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How Policies and Procedures Can Streamline Your Business

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Start-ups, small and medium sized companies can take a while to implement policies and procedures. This is often the case where they are too small or have not yet established a human resources department. However, as businesses scale and hire more employees, having policies and procedure guidelines these in place is crucial to ensure consistency and best practice.

Additionally, by not adopting or being slow to implement formal policies and procedures, this could actually damage efficiency and incur legal implications for not complying with company and employment law.

When looking into implementing guidelines and procedures for the first time, to begin within companies need to look into what their current workflows are and document these. This also provides an opportunity to assess whether there is any room for improvement or ways of eliminating inefficiencies.

Without these guidelines it would be difficult to ensure that everyone within an organisation handles the same situation in the same way. That’s not to say there are no downsides at all – it can lead to too much structure when pushed to an extreme – and there are some cases where flexibility would be more advantageous. Sometimes unusual situations may arise where they would be better handled differently from the normal procedure. That’s why when creating the procedures and guidelines it is worth considering all the different scenarios and limitations. If possible, include what circumstances are acceptable to deviate from the normal path.

Policies and procedures can be put together in a single document or split out into several different ones according to who they are meant for – i.e. the employee handbook, specific manuals for certain practices or Standard Operating Procedure Documents.

Once you have your procedures written up, you always have the opportunity to improve and tweak them as time goes on. Empowering employees to make their own suggestions and improvements to processes can be beneficial especially as they are the ones involved in carrying out the tasks concerned and will be the ones most familiar with the particular details.

Although it may seem time consuming to carry out the task of documenting all this, it can save a lot of time and energy when it comes to training people. An employee who doesn’t know how to perform a task can simply read the procedure and get the task done without any help from any other colleagues. One can rest assured that the job will be done with less likelihood of errors occurring. It also means that less time and effort will be spent “killing fires” and allow for more focus on system improvement.

As time goes on these procedures and policies may need to be updated due to the natural changes that occur in technology, industry and the workplace. What may have worked several months ago may no longer be applicable today. This is where it pays off to review the agreed practices and make any changes where necessary. Alternatively an organisation can ensure that processes are continually tweaked and improved, in which case it constantly stays up to date.

Taylor Rose offer online legal document creation for personal and business use. Find them on Twitter - @TaylorRoseLaw

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