Writing effective and efficient Policies & Procedures-Part 1

by todaystrainingblog

I’m not going to give you precise already written policies & procedures (P & P). I will give you the guidelines of how & what to write. I will also emphasize that this is not an all-inclusive list. These are only guidelines. Your industry may have issues that others may not have and I’m not familiar with. So do your own due diligence when writing and updating them. And remember what my last couple of posts has said – slaughter those (sacred) cows immediately! When writing these.

Before we get started on them, here is a short list of how to write them;

  1. Policies are for what needs to be done, procedures are how to accomplish them
  2. they must be written in a clear-cut, concise, & succinct manner
  3. Write them simple enough for any of your employees to understand and follow, making the language readable and understandable by anyone.
  4. Don’t write it so legalistic that only attorneys  or managers with MBA’s can understand
  5. It should be written comparable to the intelligence level of your employees. If you’re employing nothing but college graduates for IT jobs then a higher level is okay. But if you’re hiring drop outs and poorly educated high schoolers then…at a 6th or 8th grade level.
  6. . Follow the ‘old school’ rules of journalism, the 5 W’s & H. Who, what, when, where, why, & how should be included in every procedure and possibly policy as well.

Hiring Procedures

I’m not going to delve far into this area. The reasoning for this is fairly simple. Since I went blind and the economy crashed, the laws that affect what you can do to hire someone have drastically changed. What you can and can’t do when hiring has now become very convoluted, so I’ll give a few basic guidelines here.

  1. Whether you hire from LinkedIn or other job site, always have them fill out an application.
  2. . Ensure that you do all of the due diligence that you can i.e. Background checks, credit checks, motor vehicles, educational, and certifications.
  3. . Never forget the value of checking references. While they can lie, at least you can look for a couple of nuggets of truth.
  4. . Always check with previous employers. Again, you may not get the 100% iron clad guaranteed truth; you can glean some useful tidbits from them.
  5. . Utilize at least 2 or 3 interviews before making your final decision, even for a lowly ‘ditch digger’ position. This will ensure that you are as comfortable with them, as they hopefully are with you, for a long time.

Disciplinary Action

                This section of the P&P needs to be as dispassionate as possible. Does this mean that you can make exceptions, outside the policy for exceptional employees or circumstances? Of course you can. But if you decide to do this, you must ensure that they are included in the policy and not just left to an opinionated manager’s personal decision. And ensure that the procedure says it needs to be documented – and then ensure it’s done.

Another aspect to add to this is that the policy should always make reference to the discipline that the violation of the policy or procedure may bring. Whether it says outright what it may be or a listing to the disciplinary section of your P&P manual.

But please no blanket statements such as “all violations are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination”. These kind of statements leave far too much leeway for either the employee, employer, or in the worst case scenario the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


It would be helpful to you and your staff if you had a set policy and procedure for terminations. And as above it shouldn’t be a blanket policy for everything. What I mean is that each level of employee should have its own policy i.e. probationary or intern employees, long term, and temporary.

And these policies and procedures should be written to take into account all possible scenarios, or as many as feasible. Terminations such as for violent employees should be different than one for an employee who is long term and has had a recent spate of attendance issues.

Always, somewhere in the book, should be a place where it is written where and when the termination will take place. The HR office or the breakroom. And if the reasoning is for potential violence, who else will be there during the meeting and who will be notified, if it becomes necessary i.e. police, security, or someone else.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany.

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                                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear