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How many times have you asked someone to do something like “draw up a plan for such and such project”? Your employee completes the plan, but then you say, “That is not what I wanted” or “That is not how you do it”. And so the employee thinks: but you didn’t tell me exactly how you wanted it done.
If you find yourself having back and forth misunderstandings with your employees, then you might have a communication problem. And this could be creating bad feelings, low morale and inefficiencies. To remedy this, perhaps it’s time you thought about creating a Policies and Procedures Manual.
Let’s look at 7 methods to strengthen communication and performance.
1. Implement Effective Policies and Procedures
A Policies and Procedures Manual is a communication tool designed to empower employers, managers and employees with a consistent approach to accomplishing their daily tasks. It provides a set of policies, plans, reports, forms and work routines that convey the pulse of the organization.
A properly developed manual focuses everyday business communications between employees and management on what is really important to get the job done. This focus is the first step in empowering employees. Empowerment requires a shared vision, the communication of necessary information and adequate training.
2. Convey Management Policy and Vision
An organization’s manual should be used to communicate both corporate policies and the appropriate procedures for implementation of the policy in a combined style format. If employees know the vision, then they feel confident to make decisions. Keep in mind, though, policies should not be confused with procedures.
Policy - A definite course or method of action to guide and determine present and future decisions. A policy is a guide to decision-making under a given set of circumstances within the framework of corporate objectives, goals and management philosophies.
Procedure - A particular way of accomplishing something, or an established way of doing things. A procedure is a series of steps followed in a definite regular order that ensure the consistent and repetitive approach to actions.
3. Improve Communication and Efficiently Run Operations
A manual serves to translate the company's business philosophies and desires into action. A well-designed manual is an invaluable communication tool for efficiently running operations within departments and bridging the gap between interrelated departments. If a department has specific information that it requires to process a task, then this information is easily captured in a form that accompanies the task. Forms are commonplace in business, acting as a guide for such things as purchase orders, employment applications or asset requisitions.
4. Reduce Business Process Training Time
A policies and procedures manual is a functional guide for training new and existing employees. It prevents difficulties in performing duties due to lack of understanding or inconsistent approaches from personnel changes. And it will assist in developing a consistent method in handling any task.
5. Improve Productivity and Decision Making
Policies and procedures speed up employee decision making by having a handy, authoritative source for answering questions. Well-developed and documented manuals can ensure compliance with regulatory agencies affecting your business, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), government contracting authorities and independent certification organizations (i.e. ISO).
6. Strengthen Organization and Quality
A comprehensive manual covering all departments within an organization can become a "quality" manual for the whole company. This will help ensure optimal operations and consistent delivery of the finest in product or service from the company.
It will "empower” employees to make decisions independently without the need or time delays of involving various levels of management. A well thought out manual will enable just about everyone in the organization the ability and flexibility to make the right decisions in his or her job responsibilities.
For example, a customer service representative should be able to handle a customer's problem and have the authority to resolve the problem right on the spot. In addition, a production team should be able to diagnose a quality problem and formulate and resolve the problem in conjunction with engineering without having to go through various channels up and down the corporate ladder.
7. Meet Objectives with Policies and Procedures Manual
The goal of the policies and procedures manual is to identify the ways and means of communicating, as well as getting the service performed or the product manufactured at the least cost in the minimal amount of time. Not only will it be used to empower an organization, but it will have the added benefit of increasing job satisfaction and employee morale.