One of the most important aspects to consider when developing a policy library is determining which content should be included, and which content should not. To this day, there is a common misunderstanding across campus about what constitutes policy, as opposed to procedures and guidelines. Read on to learn about the differences between the three.
A policy is a formalized requirement with broad application. A policy states what the organization expects from its employees. A policy reduces risk for the organization, protects proprietary information, ensures compliance, and creates consistent rules for personnel.
A procedure is an operational process that details the steps necessary to implement policy. A procedure describes who does what, when they do it, and under what circumstances. A properly developed and approved procedure ensures that operational processes are efficient and applied consistently. Unlike policy, procedures may change frequently to accommodate updated standards or methods.
A guideline gives recommendations, administrative instructions, best practices guidance or frameworks in which to operate. Guidelines are informational, not mandatory. Similar to procedures, guidelines can change often to react to the environment in which they exist.