It’s interesting to watch the range of reactions people give when you mention the term “Policies and Procedures”. The system lovers get all excited while the team creatives tend to edge towards the door or their eyes begin to glaze over after the first couple of sentences!
But your Policies and Procedures are absolutely crucial to the smooth running of your business and should encompass your organisation’s purpose and values, as well as your expectations of your team. We caught up with Pip Meecham from Project Box to chat about why policies and procedures are so important for your business.
How do Policies and Procedures impact your staff?
When Policies and procedures are used correctly they can have a really positive impact on your team. They should give your people the space and capacity to focus on what they’re good at and be guided throughout their work day. They should also encompass the values and culture of your business so that your staff understand why you do what you do and can have a clear set of guidelines to follow to keep you all moving in the same direction. They can give your staff more stability, as their expectations are clearly set out for them, alleviating the fear of replacement or losing their jobs. Policies and procedures can increase your staff’s capacity for more work because they’re not questioning how to do their tasks. It frees them up to explore more opportunities within their position and often can encourage them to bring new ideas to the table.
Policies and procedures are also the safety net that allows for your team to take personal time away from their job, either through sickness or annual leave with the knowledge that their position and duties can be covered and another team member can step into the role without a detrimental impact on the running of the business. It allows your team members peace of mind when they are away from their job so that they can relax and enjoy real downtime without the constant rings and pings of their phone for work related queries. Policies and procedures mean that another team member can step in and take over with minimal disruption to your business.
Why is it so important for your staff to know and follow your Policies and Procedures?
Knowledge of your policies and procedures can ensure consistency in the delivery of your business goals, products and services. Consumers want a seamless customer journey with you and your business and your policies and procedures should be outlining your expectations for this journey.
Let your team know right from the start of their employment how important your policies and procedures are to your business and guarantee that your staff understand and acknowledge them as a priority in their onboarding. A great way to do this is through an online system like Team Accelerate, where your staff can read and acknowledge each section as they move through the document. Consider giving your team policy and procedure refreshers every 6 months so that they are reminded of the direction the team is headed in and the expectations of them for their position in the company.
A business that has a team who are all working along the same guidelines towards the same goals will assuredly increase profit and productivity and your policies and procedures will be the rudder to steer your business and team onto bigger and bigger successes.
What are some ways to get your staff successfully using them?
Make sure that you’re explaining the importance of your policies and procedures to your staff as soon as you commence onboarding them and explain to them that they form part of your performance management processes and KPIs. Setting a standard for your staff from Day One and letting them know that, “This is how we do things here, these are our standards”, lets your team know where they stand from the first day and can actually give them more confidence about beginning their journey with your business as an employee. Never underestimate the value of knowing exactly what it is you should be doing, and how you should be doing it as a great reliever of workplace stress and anxiety.
Ensure your staff understand that they will be held to account for any breaches in your policies and procedures once they have been read and acknowledged and engage regularly with your staff through training and revision of them on a regular basis.
Your policies and procedures shouldn’t just be a ‘set and forget’ document, a sure-fire way to increase the possibility of your team neglecting to follow them. They should be live, dynamic documents that get updated regularly, and those updates shared with the team for acknowledgement. Make sure you have a strong initial training program for your new team members. It’s important for the business long term if you take a bit more time during the onboarding process to familiarise your team with how your policies and procedures will direct their career journey with you.
You can be creative with how you present your policies and procedures to your team. For some industries, onsite hard copies may work best, for other businesses you may want to incorporate videos and infographics for acknowledgement. Online HR platforms like Team Accelerate have digital staff policies and procedures which work well for organisations with a remote or shift based workforce. Digital platforms also make it easier for your team to search for particular things within your documents that they may need at a moment’s notice, saving the time of trawling through a hard copy document which could run to hundreds of pages.
Policies and procedures don’t have to be dry and boring. Tailor your delivery of them to your own particular business needs to increase staff engagement and acknowledgement. Remember that they should be as dynamic as your business and revisit them at least annually with your whole team. Try newer and emerging technologies and software as delivery platforms and gauge your team’s engagement.