How to Create Better Policies and Procedures

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Policies and procedures are important documents that outline the way an organization operates. If you want people to follow them, they need to be clear and specific. What are some things you can do to ensure you have effective policies and procedures? We offer six best practices.

Focus on the User

Too often, policies and procedures are written for a management or HR perspective. The best documents are written for the perspective of users and consider their needs and wants.

Include Only Necessary Information

Don’t include irrelevant information, even if it pertains to your topic. Only include information users must have to accomplish a task or understand a rule.

Use Plain Language

Write using language that all users can understand while being clear, concise and specific. This helps prevent confusion and incorrect interpretations.

Use a Neutral Tone

Encourage cooperation with a neutral, respectful tone. People respond better when it’s assumed they will meet expectations, not when it’s assumed they will fail to comply with expectations.

Reflect Current Practices

All policies and procures should reflect current practices and be kept up to date. Don’t include information that addresses past practices or issues.

Focus on Stable Conditions

Policies and procedures should focus on stable conditions, meaning situations that don’t change constantly. It’s too difficult for users to keep up with ever changing rules.

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By Marie Antaya, CTDP

Author of The Eclectic Writing Series.