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Importance of Policies & Procedures

by Neil Kokemuller

Written policies and procedures provide the framework for a company's entire operation. They provide clear direction for employees as well as insights into company philosophies, values and ethical standards. Human resources professionals normally prepare policy manuals, which are distributed to employees and used for orientation and training.

Guide to Duties

Procedures are distinct from policies in that they provide a sequential or step-by-step guide on how to perform a certain task or operation in a business. For example, a bank might outline a procedure for how to handle basic transactions for tellers. This offers a guide to employees that helps them develop consistency in performing core work activities. It also protects against delays and mistakes that can lead to embarrassment at best and termination at worst.

Legal and Ethical Protection

Policy manuals typically cover any legal or ethical concerns related to a type of business or employment situation. Salespeople usually get policy manuals that include coverage of areas like kickbacks, paying for entertainment of clients and expense reimbursement. These policies help protect employees from making decisions that could lead to both personal and company legal repercussions. It also guides employees on ethical standards so they aren't caught in unfamiliar situations without preparation.

Safety

Policies and procedures should provide for the physical and emotional safety of employees. In manufacturing plants, for instance, procedures outline proper safety gear, proper use of equipment and steps to perform operations safely. These procedures help prevent serious injury or death. Additionally, companies often have policies against bullying, harassment and workplace violations as a way of reducing the number of incidents.

Alignment with Vision

Policy manuals typically provide a framework for implementing a company's goals and vision. Business leaders usually want to develop an organizational culture with values that align with the firm's mission and purpose. For example, a customer-centric company would typically have values and policies that promote a culture that supports efforts of employees to meet the needs of customers.

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