Posted on / Updated on / in Blog & HR Policies /

In last week’s blog post about the Importance of Policy Development we discussed that a lot of organizations simply don’t put their policies down on paper, and end up getting in trouble because of it.  The bottom line is, get it on paper, and it’s that much easier to defend yourself and control your business.  This post further discusses the importance of having your policies down on paper.

I’d Rather Not Write It All Down

Even if your intentions are good, unwritten policies lead to trouble because they do not provide clear guidance for managers.  Workplace morale and productivity depend on how effectively managers, employees, and colleagues communicate expectations about what is expected, how it will be accomplished, and who is going to do it.

In absence of written policy, a company will often face conflicting messages from managers or supervisors. That is, on some occasions the manager says or does things that convey one message about what’s expected of the employee, and on other occasions the boss says or does things that convey a contradictory message.  Or, you have two different managers in two different departments applying two different rules.

So How Do You Avoid This?

By having a written policy, you have the “final say”, as written policy will trump spoken directive in most situations.  This may mean that the manager giving the inaccurate information be disciplined and counseled to read more and talk less (keep an eye on our blog for more on that topic, soon).

Without a written policy for reference, it’s difficult to determine who is right or follow standards (because standards aren’t clearly defined).  Without a written policy for reference, it’s difficult to establish expectations for employees.

Eliminating – or at the very least reducing – confusion is the ultimate goal, and putting expectations, policies, procedures, and consequences in writing, is a highly useful tool for accomplishing that goal.

Need help in turning your unwritten practices into sound written policies?  IntegrityHR is hosting a free workshop outlining how to create an employee handbook. Click the calendar graphic to download the events schedule.

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.