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Policy and Procedure: Know the Difference to Create Company Goodwill

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If there is one thing that any company’s Human Resources Department needs to do, it is to make sure that employees are treated fairly so they will trust management. Now, one of the ways that this could be done is by having written policies and procedures in place. Creating one, though, is not as easy as writing down a few pointers and announcing it to everyone.

Policy vs. Procedure

Creating a policy is different from a procedure outline. In the case of the former, it is usually a high-level statement that describes the principles considered acceptable by the company. It typically focuses on whether compliance is mandatory, who are covered by the policy, and what would be the impact of non-compliance. The latter outlines the steps needed to comply with the policy, or as part of the implementation. Often, these steps can be Standard Operating Procedures.

What to Consider

Gone are the days when policies and procedures are put in place as a way to adhere to some local government guidelines. Today, policies and procedures are also helpful in letting the management know how they can design strategies that may involve their workforce.

Now, when creating policies, you need to figure out first which area you would need focus. Policies and procedures typically cover a whole lot of topics, including safety in the workplace, diversity, learning development, benefits and compensation. Once you have this, you need to differentiate between policies and procedures that are legally required and those that are necessary for the smooth operation of the company.

Legally Required Policies

Your state would have a set of laws relating to the treatment of employees. A few examples of this would include timelines for submission of reports, process on how disability applications should be handled, workplace safety training that you have to undergo, and handling of termination of employment. That being the case, you still have to come up with your own company’s version to cover those areas that might not be clearly explained or covered by the local law.

In Utah, for example, there are laws concerning unemployment benefits. A company can put in place a policy on outlining the effects of getting fired due to poor performance.

Policies Needed for Company Operations

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Some policies need to be put in place to ensure that the company culture and values are upheld at all times. It is also a way to let every member of the organization have a clear idea of how to proceed with documents as well as how to handle specific situations. For example, a dress code policy can let all employees know what is expected of them when they show up for work. At the same time, a policy will ensure that the risk for allegations of any unfair treatment and discrimination or grievances is kept to a minimum.

Writing It Down

Creating a policy will require some technical writing skills. You also need to determine whether you already have an existing policy or would need to create one from scratch. In the case of the latter, you might want to consider the help of a consultant to ensure that everything is done correctly from the start.

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