Any old policy and procedure format saves time by not having to start from scratch, right? Well, not necessarily.
Using a weak starting point can hurt employee usability, introduce confusion and user-error, and may not assist in your compliance and control objectives. The result could set your project back further and cost you even more time to fix it later. But it doesn’t have to.
Drive Performance Improvement
If your policies and procedures are incomplete, outdated or inconsistent, then you are probably not driving the performance improvement you intended. And by improving your business, you can save money and help increase customer satisfaction.
Improve Your Results
To be confident you’re using procedure templates that get the job done quickly and correctly, it’s important to examine the basic elements. Take a moment to view the following features that you should be using, and also learn how to benefit with such crucial time-saving features as:
- A clear and concise header block to ensure a procedure communicates the purpose and scope
- Clear department responsibilities that identify who does what
- Key term definitions to reduce confusion
- Measures of effectiveness to quantify outcomes
- References to related documents to improve usability
- Listing of applicable laws or regulations to communicate compliance
- Detailed list of revisions to track edit history
- Forms to ensure proper control and record keeping
To be effective, policies and procedures must be action oriented, grammatically correct, and written in a consistent style and format to ensure usability. These guidelines, along with industry “best practices” that are documented in auditable criteria, can be used to improve your procedures.
- Context. Actions must properly describe the activity to be performed.
- Consistency. All references and terms are used the same way every time, and the procedure must ensure consistent results.
- Completeness. There must be no information, logic, or design gaps.
- Control. The document and its described actions demonstrate feedback and control.
- Compliance. All actions are sufficient for their intended compliance.
- Correctness. The document must be grammatically correct without spelling errors.
Clarity. Documents must be easy to read and understandable.
With more effective and efficient features, you can finish your policies and procedures project sooner. A core set of “best practices" policies, procedures and forms will begin to save you time right away.