Policies and procedures are the foundation stones upon which all businesses are built. Without effective policies and procedures businesses do not have an appropriate guideline to provide staff with sufficient information to ensure that they carry out their tasks in an appropriate manner.

Policy written and documented in the correct manner will provide clear measurability for an organisation to help determine its effectiveness in the marketplace. Policies and procedures also have the ability to add a measure of safety to manufacturing or service delivery practices and provide guidelines and guidance for dealing with difficult circumstances and occurrences.

Time management is necessary in today’s competitive world and the ability to respond quickly to new opportunities or unforeseen circumstances is more easily accomplished with strong and tested policies in place. Without the guidelines that policies provide business could easily flounder, may spend monies, repeated less than efficient and effective practices strategies, and perhaps accidentally overstep into unlawful practices, leaving the organisation vulnerable.

There are a number of steps required in the development of policy to ensure that the policy is not effective and can be implemented in an appropriate manner.

A significant challenge facing all businesses is how to develop an appropriate policy response to a particular issue. Issues that require a policy response fall into two categories external issues, and internal issues. Organisations that failed to deal with both external and internal issues have laid foundations for failure.

External issues could include challenges such as changes in taxation thresholds, introduction of new federal or state laws, dynamic changes in the marketplace, direct changes in competitors behaviour.

Internal issues might include things such as labour shortages, cost of labour, change of plant and equipment, change of personnel, introduction of new procedures, changes in organisational structure.

The challenge for a number of small to medium size businesses is that they do not necessarily have the internal resources required to develop an appropriate policy response in a time frame that deals effectively with the issues. The challenge for larger organisations is that an appropriate policy can be developed they don’t necessarily have the resources to ensure that all staff fully understand the issues that need to be implemented with the introduction of new policy.

For policy to be effective there are a number of issues that need to be addressed during the writing and implementation stages if organisational goals are to be achieved. These include but are not limited to;

  • Responsibilities associated with policy development.
  • The Law and Policy Development.
  • Labour and employment laws.
  • Workplace Standards
  • The writing process everything you need to write effect policy.
  • General rules on policy writing.
  • A detailed overview of the steps included in the policy writing cycle.
  • And a detailed explanation of the 17 characteristics of good policy.
  • The McKinsey 7S model to help identify a number of audits that can be conducted in an organisation to help determine which departments will need assistance as policy is both developed and implemented.

Policies can be described in three different ways firstly as an authoritative choice secondly as a hypothesis and thirdly as an objective form of action. The majority of firms and businesses identify that policies are in fact a form of action and behaviour required by staff in particular situations.

Michael D Leonard is Chief Executive Officer of Health Ed Dimensions International and has over 25 years experience in the management of Healthcare Organisations and the delivery of leadership management programs. Michael has worked both nationally and internationally and has lectured for a number of Universities in the areas of Change Management, Organisational Behaviour, Leadership and Management, Policy Development and Analysis. Michael invites you to visit his website [http://www.developingpolicy.com] where you can download a copy of his new eBook Effective Policy Writing. Michael can be contacted at myknowledgepoint@gmail.com

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