Weekend Poll Results: Procedures Manuals

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … Have you created a procedures manual for your current role? 

 76% of respondents have a procedures manual or have been documenting procedures

I changed the response options a bit this year, to enable people to articulate the status of their procedures manuals in more detail. The results? This shone a light on the fact that only a third of respondents could state that their manuals are current.


Digital is in demand

I added a couple of new questions this year, and one was designed to determine how such documents are produced. 42% of respondents use solely a digital copy, while 80% have both digital and hard copy manuals at the ready.


How frequently are people updating their procedures manuals?

It’s all over the map, with more than a quarter of respondents taking such action only when they know they’ll be away. A committed 14.5% updating their manuals monthly, and the same percentage of readers review for updates quarterly.


What’s holding back those who haven’t been working on procedures manuals? 

For the majority who don’t have a manual in place or underway, it’s a matter of time or workload. Other factors? Some find the prospect overwhelming, or don’t know what to include.

While the responses above are consistent with the 2017 results, two new themes emerged this year. One reader noted that most of the necessary information was already available through company links or apps. Two readers, however, made comments that imply at least some degree of concern about job security. Have a look at the data, below, for full results.


Note: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.  In instances where more than one person offers similar responses to an open ended question, I typically cluster or paraphrase such responses rather than duplicating all of them.

Have you created or contributed to a procedures manual for your current role? 

  • 29% of respondents: Yes; I’ve created one and it’s current
  • 19% of respondents: Yes; I’ve created one, but it could use updating
  • 5% of respondents: Yes; I’ve been updating the manual I received when I started the job
  • 24% of respondents: No
  • 20% of respondents: No, but I’ve been documenting procedures
  •  3% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments were as follows.
    • No – not for role, but yes, for function procedures
    • Using one I was provided when I started but it needs to be updated


If you have a procedures manual, is it in digital or hard copy format? 

  • 42% of respondents: Digital
  • 38% of respondents: Both
  • 18% of respondents: Hard copy
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “some parts digital, other (parts) paper”.


Which of the following most closely reflects the frequency with which you review your procedures manual to ensure it’s current? 

  • 27% of respondents: When I know I’m going away and someone needs to know what to do
  • 14.5% of respondents: Monthly
  • 14.5% of respondents: Quarterly
  • 10% of respondents: Semi-annually
  • 10% of respondents: I don’t remember the last time I updated it
  • 5% of respondents: Annually
  • 2.5% of respondents: It’s been more than two years
  • 2.5% of respondents picked up on my cheeky option: What? You mean these should be current?
  • 14% of respondents selected “Other”. These readers commented as follows.


If you don’t have a procedures manual, what’s holding you back?

  • 56% of respondents: It’s a matter of workload/time (down from 62% of respondents last year)
  • 11% of respondents: I find the prospect overwhelming (down from 15% of respondents last year)
  • 11% of respondents: I don’t know what to include (up from 8% of respondents last year)
  • 22% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included the following.
    • Most of the policies and procedures can be found in company links/apps
    • To be honest, in today’s job market, I want to be not replaceable
    • No need – why help them replace me
    • A few other respondents inserted notes here that suggest they do have procedures manuals

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