Monday, November 17, 2014

Set Up Policies & Procedures For Small Business


I wrote this a while back and reading it again I was wondering what I'd change. Not much but I would add that the technology to manage this is so much more accessible now.  That means that there is no excuse for businesses to be struggling through poor attention to creating efficient systems to use for repetitive tasks. Too often poor systems translate into work billed not being paid, and extra cost for business that it doesn't need to spend. And no money going where it can bring in new business. 

Documenting your tasks in the business and producing well-written accurate procedures and policies is your key to a well-run business.  This allows you to systemise your business and that means managing your resources and your compliance obligations efficiently.

 The spin-off advantage - your employees know what they are supposed to be doing - and how - and also why it is important.  That saves you time, ensures consistency and that makes good financial sense.

It reduces stress and lets employees function at high performance and be more productive and happy at work. 

Tasks To Be Performed

Start by capturing every duty within the role for that job. This is a great time to assess if this action is still working effectively, or if there are modifications that can be made to streamline and more efficiently cover that activity.

Starting with tasks means that those doing the role now can take responsibility for completing the tasks and documenting them as they exist. It also allows you to see if some tasks are better assigned to a different role, or perhaps delegated to a new role as the business grows. Of course for new businesses you may be carrying out ALL of these tasks yourself!

Policies and Procedures

Some policies and procedures centre around obligations that a company has to ensure compliance with work health and safety. Others are just good management devices that ensure things get done on time and in the right way. Part of your role as owner or manager of the business is to make it easy for your employees to do the right thing the right way. They should never have to 'guess' what you want or how you want it done to your company specification. Getting this right can be tricky, but this is where you need to be very clear in your instructions and cover every section!

The Employee Manual 

Creating a manual for employees gives you a head start when you want to hire a new person for a role and lets them 'hit the ground running'. You can include your vision and cultural statements and history of the business to date, as well as policies they are to follow and a clear diagram showing to whom they report, their duties and he standard that they are to perform.. Issues around uniform, behaviour and pay dates as well as holiday protocols can all be set out, as well as any drug and alcohol policy, etc. Awards that apply and any additional opportunities for training or career development that may exist can also be included. Also induction procedures.

Organisation Chart

A well articulated heirarchy showing to whom each employee reports does several things. One it shows clearly to whom the employee should go for instruction and to report - and who not to! 

This also serves to clarify to those people to whom the person reports, just where their obligations to the employee reside and makes it easier to recruit new employees if someone leaves or the workload grows and requires more employees to be added.

Training & Testing Knowledge

Having policies and procedures documented is a great start, but it is up to management to ensure that employees - and managers including the owners - understand what the policies mean and that they comply with them. It isn't enough to have a policy and then for the managers to ignore them.

Performance Management

When management and employees have a clearly stated case for what is expected, managing performance becomes simple. You can see if the policies and procedures are being adhered to and should this not be happening, remedial action can be taken as it happens, to correct the behaviour, add any resources that prevent the processes being followed and get everyone back on track.

Getting this all happening can  take some time but it is well worth it. Once policies and procedures are set up you can keep them up-to-date and manage the business more efficiently and without the headaches.

If you need help in getting started, get help.
If you would like me to work with you on this, you can contact me at the address below.

Lindy Asimus
Business Coach
Mobile: 61 + (0) 403 365855

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