How do you create operational policies that everyone will be willing to follow?
Many offices that I have worked with have had an office policy manual that would take a year to read through.
I have always been of the thought that a business can run successfully with having only a few good company polices in place.
For people to want to follow policies they must be understandable and reasonable. Employees also must be able to see the points below in each policy that they are expected to abide by.
- Fair – If employees can see and understand the policy they are expected to uphold has a purpose, they can see why it makes sense and feel that it is fair; they will have fewer problems with following it.
- Relevant – The policy has to be relevant to all those who have to uphold it. If it does not apply to some of the employees then don’t expect them to follow it. This is why all policies need to be carefully thought through.
- Consistent – Being flexible has its place. When it comes to policies make sure that the consequences for breaking polices are clear and happen immediately. If your policy says something will happen if it is broken make sure it happens consistently each time.
- Enforced – If employees feel that there is no real consequence or that only maybe there is a consequence, then they will not respect the policies. Your rules are only as good as your ability to enforce them.
I read once that effective managers keep their rules “light and tight.”
They delete any unnecessary items, leaving only those policies, which have solid rationale. This makes the few rules they have easier to remember, justify and enforce.
This seems like a pretty good management rule to follow. If your policy manual seems a bit overweight maybe you might want to take out your clippers and trim it down some.