Established business policies and procedures promote continuity and a positive team spirit as well as an atmosphere of efficiency, good communication, and support. A comprehensive set of policies and procedures will assist in resolving disputes regarding performance and what tasks are required to be completed.
Ultimately, a good set of policies and procedures should assist in the resolution of an industrial dispute. Developing and implementing policies and procedures is one of the important responsibilities that a small business owner must provide.
Benefits of Workplace Policies:
Policies provide a framework and structure for your business. When consistently enforced, they contribute to the development of your organisational culture. If you have strong policies on ethics, for instance, you can help instill the importance of integrity and ethical behaviours in employees.
Business policies establish the rules of conduct for a business. They not only describe the responsibilities for the employer and the employees, but they also create a frame of reference for handling the countless issues that arise in any business.
Effective corporate policies have the following characteristics:
- Must be clear, specific and easily understood
- Specify business rules
- Explain their purpose
- State when policy should be applied
- Who the policy covers
- Method of enforcement
- Describe the consequences of non-compliance.
Well-written policies give employees a way to handle problems and issues with having to constantly involve upper management every time they need to make a decision. Policies define the limits of decision-making and outline the alternatives, meaning employees understand the constraints of their jobs.
Policies communicate the individual and team responsibilities; this enables everyone to work together toward the business’s objectives. Managers are able to apply control by exception rather than having to micro-manage their employees’ activities.
Clearly written policies give a business better protection from potential legal problems. When policies can be easily understood by all staff, the business is on better legal ground in case of court challenges.
The Difference Between Policies and Procedures
A policy is a guiding principle used to set direction in a business. It can be a course of action to guide and influence decisions. It should be used as a guide to decision making under a given set of circumstances within the framework of objectives, goals, and management philosophies as determined by senior management.
A procedure is a series of steps to be followed and could be something as simple as a checklist. The goal of a procedure is to provide consistency. Using simple checklists is the easiest way to begin to get consistency in your business.
Using a Policy Manual
One of the main goals of your policy manual is to provide a clear framework for consistency in your workplace. The manual should be organised so that the content reflects your business’s philosophy and mission statement. It should include your communication process, products, and services. The policy manual should serve not only as a communication tool but should have the added benefit of maintaining employee job satisfaction and morale. It should form part of your staff’s induction and onboarding process.
Types of Policies to Implement in Your Business:
- Work Health and Safety Policy
- Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy
- Code of Conduct
- Drug and Alcohol Policy
- Leave Policy
- Grievance Policy
- Performance Counselling and Discipline Policy
- Internet and Email Policy
- Social Media Policy
Policies and procedures must be reviewed periodically. When any changes occur, ensure your policies and procedures remain relevant and effective. For example, a change may occur when a business purchases a new piece of machinery, starts using a new chemical, or adopts a new production method. Any such changes mean that relevant procedures should be reviewed.
The review cycle will depend on the circumstances and document type, but it is a good idea to review policies at least every 2 years. As an example, WHS training policy may only need to be reviewed every 3 years, but a chemical handling procedure should be reviewed more often due to the level of hazard involved.
It’s a good idea to implement a document management system that:
- Sets a review date and automatically triggers a review reminder
- Notes the date of any policy changes and who made the revisions
- Sends the updated policy to staff members to ensure they are across the new policy
To see further how dita Solutions can help you implement effective business polices that provide quality structure and content, contact us here.
Download Our Free Template
Download our free and customisable Policy Design Template. Our Template provides step by step instructions to help you get started with writing your own Policies for your business.