There is no company in the world today, whether public or private, that does not have a compiled standard of operations. Whatever the company is involved in, be it products, manufacturing or service, as long as there are human beings working in them, there exists a manual or handbook. The purpose of the handbook is to maintain some uniformity of pattern in policies and procedures. From personal safety to company security to dress codes and hours of work and overtime, the company has to have a written standard that everyone from manager to clerk must follow or adhere to.
A company that has just been formed may not have existing standards, but they will need to have one before they begin operations. And this can be achieved by borrowing from another firm through their human resources department especially if these HRD officials belong to an association of personnel managers or the like. An astute human resource manager can do his or her part by doing some interviews and checking manuals from other firms with similar operations to theirs.
One important factor that compels companies to prepare a well-designed handbook or operations and procedures has to do with the law. In the U.S. there is a standard operating procedure for manufacturing firms and there is another department known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the Labor Department. This department oversees the type of work done by various firms particularly in relation to their workers and employees. With the OSHA monitoring the way U.S. companies relate with the safety of their employees, the individuals feel more secure at their workplace knowing that their managers are aware of making the work areas safe for them to work in. The OSHA has formulated a set of policies and procedures in relation to firms licensed to operate in a particular state of the Union.
In the OSHA handbook the liabilities and penalties are spelled out clearly for all executives to see and understand. Every firm’s HRM officials, in particular, are even invited to attend seminars by the OSHA whenever new policies related to employee health and safety are approved by Congress and become laws. In this way, the operations of companies will be less hazardous and more convivial to work in, thus enjoying a good reputation from the community and associations that the firm belongs to.
Aside from conferring with other firms’ HRD heads, the individual seeking to produce his or her own company’s manual should also do the next step which is to speak to supervisors and department heads regarding their department’s objectives and expectations from their workers. These expectations become part of the handbook or manual which will govern performance standards, quality norms that can be evaluated and so on. Once a standard is understood by both manager and workers alike, it is relatively easy to judge whether work is being done correctly or not. There will be a basis for action by managers on the individual who is not performing according to standards as explained in the manual.
Once individual officials, heads, and other persons involved in operations have been interviewed, then the next step is for the individual to translate the interview into polices and procedures that will be a part of the handbook of behavior that will be printed and distributed to all levels of the management—from top managers down to clerical levels. It must be understood that the written policies and procedures as stated by the managers must first be cleared and checked by the concerned managers before a final printing is made. In this way everyone including the labor union leaders may know what the score is and what do’s and don’ts there are that the interacting employees should be aware of.
The importance of employee handbooks and manuals cannot be over emphasized especially these days when many new equipment and machines come into play. The only way that everyone concerned can operate professionally is to know what the manual of a company’s policies, procedures and behavior should be.