Small Business Policy Template

Each company has its intern regulations that an employee must know and follow. You have to communicate them transparently and straightforwardly to ensure the employees understand the company's policy and its consequences.

The company policies and procedures document is also called the policy manual or the handbook.

Follow our simple instructions and write your company's policy or, if you want a faster solution or some inspiration, download our free company's policy template for small businesses. ↓

What is a company policy document?

A company policy document is a formal written statement that outlines the principles, guidelines, and rules that govern the behavior and decisions of employees within an organization. These policies cover various aspects of the workplace, including conduct, ethics, employee benefits, and more. They are a foundation for maintaining consistency, compliance, and a healthy work environment.

Importance of a company policy and procedures document

The company's policies cover everything from employees' behavior to payroll and confidentiality. Some of them are imposed by labor regulations. Others state the company's values and principles. Others provide procedures for solving conflicts, increasing employees' satisfaction, and enhancing work relations. You can choose to write a single long document covering all the company's policies or writing a separate document for each of them. Also, it's important to update the documents and communicate changes to the employees regularly.

The company's policy can act as a legal document. Ensure your document respects the labor legislation and has the legal department's approval or upper management. The document should be dated and signed.

What are the key elements of a company policy?

Before composing the company's policy document, you need to understand why it's necessary and what problems it solves. It has to be consistent and easy to understand and to ensure compliance with organizational values. Structure the information, define terms and concepts if necessary, and explain very well the role and responsibilities of the parties. Include the following:

  1. Information about the policy – The document should include relevant data such as the policy's name, the name and contact data of the person who wrote it, and the effective date.
  2. The purpose of the policy – Make very clear from the beginning the groups of employees affected by the policy. It may be just for a small group of employees or for all of them. Also, state the purpose of the policy. It should be evident if the policy has legal value or is an intern set of guidelines.
  3. The description of the policy – Each company's policy should be described in detail. Mention everything, starting with the severity of the policy and ending with the consequences of not following the policy. Use standard language and avoid any misinterpretations and misleading. Within the document, detailed procedures, supervising methods, internal rules, and anything can help the employee comply with the policy.
  4. Signatures – Make sure the document is approved by upper management and/or the legal department.

How to Write Effective Company Policies and Procedures?

When you write a company policy document or handbook, reflect about the following these 7 steps:

  1. Understand Your Objectives: Clearly define the purpose and goals of the policy or procedure.
  2. Research and Compliance: Ensure your documents align with relevant laws and industry standards.
  3. Involve Stakeholders: Consult with employees, managers, and legal experts to gather input and ensure buy-in.
  4. Clarity and Simplicity: Use plain language and straightforward wording to make the documents easy to understand.
  5. Structure and Formatting: Organize the content logically, use headers, bullet points, and numbering for clarity.
  6. Review and Revision: Periodically review and update policies and procedures to keep them relevant and effective.
  7. Communication: Clearly communicate policy changes to employees and provide training where necessary.

What are the key topics the business procedure manual should contain?

A business procedure manual should cover a range of topics depending on the organization's specific needs. Here are some key topics often included:

  1. Introduction: An overview of the manual's purpose and scope.
  2. Table of Contents: A clear outline of the manual's sections and topics.
  3. Mission and Values: Reinforce the company's mission, vision and core values.
  4. Roles and Responsibilities: Define the responsibilities of different positions within the organization.
  5. Operating Procedures: Detailed instructions for various tasks and processes.
  6. For example

    • Work-from-home policy
    • Paid time off policy
    • Sick leave requests
    • Working hours and attendance policy
    • Personal emergency leave policy.
  7. Compliance and Legal Requirements: Information on relevant laws and regulations employees must adhere to.
  8. Health and Safety: Procedures related to workplace safety and emergency protocols.
  9. HR Policies: Employment, benefits, time off, and conduct policies.
  10. IT and Data Security: Guidelines for data protection and IT security.
  11. Communication and Reporting: How to handle internal and external communication and reporting.
  12. Quality Assurance: Steps to maintain and improve the quality of products or services.
  13. Training and Development: Guidelines for employee training and development opportunities.
  14. Conflict Resolution: How to handle disputes and conflicts within the organization.
  15. Performance Management: Procedures for setting goals, evaluations, and feedback.
  16. References: Appendices and references for additional resources.

Remember, business procedure manuals should be living documents that evolve with your company's needs and industry changes. Regular updates and clear communication about changes are crucial.

Related: Code of conduct examples.

Download our Company Policy and Procedures Template

Download the Small Business Policy Template

Examples of company policies and procedures manuals or handbooks

Tip: If you're looking for more specific ways to complete your leave section within the company policy document, take a look at how Gitlab or the team at Remotecom does it. Their Handbooks are public and are very nice reads.


What Is a Policy?

A policy is a high-level statement that defines a company's stance or position on a particular issue or topic. Policies set the overall direction, intent, and boundaries for employees. They provide a framework for decision-making and help ensure alignment with the company's values and objectives. Examples include an Equal Opportunity Employment Policy or a Data Security Policy.

What Is a Procedure?

A procedure is a detailed, step-by-step plan that outlines how a specific task or process should be carried out. Procedures provide the specific actions employees should follow to achieve consistency and efficiency in their work. For instance, an Onboarding Procedure might detail the steps to welcome a new employee to the company.

What Is a Process?

A process is a series of related activities or tasks that, when executed in a specific order, result in a desired outcome. Processes are broader than procedures and often encompass multiple steps and various organizational roles. For example, the hiring process includes methods like posting a job, interviewing candidates, and making a job offer.

What are the differences between Policies and Procedures?

Policies focus more on what should be done and why, guiding decisions. Procedures, however, are specific instructions on how tasks or processes are carried out. Policies set the boundaries, and procedures provide the actions that keep employees within those boundaries. Both are essential for ensuring consistency and compliance.

Tip: Using our employee self-service, the employees can access their work records, leave balance, and company policies. You can update the policies fast and efficiently, request approval from the management or legal department, and notify all affected employees at once. Sounds good? That's more! LeaveBoard is entirely free for businesses with less than nine employees.

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