Writing policies and procedures is a challenge, even for the experienced technical writer. In order for any organization to function properly, policies and procedures must be clearly written. They need to be accurate, brief, and easy to comprehend. When written correctly, policies and procedures can save time, eliminate frustration, and increase efficiency. This two-day workshop will incorporate the client's existing documents for hands-on review through large group, small group, and individual exercises.
Answers provided by our Writing Effective Policies and Procedures trainer, Catherine S. Hibbard
Q. What's the difference between a policy and a procedure?
A. One way to differentiate between the two is that policies deal with the "what" and the "why" and procedures deal with the "how."
Q. That makes sense. How else are they different?
A. Policies are guidelines that regulate organizational activities. They can also be described as a type of position statement, explaining the organization's stand on a subject and why there is a rule about it.
Q. Why is it so difficult to write policies?
A. Sometimes writing policy statements is a challenge because they can be broad in nature, general in wording, and ambiguous.
Q. Can you give an example of a policy statement that is too general?
A. Absolutely. Company ABC has this policy statement on their Web site: We believe in providing our customers with the best customer service in our entire industry.
Q. How could that statement be improved?
A. Most readers would respond by thinking, "Okay. How do you do that?" The statement lacks specificity. If I were a customer, I would like to know how the outstanding service will be delivered.
Q. Is this where procedures comes into play?
A. Yes. Procedures are the normal method of handling things. They are protocols for implementation—the "how to." Procedures are action based and outline the steps you expect people to take and the sequence to follow. Frequently, they point out the consequences of failure to comply (e.g., damage, loss, injury, discipline).
Q. What should writers keep in mind when writing procedures?
A. Clearly written procedures are specific.
Q: Can you suggest some Internet resources related to writing policies and procedures
A: Yes. Click on the links below to find additional valuable information on technical writing to help in writing policies and procedures.
"I would like you to know that your last class had a definite impact on how we write our policies and procedures. Your efforts resulted in direct improvement. Sometimes I don't see this with training, and we appreciate this. You made a difference. We were impressed with the quality and quantity of the material covered in this course. More importantly, this course has triggered a dialog on our team about specific measures and strategies to improve the overall look and content of our policies. I would highly recommend that this course for those involved in policy and procedure development."Team Leader - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
"Catherine did a great job with the training. The class was engaging and the time went by quickly. I consider this one of the better training classes that I was able to be a part of at this company. The material and organized and relevant and Catherine knew her material. Please bring her back again to offer this training to others."Manager - Research and Development Division
Cypress Media Group presents this seminar as an on-site offering at your work location or at an off-site location of your choice. We can customize this training program to suit your precise training needs.
For economic reasons, this seminar is only offered to groups of roughly three or more people with the same training needs. If you have a group with similar training needs, please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.
We do not offer this course as an open enrollment public offering for individuals. If you have fewer than three participants who are interested in this course, the cost will be the same as for a larger group.
Please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.
Catherine S. Hibbard is a nationally recognized expert in business and technical writing. She conducts training seminars in technical and business writing, writing effective policies and procedures, and proofreading/editing.
Ms. Hibbard's client base, which is diverse and impressive, draws from both corporations and government agencies such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several NASA centers, and numerous military branches. Her corporate clients include Nestlé Purina, Verizon, and Northrop Grumman to name just a few. She has been awarded contracts for large training initiatives with the Office of Professional Management (OPM), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Catherine was ranked 9th on The Top 100 Influencers in #Techcomm bloggers list in 2013.
She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect to her on Linkedin.