Do you run a small or mid-sized business and have you ever felt the need to implement policies for structure and balance in your organization?

Do you think having a policy would seem too formal or is irrelevant?

Well, depending on your answer to these questions, there is always a need for policies but it shouldn’t be abused. It should be tailored to the objectives of your business depending on how fast it’s growing and how well you expect your workers to act in the workplace.

There are several advantages to having policies but I’d list a few:

  1. It keeps your organization in compliance with legislations and prevents or protects it from employment claims.
  2. It ensures and promotes best practices in the company; it’s good documentation to be enforced.
  3. It helps management make consistent decisions since there are guidelines to be followed in any similar event.
  4. It communicates what is expected of workers and helps them reach it.

Apparently, if you need to take your business to another level, then preparing and implementing policies would go a long way for your organization.

A policy is a formal document stating rules or principles that apply to members of the organization (and may also include procedures to achieve this). Policies should be made depending on the importance of certain identified issues. It should also help your company reach its mission and values in one way or another.

How to write a policy for your business

You need a policy in the following cases:

  • When there is legislation that expressly requires an organization to have a policy in place
  • Where there isn’t an express legislation required but a policy will help to ensure the organization is in compliance with the law
  • Where there is disparity in how employees behave or  how management make decisions and it’s affecting the business or workplace
  • When there are obvious gaps/ confusion in certain areas of the business, including proper ways to do things and the company could benefit from implementing a policy

You can design it in any way you want and you could use any font size, but there are things to keep in mind and I’ll briefly highlight those in this post.

1. Needs Analysis

Like I earlier mentioned, you can have as many policies as possible based on identified interests of the organization but it should be useful in the long run. Eventually, the goal should be to have policies that are needed and would be useful. Policy development is for all employees and workers, no exception. Don’t decide to implement one because you want to punish a particular employee. That will be wrong!

A few areas where organizations have policies are: Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest, Attendance, Compensation, Dress Code, Email Use, Internet, Hours of Operation, Recruitment, Attendance, Vacation/ Leave Period/ Unpaid Leave, Discrimination/Harassment policy, Conflict Resolution, Benefit and Eligibility, Smoke Free Policy, Overtime, etc.

2. The goal of the policy

Once you are certain that a policy is needed in your organization (and in a particular area), you need to determine the outcome of what you expect from writing a policy.

A few things to keep in mind are:

  1. How will the policy be enforced?
  2. How will the policy attract and retain top talent to the organization?
  3. How will this policy improve the work culture of this organization?
  4. How will the policy affect members of the management group?
  5. Has there been a challenge similar to the objectives of this policy and how was it handled in the past?
  6. How soon should the policy be updated or renewed?

3.  Gather Information/ Research

Now the next thing you should do is consult stakeholders, employees, and management group to hear their opinions. This will help you concentrate on what is most important and give you areas you may have missed out. Consider comparing your proposed policy with those of other organizations in your industry as this will help for benchmarking good practices.

4. Develop and Draft the policy

With your information at hand, write out the policy and ensure that the goals as stated in point two above are answered. Generally, the policy should have some basics. The basics are the purpose of the policy, its scope, brief statement, responsibilities of employees, definition of terms, contact person in case of questions, references, effective date, review date, and person who approved the policy (of course this section will be left blank until the policy is later approved).

Use clear words and be concise in drafting. Also, have someone review your document to check out for any errors or omissions. If you are making use of a sample policy, ensure that you make your own policy soothe the needs of your workplace. Explain and define terms where necessary to avoid confusion.

Where necessary, provide step-by-step procedures that help in carrying out the policy. This should be a guide and you may also want to look out for legislations that govern your organization and if a procedure is needed.

5. Review 

At this stage, get together with all stakeholders or necessary parties and review the draft policy for feedback. Work with the feedbacks to fine tune the drafted policy. Carry out a management, employee/ worker, and legal review.

6. Approve/ Implement

You can organize a meeting and discuss the new policy.  The new policy may be communicated to the workers in several ways. It could be through a policy training section; it may be included in the employee handbook or communicated via intranet or email, etc. Remember to give employees the opportunity to ask questions and they can sign off to show that they have received and understand the policy. They should also be given a copy of the policy to refer to.

Will you write out policies if you believe that your organization needs to implement one or update old ones?

I hope this article helps you reach your organizational goals. If you need to ask me questions please contact me or send an email to [email protected].

Wishing you a splendid week!