Policies, Processes and Procedures
Policies are formal, brief, and high-level statements or plans that determine an organization's general goals, and objectives for specific subject areas.
Procedures are sets of specific methods employed by organizations to help staffs to carry out routine operations.
Procedures aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure.
Processes are chains of activities that interact to achieve a certain result.
Policies, procedures and processes ensure that a point of view held by the governing body of an organization is translated into steps that result in an outcome compatible with that view.
Providing policies, procedures and processes in many cases will not be enough and training will be required. Approved updates and/or new developments must be communicated regularly and must be made easily accessible to the addressed audience.
To keep policies, procedures and processes understandable they must be written in easy understandable language, abbreviations, technical information and similar wordings must be explained or otherwise avoided if possible. Contradictions and redundancies must be avoided.
It is a common misunderstanding, that policies, procedures and processes be hindering restrictions and that they prevent staffs from working effectively. In fact a common source of problems appear to be lack of knowledge of the existence of a policy, procedure or process as well as lack of their understanding.
In fact policies, procedures and processes provide staffs with safety and guidance and allow them to work within defined boundaries.
Employee involvement ensures sufficient mutual consideration of requirements and expectations; responsibility boundaries can be defined and implemented more easily. In other words, in a healthy organization many procedures and processes are significantly influenced by the employees themselves. Thus enhanced employee's compliance can be expected.
In order to enhance productivity and reduce risks and issues, procedures and processes must be reviewed frequently and lessons learned, environmental or organizational changes, or changes to objectives must be considered and implemented.
New Procedures and Processes or adjustments to Procedures and Processes:
To create new procedures and processes or to improve or adapt existing procedures and proceses, it seems advisable to proceed as follows:
1. Assessment of the current status:
- How is the task currently done?
- Who are the acting people or roles?
- Where are the current processes and procedures defined, and who is authorized to approve changes?
2. Analysis of the current status:
- What can be maintained?
- What can be adjusted?
- What needs to be replaced?
3. Definition of the desired target condition:
- Where shall the new process or procedure be determined?
- Who shall be the acting person or roles?
- What is the list of operations in the future?
In the implementation of policies, procedures and processes, compliance with the following chronological order seems to make sense:
- Write down the company mission,
- Write down company objectives,
- Create company policies,
- Create processes,
- Create procedures,
- Inform and train staffs,
- Collect feedback,
- Review and adjust,
- Inform and train staffs,
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