Policies and procedures are the guidelines used to ensure that companies, organizations, and institutions abide by the rules set out for them. They provide a framework for decision-making, allowing employees or members to take appropriate action when confronted with certain situations. Policies and procedures are often designed to protect the interests of customers, staff, shareholders, and other stakeholders.
Policies define the way an organization behaves. They ensure business operations run smoothly by setting clear expectations of behavior and providing guidance on how to handle certain situations. Policies are typically written in a formal document that is reviewed regularly for accuracy and relevance. Common policies include those related to safety, security, confidentiality, customer service, health and safety at work, human resources management (such as recruitment and employee relations), information technology (IT), data protection and financial compliance.
Procedures are the step-by-step instructions that support policies by describing how they should be put into practice. Procedures explain how tasks should be completed in order to meet policy objectives. They also provide detailed guidance on specific activities such as IT security protocols or recruitment processes so employees know exactly what they need to do in each situation. This helps ensure consistency across an organization while reducing errors or mistakes that could lead to legal liabilities or other costly issues.