One of the first things needed on any policies and procedures project is to establish a framework for your policies and procedure deployment. Your framework includes the structure and responsibility for how policies and procedures originate, the repository model for policy and procedure maintenance, and the guidelines for records and retention. Your policy on policies and procedures provides the principles to guide the actions involved in deploying your standard operating procedures.
Your policies and procedures deployment framework consists of six steps :
Where do policies and procedures come from? In any organization, the structure and responsibility for how policies and procedures originate depends on the amount of your industry’s regulation (i.e. FDA, HIPPA, OSHA, EPA), standards (ISO, ITIL, JCAHO), or management directives (strategy, quality, branding). Usually it stems from your organization chart.
Some may form a project team or steering committee to develop strategy. Your goals in Development and Approval are to ensure clarity and consistency among all of your policies and procedures, as well as reflect best practices, compliance, and relevancy to your organization. A steering committee, coupled with procedure review guidelines will help ensure that your policies and procedures meet your goals.
Where do policies and procedures go? Once your standard operating procedures have been developed and approved, they are ready for release and usage by the people that need to use them. Procedures exist to standardize a process. Every process should produce data that should be recorded on a form, which produces a record of how the process performed.
Users need to know how to find procedures they need and what the record creation and retention guidelines are at the company. Sometimes these record retention rules are required by standards or regulations. Even if it is not required then it is a good business practice to capture data and use it to understand your process performance.
When do policies and procedures change? Nothing is static. Competitors change your performance criteria, customers demand more for less, and new technology is introduced requiring you to evolve your business practices. Your policies and procedures should be changing all the time to reflect these marketplace dynamics. Continuous improvement requires that you frequently review your business processes and make changes to your business processes to improve performance and stay competitive in the marketplace. When your process changes, then the cycle starts all over again with development.
Constant change requires some type of document management software or repository for your policy and procedure maintenance. Many people use a share drive as a simple repository for all documents. But, if you have a lot of documents, used by a lot of people, that are in a lot of locations, then a simple share drive will not work. Document control will become a nightmare using simple share drives. That’s why you will need a way to manage your policies and procedures documents.
Your policy on policies and procedures should cover the six steps of your deployment framework: development, approval, distribution, implementation, regular review, and revision of all of your policies and procedures. Development and Approval includes the structure and responsibility for how policies and procedures originate. Distribution and Implementation covers the guidelines for records and retention. Document Review and Revision focuses on your repository model for policy and procedure maintenance.
That is how your policy on policies and procedures provides the values that guide the actions your policies and procedures were designed to deliver. Download free policies and procedures in easy to edit Microsoft Word templates that you can use to create your own policy and procedure documents.