Policies and procedures connect a company's vision and goals to internal operations. These internal controls are key to accountability within the company structure. Policies are general and define the important issues within the company, while procedures include step-by-step directions that ensure consistent behavior. Taken together, policies and procedures provide a road map for a company's workforce to follow.
They Provide Guidelines
A policies and procedure manual defines guidelines for all employees to follow. These guidelines help employees and supervisors to understand their jobs and responsibilities. The policy and procedure manual also helps employees and supervisors know how to respond to issues that might arise during the course of business. Guideline sections typically address human resources, accounting, contracts, purchasing, sales, production, inventory control, disaster recovery and safety policies and procedures.
They Promote Consistency
A company that has policies and procedures has defined the guidelines for consistent behavior and actions within the company by all employees. These guidelines ensure that whenever events occur, they are handled in the same way. Because the policies and procedures manual sets the standards within the company against which all employees are measured, it also provides the means for disciplinary action that must take place for violation of these guidelines.
They Guide Disciplinary Action
A supervisor has a clear road map to follow in a policy and procedures manual when handling employees who require disciplinary action. The manual defines the overall approach to disciplinary actions and the systematic procedures that must be followed to ensure compliance with law. Disciplinary procedures might include such things as termination, or 90-day evaluations and actions that must be taken when employees violate laws, such as in harassment cases.
They Help with Adherence to Law
Policies and procedures must comply with local, state and federal laws. Besides the requirements for handling employee disciplinary actions in human resource management, policies and procedures also outline accounting practices within a company. For instance, how a company reimburses employees for mileage and travel expenses is defined in the policy and procedures manual.
They Must be Updated and Clearly Written
Whether a company is large or small, it should develop a policy and procedure manual. A successful company not only has a policy and procedure manual, it continually updates the manual when laws or procedures change. Most companies offer the policy and procedure manual to new employees with the employee handbook. Policies and procedures must be clear, concise and enforced to be an effective tool within a company.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.