In your busy, chaotic workplace, having a comprehensive and well-organized policy and procedure manual is crucial for the productivity and efficiency of your employees. However, just having a manual is not enough. It needs to be user-friendly, accessible, and viewed by employees as an actual resource, not just a tedious document collecting dust on a shelf.
Having a policy and procedure manual may be a necessity for any business, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun with it, and truly make it an asset for your employees. Whether you’re looking to create a manual from scratch or simply want to improve your current one, try following these tips and best practices.
So let’s say you’ve decided the company policy and procedure manual needs an update. Well, before you do anything else, you need to figure out what content you want your manual to include. A company manual should offer a basic view of how employees within your company are supposed to work, what is expected of them in the workplace, and how they should conduct themselves on the job. But how do you want to present that information to your employees?
Communication is everything, not just in conversation with employees but in how you relay vital company information to them as well. So be sure to detail company policies and procedures in simple, easy-to-understand language. Unless your employees are all lawyers, paragraphs of legalese will just make their eyes glaze over.
Don’t overcomplicate the text of your manual, either—dense or overlong explanations will simply go unread. The same thing will happen if you use language that’s too confusing, or overly vague. When in doubt, say exactly what you mean, and mean what you say!
Using Visuals and Formatting
Everyone likes looking at pictures! It’s human nature. But besides looking pretty, being thoughtful with visuals in your policy and procedure manual serve multiple important functions. First of all, using visual aids like charts, diagrams, or graphics in your manual help break up the text, so your employees aren’t just staring at intimidating walls of words when they reference the company policy and procedure manual.
The content of those visual aids matters even more. Not everyone processes things the same way, and sometimes information that might be confusing in text form will be cleared right up with the addition of a helpful visual aid. If your manual includes an explanation of employee hierarchy, for example, including a diagram will help employees visualize workflows much better than simply writing it out. This goes double for information concerning safety procedures. If your manual has a section for emergencies, having a map displaying the location of those exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and any other emergency safety tools is something that may come in handy one day.
When in doubt, just remember to try to conceive of interesting ways to communicate information that will be easily digestible and easy for your employees to reference, too. This extends to formatting as well. However you choose to format your organization’s manual, make sure to keep things consistent, and to have clear delineations between different sections and chapters. Most important of all, make sure your manual has a table of contents that is accurate and detailed.
Examples and Scenarios
Another thing that will help your employees internalize vital company policies and procedures is putting that information in context. Try presenting easy-to-understand examples or likely hypothetical scenarios that will aid employees in translating procedures on the page to their work environment. When explaining the rules for company leave and paid time off, present examples of different scenarios illustrating how that leave can and cannot be used. If your organization has rules related to business expenses, help employees understand what they can and cannot spend expenses on by providing multiple examples of both allowed and prohibited items. As long as your employees can relate to the information being provided, they will be more likely to retain and remember it for the future.
After the content of your business’s policy and procedure manual has been decided upon and finalized, next comes the step of actually implementing that manual, and distributing it to your workforce.
Get Employees Involved
Your company’s policy manual is, ultimately, for your employees, so why not get them involved in the process of implementing it? Before rolling your new policy and procedure manual, create a select committee made up of employees from multiple departments, to go over the content of the manual for review and approval.
Giving employees this input in the process will give them a sense of ownership over the material, making it more likely that they will both remember and respect these policies later on. Plus, opening up the review process to the people you employ grants you a new perspective, and might help you catch things you would have missed otherwise. Remember, though, that the ultimate goal of the review and approval process is, in fact, approval. Don’t get so bogged down on making things perfect that nothing gets finalized!
Consider Training and Resources
Introducing a new manual to your company may require some planning and forethought, depending on the size of both the company and the overhaul to the preexisting manual. When implementing, you may want to release the new or revised procedure manual in sections, instead of all at once. It might also be a good idea to test comprehension in your employees once they acknowledge they’ve read the material.
If you test your employees and comprehension scores are low, additional policy and procedure training may be necessary. Additional resources to implement and test comprehension such as videos, quizzes, or competitive games might also help understanding. Getting creative with this process will also make it more fun for employees, and help it feel less like a chore or an interruption to their workday.
Give Your Policy and Procedure Manual a Boost with ComplianceBridge
Your employees deserve a policy and procedure manual that is helpful, informative, and well-implemented, and you deserve the right tools to give them that. ComplianceBridge has everything you need to roll out the perfect policy manual, and to make sure your employees can access and comprehend it.
Our platform is optimized with features that will help you create the perfect policy and procedure document, like the ability for multiple users to collaborate on a document and track changes, and the ability to automate review and approval. Once your document has been reviewed, approved, and published with one easy click, ComplianceBridge helps test comprehension as well. Use our software to track acknowledgement and create custom quizzes, so you can be sure that your employees understand what is expected of them.
If you’re ready to create and implement the perfect policy and procedure manual, contact ComplianceBridge for a free demo today!
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