Organizations spend a lot of time, money and energy developing policy and procedures manuals. They often commission management consultants to research the issues and functions critical to the organization’s continuing success. These can include:
- Aims, goals and ethical base on the organization (known as its mission statement)
- Best practice policies for the particular industry
- Procedure for efficient and effective use of time, office space, materials, fund and staff
- Human resources policy and procedure
Policy and procedures manuals
A policy manual sets out the organization’s aims and mission statement. The procedures manual shows how policies will be implemented. In other words, it contains the practical applications. Both policy and procedures manuals are usually classified as “confidential”. This means they are not available to the public, but are given to staff members when they join the organization.
Using a procedure manual
It is invaluable for employees to have access to procedures manuals for their area. The manuals provide clear information about what is expected of the employees. They also explain the conditions of their employment, and give details of their rights in specific circumstances.
The Human resources procedures manual describes people’s roles and functions in an office.
Workplace practices and procedures
Policy and procedures deal with broad issues, roles and functions, but there are also many day-to-day situations where you might need information or help.
Sometimes another employee can assist with information or advice. There are also many practical resources, such as “help” programs on computer and instruction manuals for equipment, available in the office.
While chatting about personal matters is not good practice, other staff members can often help you solve a minor problem quickly and easy. If you are not sure how to do something, ask someone more experienced.
All software packages on you computer have a “help” menu. Use these to learn short-cuts and to explore the range of functions the software can perform for you.
Set up your own databases and templates for recurring projects. These will enable you to produce updated and amended files quickly and efficiently.
Use search tools as well as you search engine to find information quickly on the Internet.
Solving operational problems
There should be instruction manuals for the equipment and systems you are using. For examples are:
- Answering machine
- Software package
- Fax machine
Keep these references where you can access them easily. Making a good attempt to resolve operational problems demonstrates your initiative and independence.
If, however, you cannot solve the problem quickly, seek help from other experienced operators within the organization, or call in a technician to attend to the fault and/ or repairs.