How to Write Procedure & Policies (With Templates!)

How to Write Procedures and Policies (With Templates)

An organization with clear policies and procedures promotes a positive culture. Everyone knows the company’s vision and values, which shape employee behavior. 

Documented procedures include a list of what’s allowed and what’s prohibited. A well-written policy and procedure manual helps your organization meet legal and regulatory requirements. It provides work instructions for employees and managers to get the best results for all stakeholders. 

However, procedure and policy writing is complex. If you’re new to writing the procedure manual, it’s only fitting that you need help communicating your ideas and clarifying your operations strategy

In this comprehensive guide, we share step-by-step instructions on writing procedures, templates to help you accelerate the process, and tips and best practices for written procedures. 

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What does Writing Procedures mean? 

Procedures combine steps, guidelines, and online resources that help you accomplish a task. Well-written procedures are a series of routine steps, with the order in which they must be taken. 

They include the vision of the leadership group and equip your staff to meet their strategic goals, create performance standards, and identify areas of improvement. 

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Understanding the Importance of Writing Procedures

Policies remove uncertainties about completing routine tasks, ensuring people do the right tasks correctly. This, in turn, helps the business improve efficiency and stay compliant with regulations. 

Although no procedure can guarantee optimal performance, they standardize best practices across all your teams and improve the quality of outcomes.  

Efficiency and productivity

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve spent hours completing a task to perfection, only to discover that your teammate had done it in the past and there was an easier way. 

This is where procedures come in handy. Not only do they prevent duplication and regulate collaborative task management, but efficiently written procedures streamline workflows and empower your team to be more productive. 

Clarity and consistency

Written procedures clarify employees’ expectations and minimize errors. Your goal while writing procedures should be to simply and consistently detail how specific tasks are performed across the organization or standardize processes

Training and onboarding

Your new employees or team members can refer to all your procedures related to a process or product. This shortens their learning curve and reduces their dependency on teammates. Procedures also act as a valuable knowledge transfer resource, easily accessible whenever anyone is unsure how to complete a task. 

Risk mitigation and compliance

Procedures can help you identify and manage potential risks by outlining best practices and safety measures. All industries are subject to country-specific laws and regulations; procedures ensure that organizations comply with these regulations and local laws. 

For instance, a potato chip manufacturer can face legal and regulatory repercussions if the ingredients of the contents are not listed, calling out allergens, if any. Implementing a watertight procedure that complies with regulations can ensure no such misses while packaging and labeling the products.  

Continuous improvement

Update written procedures regularly to ensure organizational processes evolve to stay in tandem with changing business needs. 

For instance, during the pandemic, companies worldwide had to adapt to the new norm of remote working, which necessitated updating their policies and procedures to support their employees’ work in a digital and hybrid setting. 

Accountability and responsibility

Procedures define employees’ roles and responsibilities, defining accountability and ownership.

For instance, when you apply for a reimbursement, you submit your application along with supporting documents through a portal, have it approved by the manager, and finally have the accounts department reimburse the amount. 

This ensures that such processes are implemented seamlessly by identifying discrepancies and tracing them back to the appropriate employee so they can be addressed effectively.

Customer satisfaction

Imagine you’re leading a customer service team that handles numerous customer issues and queries daily. If your team could access a procedures guide that standardizes the process for resolving customer issues and queries promptly and effectively, it would accelerate the speed at which your team resolves common queries and support issues. 

Ease of access 

Too many manuals and loose memos in your organization would result in an information overload. Users lose track of relevant resources or waste time finding them when they need to make informed decisions.

An updated online system that gives users access and allows them to update the procedure steps is a great option for fast-growing organizations where policies and procedures keep evolving. 

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How to Write Procedures 

Define the scope and goals of the procedure

The first step in writing a procedure is to define goals—what specific process or task do you want to focus on? Who will be using this procedure document? 

Make a list of deliverables, blockers, context, and constraints when drafting the procedure. 

Aligning with business processes

Any procedure you write should align with your company’s values and aid their seamless integration into the organizational framework. Involve key stakeholders in the procedure, drafting the step-by-step guide to the process to ensure the document effectively aligns with the overall business processes.  

Selecting the proper business process

If you’re writing multiple procedures, start small. Prioritizing smaller tasks can help you understand the nuances of various internal processes and ease you into writing effective procedures.

Creating procedural structures and version control standards

Build a standard structure that simplifies the procedure-writing process. You can custom-build a procedure template or use publicly available templates to maintain consistency, which would help users quickly navigate different documents. 

When you create procedures, ensure that your documentation portal has version control. This lets all stakeholders track changes systematically and ensures your procedures stay up-to-date.

Create an SOP Checklist

While building a procedure, always include a sample SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) checklist. You can use SOP software and templates to create an SOP checklist as a visual guide to a well-structured procedure. 

For instance, your HR department can use an SOP checklist that standardizes qualification requirements when interviewing candidates for a new role. 

Utilizing the Five Ws Approach in Writing Procedures

Incorporating the Five Ws—Who, What, Where, When, and Why—into your procedure writing process improves clarity and ensures no critical information is overlooked.

1. Who: Imagine you’re launching a new webpage and need to establish individual-level accountability for specific tasks. A structured process can help you clearly define the “Who,” establish accountability among each contributor, and ensure the project is completed on time  

2. What: The ‘What’ helps you answer the question—what task or process must be completed? While writing a procedure, clearly define the objectives and detail the steps to complete the task. For instance, a factory worker should know what steps to follow to perform his role while complying with safety regulations

3. Where: It is essential to understand where a procedure is performed, whether it’s a physical location or software. When working on a new project, create a dedicated folder your team can easily access. This can help you track your team’s performance and boost accountability

4. When: While writing a procedure, set deadlines for every milestone to establish SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and ensure timely completion. Payroll procedures, for instance, involve a pre-determined number of steps or tasks to be completed per pre-defined timelines. 

5. Why: Lastly, understand why the procedure is being documented. What are your goals? Understanding the ‘Why’ will transform a dry document into an essential organizational necessity 

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Procedure Documentation and Distribution 

Procedure creation

Ensure that the following elements are a part of your procedure when writing it for your organization. 

Procedure creations: Elements and best practices
Elements Page title 
Title of the procedure 
Identification number 
Date of publication 
Name, role, and department that the procedure applies to 
Names and signatures of stakeholders who prepared and approved it 
Table of Content (if it’s a large document) 
Step-by-step procedures 
Describe the scope and purpose of the procedure and its limitations Include regulations, standards, roles, responsibilities, output, and input 
Cover the possible blockers, safety information, and what-if scenarios
Clarify the acronyms and synonyms used 
Add the health and safety warnings 
A trouble-shooting section detailing what can go wrong and anything that can interfere with the final outcome 
Best Practices Write in active voice 
Use plain language so that readers find what they need, understand, and use what they find 
Remove redundant and unnecessary information 
Be concise in the policy language 
A template to create procedures

Document, approve, and review procedures

After drafting the procedure, the next steps are: 

  • Policy documentation: Document the purpose, scope, objectives, individuals, and departments responsible for its creation and implementation 
  • Approval: Include the people responsible for approving the policy/procedure with their contact information
  • Policy review and updates: Review the policies frequently (once a quarter), update them to align them with the changing requirements and organizational needs, and communicate the changes to the departments and stakeholders involved

Use ClickUp to write procedures and implement them

If you’re struggling to draft an efficiently written procedure, here’s what you can do—collate all relevant information, including instructions, supporting documents, and online resources. 

Use process mapping tools like ClickUp as a single source of truth to draft the policies, implement processes and workflow, and make them accessible to all. 

Leverage the intuitive interface ClickUp Docs offers to organize all the collated information and create a structured document. Update the doc whenever required, add as many pages as needed, include additional elements such as presentations and tables, and embed web links.  

ClickUp Workspace
Use ClickUp Docs to create beautiful Docs, wikis, and more—then connect them to workflows to execute ideas with your team

Share this document with stakeholders and team members for procedure review and implementation. ClickUp Tasks allow you to assign tasks to team members, tag colleagues for feedback or review, and set timelines for task completion. 

ClickUp Brain will be your AI writing assistant—helping you write complex policies and procedures in a precise way.  

Once you’ve created the first draft, invite stakeholders to review, refine, and finalize the procedure on ClickUp Dashboards, centralizing your collaborative efforts.

Training and feedback collection

Familiarize your team members with a procedure to ensure its effective implementation. If required, use gamification to ensure they understand the procedure.

Encourage your team to provide feedback, identifying areas for improvement and refinement. Action this feedback to refine procedures and continuously improve workflows.

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Templates for Writing Procedures and Policies

Having access to ready-made templates expedites the process of writing procedures and policies. ClickUp provides a range of templates to suit various procedural requirements: 

1. Process and Procedures Template

This process and procedure template highlights the tasks you need to do to create a living process document

ClickUp’s Process and Procedures template offers a structured framework for documenting and managing processes, making it your organization’s go-to tool for writing procedures and policies.

This pre-built process documentation template includes step-by-step instructions on defining roles and responsibilities, setting guidelines, and documenting critical performance-monitoring metrics. 

ClickUp’s custom fields let you add custom attributes such as issue-level fields, completion percentages, and approver details to store vital information about procedures. 

Using ClickUp’s process and procedures template, multiple teams can establish clear protocols, facilitate collaboration, and enhance productivity. 

2. Standard Operating Procedures Template

Easily create and implement new standard operating procedures across your company with this SOP template

SOPs are vital for businesses—you can provide detailed instructions, ensure alignment towards common goals, reduce errors, and foster an organized work environment. ClickUp’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Template offers a comprehensive framework to help you effectively manage your workforce. 

SOP templates simplify this process, providing a unified dashboard that lists best practices, policies, workflows, and task checklists. 

Using custom statuses, fields, views, project proposal management features, and ClickUp Brain, ClickUp’s template allows you to create credible SOPs that serve as a holistic knowledge source for your entire organization. 

To use this operational plan template effectively, start by brainstorming tasks and detailing the various processes. Involve key stakeholders in the feedback, testing, and refining processes to ensure this SOP document is regularly updated. ClickUp’s platform facilitates collaboration, procedure creation, and progress tracking to offer productivity analysis.

Use ClickUp’s SOP Template to establish and maintain efficient processes and enhance your organization’s operational performance.

3. Procedure Template

Use ClickUp’s Procedure Template to outline the process flow and define the purpose of work

ClickUp’s Procedure Template offers a streamlined approach to creating and managing well-defined procedures for any project report or task. The template clearly outlines process flows, defines objectives, and provides step-by-step instructions, eliminating guesswork and ensuring consistency across all operations and personnel. 

The template includes customizable statuses, fields, views, and other project management features that guide you in identifying tasks, determining scope, gathering information, and creating, reviewing, and revising a procedure document. 

Define goals, outline steps, assign tasks, collaborate with stakeholders, set up notifications, hold meetings, and monitor progress with this template. 

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Procedure Writing is Easy with the Right Processes, Tools, and Templates 

If you’re struggling with inefficiencies in your organization, start by looking at your policy procedures. 

Are they in place and being followed by the team?  If not, implement the right tools and templates to create effective procedures across the organization. 

ClickUp is a beginner-friendly tool for drafting and managing procedures. 

Sign up on ClickUp for free to create procedures, collaborate with your stakeholders, and ensure everyone functions efficiently. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. What is an example of a procedure?

A procedure is a set of step-by-step instructions that guide individuals through a specific task or process. 

For instance, a ‘Purchase Order Processing Procedure’ will entail steps to create, approve, and process purchase orders handled by a business. This procedure ideally specifies who initiates purchase orders within your organization and details the overall approval workflow as part of a standardized process. 

2. How do you create a procedure: a step-by-step approach

Here’s a guide for step-by-step procedure creation:

  • Step 1: Define the scope of the procedure by clearly outlining what it aims to achieve 
  • Step 2: Identify the key stakeholders and specify their roles to establish accountability
  • Step 3: Provide detailed instructions on what steps and actions are to be completed in executing the procedure
  • Step 4: Specify the physical or digital location where the procedure is stored and implemented
  • Step 5: Define dedicated timelines for every step mentioned in the procedure
  • Step 6: Communicate why and how the procedure is essential to achieving organizational goals
  • Step 7: Create a comprehensive procedure document and regularly review and update it

3. What is a step-by-step procedure?

A step-by-step procedure is a detailed, sequential set of instructions that guides individuals through a specific task or process. It breaks down a complex activity into manageable and understandable components, and each step is carefully crafted to ensure clarity and consistency. 

It includes who is responsible for each step, what actions should be taken, where the tasks occur, when they should be completed, and why they are essential. When documented, these steps form a standardized procedure that promotes organizational efficiency.

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