Unlock the path to organizational excellence with our guide on establishing effective policies and procedures. From streamlining operations to ensuring consistency, read 8 Figure Firm’s blog to learn the essential steps you need to take to foster excellence within your organization.
Policy and Procedures
Policy and procedures may often be discussed together, but it’s crucial to understand that they have distinct meanings. So, what are policies and procedures?
A policy is created to reach the necessary goals and objectives of a business. It mandates, specifies, or prohibits certain activities to ensure compliance with existing laws and regulations, maximize operational efficiency, and reduce company risks.
Adopting an effective policy is essential for the smooth functioning of any law firm as it outlines the guidelines and standards by which it manages its affairs.
On the other hand, procedures are detailed step-by-step instructions that outline how to implement a policy. These detail the offices and positions responsible for policy implementation, while also providing instructions on how to execute said policy and where to look for additional information.
A well-executed and authorized procedure ensures that policies are implemented effectively and consistently.
Procedures have the flexibility to be modified as per the latest standards and techniques, unlike policies that are more rigid and remain constant. This is why it is advisable to differentiate between policy and procedure to maximize effectiveness.
Lastly, employees need to have a clear understanding of policy requirements, which should be separate from the implementation process.
Benefits of Having a Policy & Procedures System
There are many benefits of having well-established policies and procedures in your law firm.
A Policy and Procedure System:
- Ensures consistency, by standardizing practices and enabling all participants to abide by the same regulations.
- Sets clear expectations on how to handle workplace situations.
- Provides direction regarding what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
- Establishes a fair and equitable system within the organization, maintaining order, and ensuring that everyone is treated with fairness and respect.
- Acts as an effective training aid, providing clear guidelines and delegating responsibilities.
- Assists with onboarding new employees and ensures that employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
How to Create a Policy and Procedures
Take a look at the four steps needed to develop a policy and procedures.
1. Identify the Need for a New Policy or Procedure
Employers should prioritize creating a clear policy when employees demonstrate uncertainty or lack of understanding in managing specific scenarios. Another reason would be the necessity for a company to comply with relevant government laws and regulations.
2. Determine The Content
Before mentioning the parts of a policy, make sure to keep these tips in mind when writing your policy content.
Simplify your policy and procedure documents to avoid confusion among your employees. Remember, long and complicated documents are prone to misinterpretation and create a lack of understanding regarding workplace protocols.
Using simple and clear language in your policy documents will ensure that all employees, regardless of their level, understand what is expected of them.
The typical components of a policy are:
Title: It should accurately encompass and reflect the entirety of its content.
Policy statement: In this section, it is important to provide a detailed explanation of why the policy is being created. Address the questions of who, why, what, when, and where to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the policy’s purpose.
Procedure: In this section, clearly outline the steps necessary to achieve the goals stated in the policy statement. Ensure that the rules are explicit and leave no room for interpretation. Provide comprehensive details that leave no room for confusion or misinterpretation.
Responsibilities: Make sure to include a comprehensive list of different people or departments that will be accountable for policy enforcement. Don’t forget to provide the necessary contact information as well.
Effective date. The policy is considered in force on the date provided.
Glossary. This includes clear and concise definitions of all relevant terms used to avoid confusion.
After drafting the policy, it is crucial to effectively communicate with managers and supervisors who will be responsible for implementing it. These communications must be taken into consideration for any required revisions before legal counsel carries out the final policy review.
4. Consider the Required Procedures
Internal policies must be backed by proper procedures to ensure their effective implementation. It is important to evaluate if there is a necessity for providing explicit instructions regarding the execution of the policy and its responsible personnel.
Share with Employees
Fully informing employees about changes when implementing new policies and procedures is crucial.
Additionally, it is important to carefully evaluate different communication options such as e-mail, memos, individual or small group meetings, or all-employee company meetings to determine which would be the most appropriate and efficient communication method to share the news with your organization.
Make sure to include the new policy and procedure in the organization’s employee handbook and new-hire orientation programs as necessary. This will ensure that all employees are aware of the changes and can comply accordingly.
Lastly, don’t forget to provide your employees with clear instructions on accessing the policy and procedures later.
Update and Revise
It is imperative to regularly review organizational policies to ensure full compliance with both federal and state laws and to meet the needs of the firm.
It is important to keep in mind that new laws, regulations, and court cases can impact policy language and implementation. Staying up-to-date with these changes is crucial for businesses.
By establishing robust policies and procedures, your organization can pave the way for greater efficiency, consistency, and overall excellence, setting the stage for long-term success.
Speak to the Experts
At 8 Figure Firm, we know the importance and benefits of having well-established policies and procedures—our ONE.Coach program is designed to equip you with the tools you need to successfully design your policy and procedures and take your law firm to the top.
If you’re ready to take your law firm to the next level, register for ONE.Coach today. We’ll help you turn your law firm into a law business.