How to make sure that your policies and processes don’t become ‘shelfware’
Posted on 8th August 2018 at 15:59
Is there a way to ensure that your business is run well, operates effectively and everyone knows what to do? Yes. The answer is a good set of policies and procedures.
What are policies and procedures
Let’s start with some definitions.
Policies are documents that communicate what a company expects from its employees, what employees can expect from their company but also what everyone else (such as clients, suppliers and the community) can expect from the business. In that sense, policies are the regulations, standards and best practices a business follows.
These can cover anything from health and safety, dress codes, environmental regulations, rules for purchasing, attendance rules, or employment contracts and much more. Policies will also cover compliance and consequences of not following the rules outlined.
Policies don’t need to be lengthy and cumbersome. A few sentences for each policy area are usually enough.
Processes or procedures, on the other hand are the detailed “how to” of the policies. They describe in detail, often step by step which actions need to be taken to comply with given policies. They can give instructions for routine tasks. Procedures can also guide on reporting structures and chains of command.
Why SMEs need policies and processes
A comprehensive set of policies and procedures ensures that a business runs at its best.
Policies and processes help businesses to comply with regulations and provide a good level of customer care. They also ensure that quality standards are maintained.
Being organised in this way also ensures transparency and accountability and can help to limit risk.
In addition, it gives new recruits guidelines as to what is expected of them.
Why policies and processes need to be reviewed regularly
Policies and procedures are not written in stone; and neither should they be. They represent a constant work in progress and therefore need to be reviewed periodically. Check on a regular basis (at least annually) whether they need to be added to, revised and maybe even scrapped. This is because the environment in which a business operates changes constantly.
Laws change. Outdated policies might not comply with the new laws and regulations.
Technology evolves. If new systems or technology are used, existing policies and procedures will usually not take these into account.
Businesses evolve. Your business focus and strategies might have changed since your last policy review.
As you can see, having a set of policies and procedures sitting on a shelf gathering dust is less than ideal. In addition to reviewing them on a regular basis in-house, it is a good idea to have them reviewed by a legal professional once in a while to make sure any changes in the law are covered.
In order to gain maximum benefit, it is important to work on policy reviews collaboratively. Administrators, leaders as well as representatives of the affected teams should be involved.
It is important that anyone affected by changes or updates is informed. The changes might even trigger a need for training.
How Green Giant can help
We can support you by advising how to create a dynamic set of policies and processes that are right for your business as well as guiding you through a proactive policy review.
If you would like to talk to us about your policies and processes please get in touch. We can offer the right skills, expertise and drive to help your company succeed and grow. You can call us on 0844 259 6210 or get in touch via our Contacts page.
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