Not all organizations properly value their employee policy and procedure manual. They see the manual as a necessary task that, once done, can be stuffed in a drawer and ignored.
However, an up-to-date and frequently referred to employee manual is a valuable resource for both the organization and employees.
When thoughtfully implemented in your organization, policy and procedure manuals:
Communicate the values of an organization.
Provide employees with a process to follow that can help them confidently navigate difficult situations, particularly during unique or unusual times.
The manual is an organic document that needs to evolve and adapt with the organization. The current moment illustrates how our policies and procedures need to adapt to the environment and communities we inhabit. Examples of how many organization’s policies have changed this year alone include:
Remote work policies
Health and safety standards
Reimbursement for home office expenses
Why it's important to review even in "normal" times
Frequently reviewing and updating your manual keeps employees informed about changes in company culture and norms. There are several types of organizational updates that may warrant an update to your manual:
Organizational changes, either in the revamp of existing policies or the addition of new ones. Outdated policies put the organization at risk.
Changes in laws or regulations. Examples include the recent changes in BC legislation regarding length of parental leaves. Outdated policies may be non-compliant with new laws and regulations.
Ensuring employees and the company are protected as a result of an incident or policy violation. When responding to an incident that puts a spotlight on a current policy, it’s important to review and ensure that it’s clearly written, understandable and consistently enforced.
Amendments of company mission, vision and values that benefit from effective communication to employees. In order to maintain alignment and connection between professional and personal objectives. Regular reviews keep the organization current with regulations, technology and industry best practices.
Thinking of policies and procedures as inflexible or unchanging is not an accurate reflection of our reality, especially at this moment and into the foreseeable future. There are some core elements that may stay the same but the details should be responsive to changes within the industry, organization and work environment.
The Value of Employee Participation
Commitment and trust are important parts of employee engagement and satisfaction. Making sure employees approve of the current state of the organization helps secure their commitment, which in turn contributes to higher productivity and job satisfaction.
A McKinsey survey showed that in highly complex occupations, engaged employees are typically more productive than lower performers, with high performers being an awe inspiring 800% more productive.
Having highly engaged employees is obviously advantageous and desirable. One study found ten common themes that are related to high employee engagement:
Pride in their employer.
Satisfaction with their employer.
Opportunity to perform well at challenging work.
Recognition and positive feedback for one’s contributions.
Personal support from one’s supervisor.
Effort above and beyond the minimum.
Understanding the link between one’s job and the organization’s mission.
Prospects for future growth with one’s employer.
Intention to stay with one’s employer.
Working for an employer that seeks regular feedback from their employees about the organization's policies and procedures helps make employees feel valued and engaged. That feeds into their ability to effectively contribute to the organization and allows them to feel a sense of belonging within the organizational structure.
Having a policy and procedure manual is of little use if it’s ignored, out of date, and unappreciated. By having a regular process where employees are asked to review and acknowledge the changes and modifications keeps them up to date with any changes and helps them understand their role within the organization.
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