Red tape has had a pretty bad rap over the last few years, but for successful organisations, rules, regulations and procedures are the thing that holds them together when everything else threatens to fall apart.
At DSC we have a whole host of policies and procedures covering everything from how to book and take annual leave, to setting up rooms for conferences and what to do when your computer explodes.
On the face of it you could see our list of over 50 separate policies as excessive, restrictive, or a waste of time – but they’re absolutely the opposite.
The main thing our policies and procedures give us is consistency. They guarantee that every employee, whatever the circumstance, is treated fairly.
Whether it’s booking holidays in busy periods, having annual appraisals or 121s, our policies mean we’re all expecting and experiencing the same things, in the same way – and that those things are in line with our values as an organisation.
There are other benefits too. Our hefty staff handbook means inductions are both easy, and consistent. There’s no huge gap between what you’re supposed to do and what actually happens, because it’s all written down.
For managers, especially new managers, it takes a lot of pressure off dealing with staff problems, because in almost every case, we have a policy that gives guidance and a process to follow. Rather than every manager working out how to deal with the same problems in different ways, they already have the tools to help them.
It also works to empower the staff, as they know “how things work” because they are written down, rather than in the head of their line manager, or hidden away somewhere.
The final thing our policies and procedures give us is time. We spend so little time wrangling, arguing, trying to work out what to do, having to remember what we did last time something happened or dealing with “my manager said this but when so-and-so did the same thing their manager said something else”. Yes it takes time to get the policies right, and many of them have developed considerably over the years, but compared to the time they save us, it’s beyond worth it!
If you think your policies and procedures could do with a tune-up, or you think you might have some gaps where a bit of consistency would help, check out our new downloadable document here. It’s got 36 template policies that you can adapt and tweak to fit your organisation, and is really simple and easy to use.