Policy is an organized body of rules designed to guide activities of an enterprise to attain reasonable results and thereby be rational, sustainable and effective. A policy is an order, which is formally applied as a process or protocol, and is universally implemented as a method of management. A number of organizational policies are in force at any one time. Policy-related activities include allocation of resources, selection of personnel, establishment of policies for various projects, and rational use of the resources allotted by a policy.
Policy has to be well-defined in terms of both content and form so that every organization can understand and comply with them. Policy is generally adopted by an operational authority within an organization as a method of internal management control. The procedures and instructions in a policy to facilitate effective management of resources, improve decision-making ability of employees, increase productivity and accountability of an organization towards its goals and objectives.
Procedures and policies are to be constantly reviewed and revised, taking into consideration changes in circumstances affecting the business of the organization. Policy helps to determine who is responsible for implementing policies. It also provides the procedures and terms to be followed in the implementation of those policies, including who are authorized to make changes in the policies, the procedure for changing those policies, how modifications are to be made and when to make those changes etc. A company’s policies and procedures form part of its corporate secrets, which need to be safeguarded at all times from unauthorized access. Policies and procedures help to establish the boundaries within which employees are allowed to behave and work.
A number of organizations have formal policies and procedures, while a number of companies have informal policies. Formal policies provide guidelines, requirements, consequences for non-compliance and procedures for reporting and correcting any violation of the policy. Organizations adopt formal policies in order to create a legal and ethical framework within which their employees operate. Such formal policies help to build and maintain an organizational culture. They also give employees a sense of belonging, a sense of belongingness to the organization and to the particular cause or objective for which they work.
Informal workplace policies allow an employee a certain amount of discretionary freedom, but they still have to abide by those policies. An organization adopting informal policies can still create a code of conduct and a system for reporting and correction of conduct or behavior and for disciplining employees. The main advantage of informal policies is that they create a sense of belongingness and group identity within the organization. Such a system allows for better communication between employees and employers. Employees are better able to understand instructions given by their seniors and managers.
Different organizations may require different levels of participation by employees in their organization, as may require different types of procedures and rules. The level of participation by employees will depend on their needs and the nature of their jobs. Different employees may need different types of policies and procedures to accomplish their tasks. Organizations adopting formal policies will usually require employees to formally sign up to the policy and participate in its administration.