How to come up with workplace policies and procedures

Jeffrey Fermin
July 13, 2022

Policies and procedures are the cornerstone of any successful business. They provide guidance and structure, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of them. When it comes to the workplace, policies and procedures help to create a safe, productive, and efficient environment.

They can also help to prevent misunderstandings and disputes from arising.

The key to creating effective policies and procedures is to ensure that they are well-written and easy to understand. They should also be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they remain relevant and up-to-date. If you're looking for guidance on creating or updating your workplace policies and procedures, this ultimate guide will show you everything you need to know.

Quick definition: what are policies and procedures?

Policies and procedures are a set of rules and guidelines that dictate how a company or organization should operate. They can be either formal or informal, but most businesses will have some kind of written policies and procedures in place.

Formal policies and procedures are usually laid out in an employee handbook or manual, while informal policies may simply be communicated verbally by management. Either way, it is important that all employees are aware of the policies and procedures that apply to them.

The purpose of workplace policies and procedures is to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them and knows how the business operates. This helps to create a cohesive working environment where everyone is working towards the same goal.

Policies and procedures also play an important role in protecting the business from legal liability. If an employee violates a policy, the business can point to the relevant section of the policy to help defend itself against any potential claims.

Importance of policies and procedures

Policies and procedures are essential for any business, large or small. They provide guidance and structure, helping to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Having clear policies and procedures in place can also help to:

  • Prevent misunderstandings and disputes from arising
  • Ensure that employees know what is expected of them
  • Create a safe, productive, and efficient working environment
  • Promote compliance with laws and regulations
  • Reduce the risk of legal liability
  • Make it easier to onboard new employees
  • Improve communication between managers and employees
  • Simplify decision-making processes

Regardless of your organization’s size, developing formal policies and procedures can help to streamline operations and improve your bottom line.

How to create effective policies and procedures

The first step in creating effective policies and procedures is to identify the needs of your business. What are your goals and objectives? What are the biggest challenges you face on a day-to-day basis? Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, you can start developing policies and procedures that will address them.

When writing policies and procedures, it is important to keep the following things in mind:

  • Be clear and concise: Use simple language that can be understood by everyone. Avoid jargon or technical terms unless absolutely necessary.
  • Be specific: Include all the details necessary to fully understand the policy or procedure. If there are any exceptions, be sure to include them.
  • Be realistic: Don’t develop policies and procedures that are impossible to follow or enforce.
  • Be consistent: Make sure all your policies and procedures are aligned with each other. There should be no conflicting information.
  • Be flexible: Allow some room for interpretation so that employees can use their best judgment in specific situations.

Once you have developed your policies and procedures, it is important to communicate them to all employees. Make sure everyone understands the rules and knows where to find the relevant information. You may also want to provide employees with a written copy of the policies and procedures, either in an employee handbook or on your company’s intranet site.

Finally, remember that policies and procedures are not set in stone. They should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they are still relevant and effective. As your business grows and changes, so too should your policies and procedures. Creating and enforcing policies and procedures can seem like a daunting task, but it is essential for any business. By taking the time to develop clear and concise policies and procedures, you can help to ensure the success of your business.

Types of policies and procedures every workplace should have

Organizations need policies and procedures for a wide range of HR topics. Below are some of the subjects you should consider creating guidelines for.

Policies and procedures for attendance

It’s important for businesses to have policies and procedures in place for managing employee attendance. These can help to ensure that employees are coming to work on time and minimize absences. Some things you may want to include in your attendance policy are:

  • Acceptable reasons for taking time off
  • The process for requesting time off
  • Guidelines for call-ins and no-shows
  • Consequences for excessive absences or tardiness

For companies offering things like unlimited PTO, it’s especially important to have well-defined attendance policies. This will help to ensure that employees are taking time off for the reasons you intend and minimize abuse of the system.

Policies and procedures for employee conduct

Another important area to develop policies and procedures for is employee conduct. These rules should outline the expectations you have for employees in terms of their behavior at work. Some things you may want to include in your employee conduct policy are:

  • Expectations for professional behavior
  • Rules regarding personal conduct
  • Rules for interacting with co-workers, customers, and vendors
  • Consequences for violating the policy

It’s important to remember that your employee conduct policy should be consistent with your company’s values and culture. For example, if you have a relaxed dress code, you probably don’t need a detailed policy outlining what types of clothing are allowed.

Policies and procedures for use of company property

Many businesses have policies and procedures in place for the use of company property. This can include things like computers, phones, vehicles, and office supplies. Some things you may want to include in your policy are:

  • Guidelines for using company property
  • Consequences for misuse or abuse of company property
  • Procedures for reporting lost or stolen property

Policies and procedures for harassment and discrimination

No workplace is immune from the possibility of harassment or discrimination. That’s why it’s important to have policies and procedures in place to address these issues. Some things you may want to include in your policy are:

  • A definition of what constitutes harassment and discrimination
  • A reporting procedure for incidents of harassment or discrimination
  • An investigation procedure for complaints of harassment or discrimination
  • Consequences for violating the policy

Keep employees safe and treat them fairly by developing policies and procedures that prohibit behaviors such as sexual harassment, bullying, hiring discrimination, workplace discrimination, and more.

Policies and procedures for health and safety

Companies want to do their best to avoid OSHA violations, and one way to do that is to develop policies and procedures related to health and safety. Some things you may want to include in your policy are:

  • A procedure for reporting unsafe work conditions
  • A procedure for investigating accidents and injuries
  • Guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment
  • Consequences for violating safety rules

Policies and procedures for remote work

If you have employees who work remotely, it’s important to have policies and procedures in place to manage this. Some things you may want to include in your policy are:

  • Eligibility requirements for remote work
  • Procedures for requesting and approving remote work
  • Guidelines for working remotely
  • Consequences for violating a remote work policy

Why you need to enforce policies and procedures

It’s not enough to simply have policies and procedures in place – you need to make sure they’re being followed.

Employees who violate policies and procedures should be subject to consequences. This will help to ensure that your rules are taken seriously and that employees think twice before breaking them. Consequences for violating policies and procedures can vary depending on the severity of the infraction and the company’s culture.

Some common consequences for policy violations include verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension, and termination. Enforcing policies and procedures can be difficult, but it’s important to do what you can to hold employees accountable. This will create a fair and safe work environment for everyone involved.

Get a second opinion from a lawyer

It's also worth noting that when drafting your policies and procedures, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. It's important to have a second set of eyes that can help you identify any potential areas of concern.

Still not sure on how to create a policies and procedures doc?

If you’re still not sure what else to include in your policies and procedures, consider using a template. There are many different templates available online that can help you get started.

Improve employee relations today

If you're looking for a way to improve internal communications, look at AllVoices as your employee feedback management platform to have clear and consistent communication around policies, violations, and more.

Don’t get caught off guard by employee feedback. AllVoices can help.
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