Policy and Procedures Manuals and Other Documentation
Writing or editing policy manuals and documentation is an area in which I have had experience throughout my entire career in business. Amazingly, I actually enjoy creating manuals and documentation of policies and procedures, although I enjoy MAKING the policies and procedures even more! The best of all worlds is when I can do both.
Because I have a background in “Corporate America,” small business, non-profits, higher education, and state government, as well as voluntarism, I am familiar with a broad range of topics, which should be included, as well as with how to write them.
Also, once upon a time in New York City, I created an entire HR Department – from scratch – developing all attendant policies and procedures plus manuals and then training the employees in everything pertinent to them. In addition, I have created extensive manuals and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for emergency management, step by step financial procedures, procurement policies and procedures, office administration and sales manuals, to name a few. Typically, I have had to train the users upon completion of the individual documents or the entire manuals, and I do love to train and teach! Here are some specific examples.
- Automated procurement systems – Commonwealth of VA (eVA)
- Auditable financial processes – Agency Risk Management and Internal Control Standards (ARMICS). Audits also were done by multiple state and other agencies/departments.
- Emergency operations policies, procedures, and mitigation in accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- HR policies and procedures manuals
Does A Small Business Need Policy Manuals And Employee Handbooks?
If you own a small business, you may think you do not need to have written policies and procedures; but that is incorrect, regardless of whether the policies relate to your employees or to the terms and conditions for sales and relationships with your customers and business partners.
First, learn what the Small Business Administration (SBA) has to say about ways in which you might be breaking the law. The article covers the following topics, and you also may wish to refer to your State Labor Office for laws on this matter.
- Classifying all employees as exempt, whether they are or not
- The flexible lunch break
- Classifying employees as independent contractors
- Not providing harassment and discrimination training to managers and supervisors
- Letting employees decide which hours and how many they want to work each day
- Terminating employees for taking a leave of absence
- Failing to provide a final paycheck to an employee who has not returned company property
- Giving employees loans and deducting repayments from their pay checks
- Non-compete agreements
- Having a “use it or lose it” vacation policy but failing to pay back money-owed on termination
What Policy Manuals and Documentation Should You Include
In An Employee Handbook?
Again, I’m going to refer you to the SBA, because you want to make sure you are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Here is the link to answer that question.
A key to manuals and documentation, of course, is to be able to organize the material well, so that you can find what you need quickly. The language needs to be simple and clear enough for anyone to understand it. The documents need to be available, perhaps, in at least one hard copy; but also they should be stored off-site or “in the Cloud,” as back up resources in case of emergency. They really should/must be reviewed and updated annually (or more frequently, as needed), because laws and regulations, as well as technology have a habit of changing frequently.
There is so much more I could say about both content and process; but this article is getting too long, so watch for my blogs on the subject.
Meanwhile, I can save you money by transmitting drafts and documents electronically, thereby saving both of us time for travel and meetings. I offer you a FREE ONE-HOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION to discuss scope of work and budget, so we can decide if we are “made for each other.” My prices are determined by factors, such as whether I am creating everything from scratch or merely editing work you already have done well. Let’s Talk!
Do It The Write Way! Let My Fingers Do Your Talking!