Policy and Procedure, what is it and would anyone need one?
A Policy and Procedure is a set of instructions or documents on how to handle and run your business. Sounds a bit strange to have a document that tells you how to run your business, after all you know how to run your business, right?
Actually, its not just about your business – nobody knows how to run your business better than you do whether it be boat repair, baking, or web design. No, having a policy and procedure is much more than that. It’s about how to run the front office, hire and fire, what to do in case of an emergency, etc. In a nut shell, the policy and procedure document allow everyone to understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits.
Even though your the boss slash owner, you still need these rules to live by. Why? If you don’t have a policy in place, then you can find yourself in court cause you changed the rules to fit your needs as you see fit or fired one of your employee’s for the wrong reason.
- Employees understand what is expected of them
- Disputes may be resolved by determining whether or not policies and procedures have been followed.
- Plans are already in place in the case of an emergency.
- It provides proof that your organization has strict performance requirements for employees/volunteers, which, in the end, could improve the defensibly of claims.
- It protects the image of the organization
It’s important to know that not everyone will have all the answers or procedures about how to handle everything within your business however starting one, having one and adding to your policy as your business grows will help reduce those risk in the future.
Bah you say. I don’t need anything like that. I don’t even have employee’s, it’s just me. Plus I don’t have the time or know where to start a policy and procedure document.
Right. Even thou you are a one person operation, it’s important to still have one. You do have customers or clients, correct?. Keep in mind that having a policy and procedure isn’t a demeanor against you, its about your business, how you think what needs to be done, and how you want your business to run.
Here’s some helpful guidelines to help you start:
- Keep the policy in writing like Word or Google Documents
- Include the inception date and any revision dates so that there is no mistake about which version is current.
- Ensure that the policy is compliant with federal, provincial and municipal regulations.
- Find a template that fits your organization.
- Set out in clear and simple terms what your policy is for, how it is to be carried out and by whom.
Why you still need one even though your a one person operation.
For example, let’s play the what if game. What if you’re sick, get into an accident (God forbid) or you want to go on vacation? Who will run the business during those times? Will they know how to run it the way you want it ran? What if your business starts to pick up so much business that you really do need to hire an employee? Are you going to hire anyone off the streets? Or do you have a procedure for that on what the perfect (or near perfect) employee will look like?
At We Make Web Happen, when I started this company, I had to start writing a policy and procedure just so I knew how to handle a non-paying client, what my day to day hours would be and what holidays I wanted the business to close, etc. I also have in place what it would looked like to sell, to hire and, believe or not, suggested examples on how to write a “Thank You” note for the client once a project was completed. Today, we keeps adding and subtracting to our policy and procedures manual. It’s a breathing, living document that represents our company and how we conduct ourselves within it.