Every entrepreneur or small business owner can tell you what sparked an idea that turned into a business. Whether the business is manufacturing wood cabinets or delivering a carpet cleaning service, the product is only as good as the process by which it is manufactured or the service is delivered to the customer. PWriting business policies and procedures can help ensure product quality. Why write policies and procedures? As employees are hired, it is important that they understand the correct work process to ensure that the service or product maintains high quality. Policies and procedures provide a guide for meeting organizational objectives and describe the steps that employees are to take when creating a product or delivering a service. This ensures consistency in practice and helps to maintain product quality. PA policy will set the
expectation for employee behaviors and the procedure outlines the steps for it. 1. PArticulation of Required Steps A procedure should lay out the required steps to perform job tasks or provide a service to a customer. For example, for a waiter who serves in a restaurant, the service should be delivered by introducing themselves, making eye contact with the customer, offering the most popular menu items, ensuring all drinks are topped off when half filled and ensuring food quality meets the customers expectations. Detailing the procedure for delivering great service to customers is what contributes to a great service environment. 2.
PPerformance Measures Procedures should be used as a tool to measure an employee s performance by determining if the process wasPfollowed appropriately. For example, a procedure for a receptionist answering the telephone should include a tracking of how often the receptionist answers the phone using a. 3. PProcess Consistency When procedures are followed, there isPconsistency in practice for work processes. This helps to ensure that things are done the same way, every time and that all steps are followed. When steps get skipped it creates an inconsistent process that then creates variations in product or service quality. 4. PServe as a Training Tool Employee training is one of the most valuable investments any organization can make. PWhen employees receive thorough training and detailed, they are prepared to complete job tasks. Using policies and procedures as part of employee training helps to ensure that there is consistency in practice and reinforces global expectations. PFor example, a review of policy and procedures should be included in a process. 5. PIncorporates Worker Experience Policies and procedures build off of those who have been performing the job tasks and documents work methods of experienced employees. PIt also incorporates lessons learned and best practices to ensure quality products and services in addition to safety and legal compliance. 6.
PTraining Refresher Having a written policy and procedure manual can be used as a tool to help train employees and serves as a reminder of procedure steps and expectations. 7. PFoundation for Process Improvement When policies and procedures are reviewed and employees, customers and quality data is considered in the review, it can serve as a great template for improving what is done and can help to improve current processes. Similar to the, it can help improve products and services and support a. Policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated at least annually to make improvements and keep them current. Employees need initial training on procedures but should have continuous refreshers to inform them of changes in practice and to remind them of expectations for following procedures. Records should be kept in employee files to document training. Policies and procedures should be consistently reviewed for its effectiveness and to ensure that what is being done in practice is adding value. Most procedures should have checklists that simplify the process and serve as a reminder for employees. As organizations grow it is important to put those things in writing that the organization values and deems important. PDoing so in a detailed policy and procedure manual, that is shared with employees, can help to ensure that products and services maintain the high quality that customers expect.
Article originally posted June, 2012, updated January 2016. M Have you heard that question before? Perhaps you were even the one asking it. How happy were you with the answer you gave, or with the one you received? Frequently people struggle to give a clear and meaningful response to such an obvious question. It is, however, probably one of the most important questions to answer before starting or updating a system of. So Why Do We Have Processes and Procedures? There are page-long lists of why policies and procedures are necessary, but, of course, such long lists lose meaning and value. By the time you read to the bottom, you don t remember what was at the top of the list. Plus, such long lists have too much overlap and repetition. A simple approach may be more useful. The purpose for creating an Policies Procedures Improve Compliance Complying with laws and regulations should be the most basic function of an organization. Even the smallest of organizations must comply with tax laws and with state and local regulations (i. e. zoning, licensing), while some organization must cope with a myriad of federal and state laws and regulations. Other compliance issues may deal with like ISO 9001, ISO 22000, or UL. While procedures themselves may not demonstrate compliance, well-defined and documented processes (i. e. procedures, training materials) along with records that demonstrate can make evident an effective internal control system and compliance to regulations and standards.
Let s face it; if your organization is having trouble in performing the rudimentary function of obeying laws and regulations, then it is likely struggling even more at being and successful in fulfilling its core missions. If compliance is an issue in your organization, then creating well-defined processes documented by procedures in order to meet your legal and regulatory requirements should be a high priority. Ensure Operational Needs Are Met through Policies and Procedures What is really important in your business? What is fundamental for its success? Are practices associated with them being steered by top management? How much visibility and transparency is there into the effectiveness of these key processes? This brings us to the next important role of ; to ensure processes fundamental to the organization s success are properly guided by management, are performed in a consistent way that meets the organizations needs, and that important related information and data are captured and communicated. For example, if regularly introducing new and improved products is essential to the success of your business, shouldn t you be in control of your that captures customer requirements and desires so they can be translated into your product design? Shouldn t there be well-documented design review and product launch processes?