How To Develop, Write, Implement and Integrate a Policy

Any human activity that needs to be organized, to function in an orderly manner and strive towards meeting the set goals, should ideally have a policy document guiding it. Normally, a policy document contains directions, procedures and guidelines, rules and regulations for actions within the premises or in relation to conducting an activity - this could be a work environment such as an office, factory, or an educational environment like schools, colleges and any organized and coordinated inter-personal activity.

So, how does one develop a policy - ideally ensure the following broad principles. Take a holistic approach, a macro view of the complete activity and its goals. In developing a policy, keep in mind the actual activity and the intent of its organization. Consider welfare of the project, its stakeholders, participants (could be employees, students) and ultimate beneficiaries or consumers of the results emanating from the activity / project. Policy should be developed to complement and streamline the activity and not hinder or burden it.

While writing a policy, you should bear in mind to keep it organized and in simple, easy to understand language without any scope for misinterpretation or for reading it in more than one way. Avoid all confusing languages or contradictions in policy provisions. Above all, maintain consistency.

Commence the document with an introduction that lays out the intent of the policy, its objective, scope and extent of applicability; proceed forward with sub-headings for each activity and lay out the guidelines and rules. If found desirable, take views of all the people who may be affected by, or be required to observe the policy, it instills participative feeling; after all, it is for them finally and the success of a policy is when it is strictly implemented. Anticipate various situations and cover them to the maximum extent possible. It may be possible that there are common set of instructions for a varied set of actions. State this clearly. Establish a chain of command and reporting structure for reading and deciding on the policy provisions. Allow for a mechanism to clarify, resolve disputes, differences and misinterpretations. Finally, provide for penalties arising from non-observance of the policy and also for repeated offences. Do not miss out to provide a table of contents in the beginning of the policy document, an introduction or foreword by the author or chief implementer (this can be the Chairman of a company or principal of a school, you get the idea) authenticates it. End it with an alphabetical or subject wise index for quick and easy reference. Lately, most documents are written on computers and there are various templates available on the Internet, thus making the task of writing easier. Though, I urge the writer to be innovative and not copy an existing policy. Also, a writer of the policy should ensure that it is in consonance with applicable laws and does not contradict any other provisions (such as the articles of association of a company, statement of purpose of an educational trust).

Steps to successful implementation of a policy include establishing a clear chain of command and reporting structure. It enables quicker implementation. Circulate draft policy among participants and obtain their consent to observe it. Provide for an introductory period for understanding and assimilation of the policy. During this time, the policy may be in force but non-observation would only attract notification and not penalty. Conduct introductory meetings, seminars to orient participants with the policy provisions. Its structure and contents should be explained and doubts clarified.

If the aforementioned actions are diligently conducted, integration of a policy into an existing organization will be quite simple. Allow for modification of the policy for better adaptability.

This in general is how to develop, write, implement, and integrate a policy.


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