Things To Cover In A Procedures Handbook

If you are developing a procedures handbook for your employees, here is a checklist of items that you may want to include.

Developing a procedures handbook for a company's employees can be a challenging task. Not only must you include information that will help your workers do an effective job, you also should anticipate specific facts or details that, if omitted, can lead to safety, technical, or legal problems.

If you are preparing a procedures handbook for your staff, here are suggestions for topics that many companies include and that your employees may find helpful or even necessary.

1. Job descriptions. A brief explanation of each company job role will help employees understand how each job contributes to the organization. Include the precise job title and if desired, the name of the person currently holding this job. Keep in mind, however, that using names means you will have to periodically update the manual as employees change jobs.

2. Flow chart. Show how each job links together and performs a specific company function. You can list this information by category or use a graphic. Some manuals include both.

3. Equipment list. If you are tailoring copies of the manual to individual employees, you may want to add separate equipment lists to each copy of the procedures. But if your company is small or employees can benefit from seeing how all the equipment is used, describe it all. List its technical name, and consider adding an informal definition of its use or purpose.

3. Equipment function. Describe each piece of equipment's function, using a step-by-step process that simplifies the process for everyone's understanding. Diagrams may be helpful.

4. Job duties. Detail each job description, unless you are providing individual copies to employees. Use clear-cut language and basic terms to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.

5. Safety procedures. Explain the company's safety procedures and indicate where first aid supplies are located. Describe emergency steps to follow, along with names of people to contact and telephone numbers to call, such as 9-1-1. (Also post this information around the company for clear access.) You also may want to list a few instructions for treating victims of trauma, shock, or sudden illness, or perhaps invest in a Red Cross emergency response training class for your staff.

6. Malfunctions. If a piece of machinery fails or the production profess slows or stops, list steps that advise employees about what to do, especially during an evening or night shift, if you have them.

7. Misconduct. While a policies manual will cover most types of behavior problems, a sudden, extreme, random, or emergency incident requires guidelines for processing by co-workers or supervisors. (This is more urgent than a disciplinary problem.)

8. Disciplinary issues. Your staff needs to know what to do when an employee fails to come to work without reporting off, refuses to work while on the job site, or mishandles job duties or relationships with co-workers. A simple reporting mechanism should be outlined so that the appropriate company official can handle the situation.

9. Emergencies. Guidelines for responding to weather problems, terrorist threats, or "acts of God" such as an explosion should be explained in terms that employees can quickly follow.

10. Maintenance. Explain how equipment and work stations as well as the office in general are to be maintained by employees. This may include sweeping, dusting, personal effects, and other procedures that may not be part of an employee's routine duties but require occasional attention.

Most procedures manuals cover far more than the above, but these topics provide a good starting place. Review other companies' samples, if available, and ask your staff about the kinds of information they would like to have in a procedures handbook. Or hire a freelance writer with plentiful experience and skills who can quickly assemble the needed information and have it printed in an attractive format. Handling procedures correctly is an important part of a company's success, so help your employees do their best to follow organizational guidelines.

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