactions

Documents, which typically accompany policies and procedures, include forms, notifications, diagrams, manuals and information leaflets.

In summary, review your organisations policies and procedures regularly to stay current and in control. Organisations with no policies explaining the rules or procedures guiding the execution of such rules are prone to fail.

Read more of Keith’s writing on the website of AW consulting

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