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What is the difference between policies, systems and procedures? What are the standard HR policies/systems/procedures a small organisation should follow? What criteria should be considered when forming these ploicies/systems/procedures?
From India, Bangalore

You have asked something that needs reams to fill up. My two cents.
Policies: Frameworks for decisions - should not be restrictive, should be progressive, practical and forward looking. Cultural compatability is an inmportant variable.
Procedures: How the policy rolls down, step by step. It has to be congruent with the organisations objectives, policies and boundry level restrictions (legal, environmental regulations).
Systems: Real life, manefestation of information flow that makes the policy live up to expectations. Ssytems also take care of interlinkages.
Practices: Actually what happens. Procedures and Systems are necessary to ensure that what is practiced is what is intended (Policy).
Prof Biju Varkkey
Indian Institute of Management
Vastrapur, AHmedabad 380015.
Tel: 079 26324874.

From India, Ahmedabad

Hello Prof. Ji!

I may not add any value to your expertise....but just thought of sharing this information with you as you have the opportunity to spread the knowledge among the future managers of the indian community.



The origin of the term policy (from the Greek word “policie” meaning citizenship) could lead to the interpretation that policy should be a reflection of the greater good, or the larger population. Policies:

* Tell the organization WHAT is to be done;

* Are generally set by Top Management;

* Generally provide both vision and inspiration to the organization; and

* Permeate all aspects of an organization

“Good Policies”:

* Are philosophically based and reflect values. They state what is

believed, valued and desired;

* Tell why certain things are wanted;

* Constitute a clear basis for the development and implementation

ofregulations and procedures; and

* Provide positive direction by the Top Management to the staff, but do

not prescribe the methods for arriving at the result


A procedure provides the descriptive narrative on the policy to which it applies. It is the “how to” of the policy. Procedures:

* Tell the organization HOW a policy is to be carried out;

* Are generally defined and carried out by the administrators;

* Are tools used to assemble, create, and operate the organization; and

* Can be and are often specific to certain aspects of an organization.


An established or organized procedure; a method.

Shankar Anappindi

91 - 40 - 09849 669966

HR Executive

KARVY Group[/b]

From India, Visakhapatnam
Ed Llarena, Jr.


Let me add to the great definitions already provided by the earlier replies.

Small organizations with a few employees do not need the same bulk of policies, systems, and procedures that bigger organizations need. On the HR side, an orgnization with less than TWENTY PEOPLE may only need: 1) an Employee Handbook to clarify the terms and references of employment; 2) a grievance procedure; and 3) a Code of Ethics and Discipline.

Of course every organization, big and small, needs an Accounting Manual and an Administrative Manual.

Orgnizations with plants will need a Standard Work Operations Manual, Safety Manual, and a Security Manual.

Big multinational organizations tend to need an HR Policy Manual, and related Guidebooks, especially if there are subsidiaries or branches in other areas, whether local or overseas.

The HR Policy Manual provides consistency in direction and policies in the eleven (11) critical areas of the HR function.

Best wishes.

Ed Llarena, Jr.

Managing Partner

Emilla Consulting

(helps improve corporate governance worldwide, especially in Asia and the Pacific Region)

From Philippines, Parañaque
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