Words are easy – you just say them, but thoughts are different. Thoughts are about how you translate those words into a something meaningful, an expression of what you want to do.
In a sense it is the blue-print that people can follow within the organisation. It sets the operational boundaries. Rather like a country which expresses its aspirations through a Constitution, organisations set out those same aspirations in the form of policies and procedures.
All successful organisations have systems. Every employee working for a company has a set of rules to follow as they complete a task – a policy. They may also have instructions that show them exactly how to complete each task – a procedure. Too often these terms are used interchangeably, but there are key details in each that make them necessary on their own for a complete working system.
Policies are clear, simple statements of how your organisation intends to conduct its services, actions or business. They provide a set of guiding principles to help with decision making and they need not be long or complicated.
Procedures describe how each policy will be put into action in your organisation. Procedures usually outline:
- who will do what
- what steps they need to take
- which forms or documents to use
Policies and the accompanying procedures will vary between workplaces because they reflect the values, approaches and commitments of a specific organisation and its culture. But to capture equality, diversity successfully each policy and each procedure needs to be inclusive.
But let’s be clear – simply by having a policy or procedure it doesn't follow that is what is actually happening on the ground – their practices.