Writing policies and procedures is an art and takes skill and a person with a desire to "take charge" and do what's right to write, publish, and implement policies and procedures that are easy to read and apply. Few writers have made the realization that policy and procedure documents are easier to read when they are in an easy-to-read format, with logical sections that contain the "who, what, why, when, and how" of business processes.
Many writers don't have the passion it takes to be a good policy and procedures writers and simply take the easy route. For example, they might throw a few paragraphs together and call it a policy or procedure. Others will accept policy and procedure drafts from employees, glance at the content, publish them and be done with it. This is unacceptable behavior for effective policy and procedure writers.
Effective policy and procedure writers "take charge" and are passionate in their work. They want to do what is right and best for the readers. They know that when the policy or procedure is published that their job is just beginning. They know that they must assure the policies and procedures are being read and applied; they know that they need to be on the look out for improvements and revision opportunities.
There are eight characteristics that can assure success as a policy and procedures writer:
1. Well-rounded education and Minimum of 5 Years of Experience. A college degree in liberal arts or any major that offers a diversity of courses. Several English classes can help. A business degree is useful. A journalism degree is only suitable when it's coupled with a diversity of courses to give the person a well-rounded education.
2. Knowledge of core business processes. Understanding of the core business processes in your company's industry and the know-how and interviewing skills to identify and understand them. Examples of core processes in a manufacturing company include human resources, sales, payroll, assembly, quality control, accounting, engineering, administration, and information technology.
3. Flowcharting skills. Experience in drawing flowcharts based on information collected in interviews. This experience can be learned from programs like MS Visio, a flowcharting program by Microsoft.
4. Team facilitation and meeting skills. Experience in facilitation, team leadership and the deployment of team quality tools.
5. Writing ability. Writing and editing experience is a must. At a minimum, you should be able to write good paragraphs, spell correctly and understand the basic rules of grammar. A writing class can be helpful.
6. Familiarity with forms analysis/design. Nearly every procedure references and/or uses a combination of print, online, or web forms. For this reason, the policy and procedures writer should have basic forms design experience.
7. Strong drive to succeed and results oriented. A key trait for a policy and procedures writer is the drive to do well and to take pride in accomplishments. A "first-rate" policy and procedures writer has a strong drive to do things right.
8. Ability to say "no." The ability to say "no" to anyone including management is difficult for some writers. This is another key trait because the policy and procedures writer should be able to do what is right rather than being directed by someone who may not have all the facts or who may be driven by politics.
Successful (and effective) policy and procedures writers "take charge" and are not in the habit of entering into company politics. These writers take pride in their work and have the company at heart. They have the necessary skills and experience listed above and more. They are constantly striving to become better at their jobs. Make sure to consider the above eight personality characteristics when looking to hire a new policies and procedures writer, your company will thank you.