Murder over a Policy and Procedure manual. Is that possible?



Untitled2015 was a big year for me as an Employer. All my wonderful staff decided to explore life in different ways, which resulted in the entire team (consisting of three) leaving within four months of each other at the end of 2014. The only person left was me!

Admittedly I had been very lucky. It had been a very stable team for the past four years. I could tell you the tale and saga that led each one to hand in their resignation, but you have heard the story before. It was life that got in the way. The outcome was that I had to hire a new team- three new people, with new skills and strengths, who in turn had to learn about each other very quickly. And in the centre of it all was me – the only person that knew the “ins and outs” of the business.
A policy and procedure manual is only as good as the information contained within it. Whilst it was robust and effective a few years ago– we had grown and made significant changes to the way we operate. Unfortunately these changes were not placed in the manual at the time that they were implemented. One change is usually insignificant. But even petite changes, occurring multiple times over a short time span create a very different scenario from the one documented in the now defunct manual.
Thankfully (yep – I can say that now), the new 2015 team tested every single dimension of the old manual and it has now been upgraded to what I believe should be regarded as the platinum level. It is super-duper!
But the process to achieve this outcome almost killed me and I wouldn’t have gone quietly. As the only person with an intact and comprehensive knowledge of everything, I was being pulled apart by every request for help. The incremental stress made me grumpy (more adjectives could be added here – but let’s leave it at that). This was not who I was, and it certainly was not the person I wanted the team to expect every morning I walked in the door. Plus it made me expect and anticipate hesitation and hopelessness from very capable employees who were just learning new roles without a guide. With the new working manual in place, I am stepping back from being the overseer and all round predictor of doom and catastrophe.
So – the upshot is this – if you think that a policy and procedure manual is a relic of the old days, think again. Having something in place (even a slightly out of date one) certainly saved my life, and perhaps the life of a brand new employee who asked one question too many. The legal system can rest easy for another day.
There was no murder here!

Treena Harris

Southern Podiatry

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