As a business coach I often point out that in many small businesses the Policies and Procedures (PP) manual functions as the strategic link between the business' vision and its day-to-day activities.
This document will construct and define roles and responsibilities while allowing operations to proceed at their smoothest.
A comprehensive PP manual defines business policies and communicates corporate standards for actions and behaviours.
While your business most likely has a PP manual in place, it is always good to review your manual and make sure you have covered all the bases. Always include your business' Vision and Mission Statement. This statement should outline your goals and core beliefs which is why good business coaches ensure they are effective before they look at making changes to the business.
Make a clear distinction between sections where you detail general policies and procedures related specifically to positions or functions. Revise your manual aiming for simplicity. Cut down on verbose descriptions and keep the text trim and to the point.
Always follow up a policy with a clearly presented reason. When employees understand why they are being asked to do something they are more likely to cooperate.
Consult an expert in employment law as anything written in this document can potentially be used against you in a lawsuit. Pay close attention to your policies on Termination of Employment. Ensure that your employees take the document seriously. Require a signed acknowledgment noting that the employee has read and understood the manual.
Consider the layout of your manual. Stick to bullet points when possible and include graphics that engage the reader's experience rather than hinder it. Never make promises that cannot be kept or publish policies that cannot be enforced. Be wary of language that may be construed as discriminatory.
Remain on the lookout for signs that it may be time to review your PP manual: Increased number of accidents, higher rates of failure or incompletion and costly errors that could have been avoided could all point to manual discrepancies.