Imagine running a company where everyone does their own thing—taking time off whenever they want, working at their own speed, or even worse, sharing sensitive company information with third parties. This would cause chaos, lead to a decrease in revenue, and even lost customer churn.

That's where company policies and procedures come in. 

They help teams understand how the company operates, guide everyone toward achieving goals and objectives, prevent misunderstandings, and make it easier for cross-departmental collaboration.

However, when we think of policy and procedure manuals we often imagine a thick, long-forgotten pile of papers that no one wants to read. That’s why policy and procedure materials need to be well-written, easily accessible to everyone, and contain all the important information employees need to know.

That being said, in this article, we'll cover several important elements, including but not limited to:

  • How to write effective policies and procedures
  • The different types of policies and procedures manuals in the workplace
  • Why it's important to have policies and procedures in place for your business

Policies and procedures help employees understand the company's rules and steps and ensure smooth operations. So, let's explore the steps to create this important documentation. 

What Are Policies and Procedures Manuals?

Policies and procedures manuals are like company rulebooks that explain how an organization operates and performs tasks. They're typically intended for HR professionals and higher management, often extensive and detailed, and aimed at helping managers understand and execute organizational policies. 

However, policies and procedures are not the same thing.

Policies are meant to guide and explain the organization's rules, ethics, and responsibilities. They help guide how people behave and make decisions. Simple common examples of policies include:

  1. Coming to work at 9 AM.
  2. Wearing safety gear in risky areas.
  3. Protecting customer information. 

Organizations have various policies in place, like privacy policies, safety policies, dress code policies, recruitment policies, and others. 

Procedures, on the other hand, are the official methods of doing things. They support policies by explaining how to implement them. For example, if a company has a dress code policy, the procedure will outline the steps to enforce it.

For example:

  • Employees are not allowed to wear open-toe shoes in the office.
  • Employees must wear business casual outfits.
  • Employees can wear sports clothing, like sneakers and hoodies, every last Friday of the month.

When combined, policies and procedures help employees understand the organization and how things work. They provide a clear roadmap for everyone and promote consistency and a positive organizational culture. 

In addition, manuals ensure that organizations comply with the law by clearly explaining what needs to be done to meet legal requirements.

Why Does Your Business Need Policies and Procedures?

We already know that policies and procedures manuals set the rules for a company's operations. 

What happens when everyone follows these outlined rules? They know how things work, it promotes equality, improves coordination, and reduces confusion and misunderstandings. 

However, there are more benefits to creating policy and procedure manuals for your business. Let’s take a look at the five most important ones. 

  • Increasing compliance: A policy manual helps ensure that all employees are aware of the company policies and legal requirements. This reduces the risk of non-compliance.
  • Ensures consistency: By providing clear rules and steps, manuals promote a coherent decision-making process across departments and teams.
  • Employee guidance: Employees can easily understand the procedures, expectations, and best practices in the company. 
  • Risk management: Good policies and procedures reduce risks by clearly defining how to handle sensitive information and ensure safety.
  • Helps new employees adapt faster: New hires can quickly understand company policies, procedures, and cultural norms, making their adaptation smoother. 

Who Writes the Policies and Procedures Manuals?

Policies and procedures manuals can be written by multiple team members or by external consultants. However, in most cases, HR teams, department heads or managers, legal teams, and compliance officers take part in crafting these manuals.

Many companies practice collaboration among HR teams, department heads or managers, legal teams, and compliance officers. This approach ensures that relevant professionals contribute their expertise, helping to create comprehensive and practical manuals. 

Types of Policy and Procedure Manuals

There are various types of policies and procedures that companies can implement. Here's a look at the most common ones used by companies.

Employee Handbook

Did you know that companies with updated handbooks are one-third more likely to experience growth when compared to businesses without an employee handbook?

An employee handbook is a guide provided to employees by their employer. It typically educates employees about the company’s values, mission, and vision. It covers essential topics like employee pay and benefits, holidays, PTO, sick time, and personal leave. 

Consistently updating handbooks makes it easier for new team members to adapt and for existing employees to keep track of any changes in expectations and policies. 

IT Policies and Procedures Manual

IT policies and procedures manuals provide guidelines on how to use software and hardware across the business. 

They establish rules, provide guidelines, and clarify the process for purchasing technology within the organization to ensure compatibility and minimize hardware diversity. 

These manuals also outline rules for bringing your software to work, technology security, website policies, and more.

Compliance Manual

Compliance manuals are set in place to ensure that employees’ behavior is following the rules. Commonly these manuals apply to all employees regardless of their position. They help companies protect their integrity and promote ethical behavior. When employees comply with these rules, it also helps companies avoid legal issues.

Operational Manuals

The operational manual outlines the jobs and responsibilities of employees. Simply put, it educates employees on how to perform their jobs. These handbooks often outline integral parts like organizational hierarchy, job descriptions, contact details, and more. Operational manuals help employees work consistently, understand their responsibilities, and know whom they report to.

HR Manual 

Human resources policies are essential in the management process. They help HR professionals understand how their company manages employees by providing clear guidelines on recruitment, promotion, compensation, training, and selection. These policies are important because they ensure all employees are treated equally, improve communication between the organization and its employees, and serve as a foundation for creating employee handbooks.

How to Create a Policy and Procedures Manual

Creating policy and procedure manuals for any organization requires dedication and following a specific set of instructions given its importance and complexity. Let's explore what factors you should consider when writing such a manual.

Consider Important Policy and Procedure Manual Elements

Every policy and procedure manual has a few integral parts that must be included. Here are the most important ones:

  • Purpose statement: Defines the goals and reasons behind the policies and procedures.
  • Scope: Explains where and how the policies and procedures apply within the organization.
  • Policy statement: Clearly states the rules, principles, or guidelines that guide how people behave or make decisions.
  • History: Tracks changes and updates made to the policies and procedures over time.
  • Dates and review cycle: This shows when the policies and procedures were last updated and when they'll be reviewed again.
  • Roles and responsibilities: Clarifies who is responsible for following and enforcing the policies and procedures.
  • Table of contents: Makes it easy for employees to find and use information in the document.

Determine the Scope and Objectives

Before starting to write your policy, you first need to determine a few crucial points that will guide you in the process. 

First, identify the goal and scope of the policy. Specifically, consider what you want to achieve with the new set of rules and to whom they will apply.

For example, if the policy topic is software usage in the organization, you should start with researching how the software is currently used in your company and how its usage affects the workplace and employees.

The person writing the policy should also consider how the absence of such a policy and procedures impacts the workplace, why the policy is needed, and what the ultimate goal of the policy is.

Create a Team 

The next step involves putting together a team to help you write the policy and procedures manual. Your team should include experts on the topic. 

For example, if you're working on a recruitment policy, HR professionals and recruiters can provide invaluable insights.

It's also beneficial to include managers, executives, and external collaborators who are crucial to the writing process.

When assembling your team, ensure you consider their opinions, expectations, and needs. This approach will help tailor your manuals to align with what is acceptable to the team members.

Create the Manual 

Now the fun part -  creating the manual. Here is the process broken down into steps:

  1. Explain the purpose of the manual. Ex. "The purpose of this policy is to define expected standards of behavior and ethics for all employees, promoting a culture of integrity, respect, and compliance within the company."
  2. Explain the scope of the manual i.e. the boundaries of its coverage.
  3. List the roles and responsibilities and explain who is responsible for the tasks.
  4. Explain the procedures. In this section, you should explain the step-by-step processes employees should follow to act according to the policies. 
  5. Add links to the forms and templates.
  6. Include relevant references. This section should include industry standards, links to authoritative sources, or internal documentation to support the policy. 
  7. Add dates when the policy and procedures have been revised and changed. 

Bonus steps: 

  1. Use clear and concise language. The policies and procedures must be understandable and clear for everyone. 
  2. Make sure to include expectations and limitations to the policy. 
  3. Add a glossary of terms at the end of the manual to clarify specific terminology. 
  4. Use relevant visuals if needed. 
  5. Provide examples. 

Gather Feedback

After creating the manual, it's important to get feedback from relevant stakeholders within your company. This process offers valuable insights into the document, helping to identify errors and inconsistencies, and ensuring alignment with employee needs.

Publish the Manual

Once your policy and procedure manual is done, consider distributing it internally to the various teams. 

Ideally, you should send the manuals electronically. 

When multiple employees are affected by a certain policy, a good solution is to store them in one central place that can be accessed by everyone when they need to, and that's where knowledge-based platforms come in. 

Maintain and Refresh the Policy Content

Once everything is finalized, it's crucial to keep the policy manual up to date. Given that laws and regulations frequently evolve, regular updates to your documentation are essential to ensure compliance and relevance.

Find the Right Policy and Procedure Management Software

After creating your policy and procedure manuals, the next step is to make them available to all relevant employees. Everyone who needs to stay up to date should have access to them anytime, anywhere.

Create a central place using knowledge-based software like Helpjuice where all manuals are easily accessible.

Helpjuice acts as a library for all your important technical documentation, making it easier for employees to access and share crucial information.

But why Helpjuice? It boasts multiple features, like a powerful AI search that helps employees easily browse various documents and find what they need, collaboration options that assist your writing teams, and many other features.

By using a knowledge base for your policies and procedures, you can help your company build a culture of knowledge sharing and help employees stay up to date with the newest changes.

Create Policies and Procedures With Helpjuice

Policies and procedures manuals are an important part of every organization. They help teams follow the company's rules, creating a smooth, effective, and safe workplace. 

These manuals contain important information about how the company operates, and without them, the workplace could become disorganized.

Helpjuice is trusted by over 100,000 companies worldwide and can help companies store important documents and make them easily accessible for everyone in the organization. 

Start your free trial today!


What is the difference between policy and procedure?

Policies explain what to do, and procedures explain how to do it. Policies are rules or guides that provide a framework for decision-making. Procedures are processes that explain how to implement a policy.

What is an example of a policy and procedure?

Procedure: All employees must follow safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment. This includes wearing appropriate protective gear and following all safety protocols.

A corresponding procedure might outline steps for reporting hazards.

What is the structure of the policy and procedure documents?

A common structure for a policy and procedure manual includes a title, purpose, and scope to explain what they cover and why. They clearly state rules or steps, assign responsibilities, define key terms, and mention related laws. Changes are tracked over time, and approval details are noted.