Work instructions bear a resemblance to procedures but differ from them in that they provide detailed directions consistent with requirements for activities defined in procedures.
They specifically outline the tasks that are to be done in operationalizing a procedure.
Example– one of the stages in a procedure may require that “an accused employee appear before a disciplinary committee” .The work instruction will spell out the resultant tasks to operationalize that step of the procedure i.e.
- Set appropriate date for the disciplinary meeting and agenda
- Seek management concurrence on the date and agenda
- Prepare folders for all members of the disciplinary committee
- Inform and Invite disciplinary committee members to the meeting
- Inform the employee of the meeting and date, venue and time and requirements from him
- Convene the meeting, take minutes, forward them to management for approval etc.
- Identifying the need
Procedures should never be developed for the sake of it. There must be a felt need for them based on factors such as the Complexity of the processes and their interactions. Lack of a need for a procedure can lead to duplication of effort and over documentation.
Policy makers must therefore satisfy themselves that a need exists for a procedure to be put in place to address certain shortfalls in the current practice.
- Authority for the development of procedure
The need to have the procedure must be well documented in the form of a request to the top management giving reasons to justify the procedure. The reasons given should emphasize that all the stages in a procedure will be value adding to avoid duplication of effort or wasted effort
Procedures must be approved by a person to whom empowerment to authorize has been given.
- Defining the scope
The author must establish the precise scope to be covered by the procedure to avoid deviation from the objectives or policy.
Failure to understand the limits of the procedure could result in a procedure traversing into areas that digress from the original intent and therefore cause conflict in the operational processes
- Collecting & documenting current information
In collecting current information the various sources from both within and outside the organization form a good base for comparison.
Document how the desired activity is carried out step-by-step using a practical approach. i.e visualize the process stage by stage considering the following:
- What shall be done
- Who will do it
- How it will be done
- When it will be done
- Where it shall be done
- Which (materials, documents etc.) shall be used
- What if
In the drafting of the procedure a committee or team approach is recommended. Those involved in the implementation of the procedure should be part of the team involved in drafting of the procedure.
- Obtaining comments on draft procedure
The Persons & departments concerned should review the initial draft to see if it is workable and if not, then
Modifications should be incorporated
- Obtain authorization for use of procedure
It is necessary to obtain approval or authorization for the procedure if any amendments were made. An appropriate person usually top management approves the procedure once amendments are incorporated & checked.
- Issue procedure
Issue the procedure to make it operational. The procedure should be launched by the management to show their commitment and make it effective. The HR should ensure that the procedure is followed in order to achieve the purpose for which it was created.
- Review the procedure
After implementation for some time (between six to eighteen months) it should be reviewed & if necessary amendments can be made and/or revised procedure issued. It is expected that by this time the HR will have received adequate feedback on the use of the procedure and on the basis of this may recommend amendments to the existing procedure.