The Three P’s Your Business Needs: Policies, Processes & Procedures

In our last blog about operational strategy we mentioned how important processes and procedures are for an operations manager who wants to make his workers’ tasks more efficient, less resource dependent, and safer. There are actually Three P’s that businesses need in order to be successful: Policies, processes, and procedures. In this blog we will break down what each of these is and how the three of them work together for the good of the company.

Policies, Processes, and Procedures: What Are They?

Sometimes these three terms are used interchangeably, but they mean quite different things. It’s important to understand their individual aspects and strengths.

A policy is a rule or guideline that lays out clearly for everyone within the company or organization what is expected of them based on the company’s goals, objectives, and values. Often policies are written to clarify how employees are supposed to behave both on the premises and off or to ensure universal compliance with governmental regulations. For example, privacy policies are frequently posted on company websites in order to demonstrate their commitment to their customers’ private data and compliance with the law.

Policies are made by management to give employees direction. For this reason, any policy should include:

  • The specific details of the policy
  • Why the policy is necessary
  • Who will execute the policy
  • Who will make sure the policy is being followed
  • What happens if the policy is not followed

A process is a specific series of actions or steps that the company takes in order to achieve a goal or objective. Processes can involve many different departments within the company. An effective process should follow the company’s rules with a focus on fulfilling the company’s overall mission. Any written process should include who will be executing it and what needs to be performed as well as when and by whom.

Let’s break down the difference between those two things. Many companies implement processes to establish a safe working environment. Safety means many different things, from conducting safety training to maintaining clean and clear exits within a physical plant. When considering the risks to employees, company management will create a process that includes scheduling training, requiring certification, posting signs, and purchasing or replacing safety equipment.

They will also document company policies that employees must abide by in order to make those processes work. This may mean wearing safety goggles or gloves or only allowing certain workers to operate equipment like a forklift. The safety process when established will ensure that all employees know what they have to do to contribute to creating a safe work environment for themselves.

What about Procedures?

Procedures are also very important! A procedure is a step-by-step set of instructions that help employees do certain tasks. In the above example, a relevant procedure would be instructions on how to operate a forklift or how to evacuate a building in case of an emergency. Not all policies require procedures, but more complex tasks are aided by written instruction on how best to perform them.

You can see, then, how the Three P’s work together to improve efficiency and safety, give employees guidance about how to perform their jobs, and optimize operations management. The end result will be more quality control of products or services.

As always, it will take some thought, time, organization, and communication with staff and management to create well-crafted policies, processes, and procedures, but the end result will be that your business will be more profitable and less at risk for accidents or lawsuits.

Updating the Three P’s

The policies, processes, and procedures your company creates will not be one-and-done documents, however. They will change as your business grows, as your workforce grows, and as your product or service offerings change. They will also have to be updated as laws and regulations change.

This is why a policy review process is necessary. Without one, you may not remember what your documents say, and your company will open itself up to indecisiveness or risk. You should schedule a regular review of your documents in order to remain up to date with things that are prone to change like technology and regulation.

Ultimately, your policies, processes, and procedures help you build a more successful business by helping you to decide beforehand how to avoid problems and increase the effectiveness of your workforce. They also help bypass endless discussions or arguments between management and employees. Once a policy is in place, it’s established, and it applies to everyone. End of story.

If you would like help brainstorming, crafting your Three P’s, or updating outdated policies and procedures, that’s why Prometis Partners is here. We can advise you on aspects of management that you may not be familiar or comfortable with and help put your business on a path to greater success. We love a challenge, so call us today.

Vincent Mastrovito

Vincent Mastrovito

[email protected]
(616) 622-3070
250 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 400 
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

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