Wording Policies Respectfully (2)

Good policies statements are clear, succinct, and respectful of the people they are intended to govern. A confrontational or dictatorial style is unbecoming a respectful environment.

Take the follow example:

A) ”Visitors are escorted while on the premises.”


B) ”All visitors MUST be escorted while on the premises at all times.”

Statement A is a clear and succinct statement of the organization’s policy on escorting visitors.

Statement B says essentially the same thing and, although it uses almost twice as many words, the tone is much more fierce. The company that backs this statement believes that people don’t follow rules unless they ordered to do so.

In addition—and very tellingly—the statement uses the word “all” as if it were a cattle prod, pushing back those who might want to request an exception to the rule. A more respectful approach might be the following:

C) ”Visitors are escorted while on the premises, without exception.”

Maybe, instead of looking for ways to underline and add exclamation marks to this sentence, the company should be considering what its response is when an unescorted visitor is encountered. That response would be a useful addition to the statement.

Which wording sounds similar to your company’s administrative policies? More importantly, what kind of employer do you want to be?

More Policy Writing Tips

For more information

You’ll find information on writing titles for policy instruments and many related topics in Respectful Policies and Directives, available at any bookstore.

Perfect Policies.org offers workshops that help you organize your policy instruments. Contact us for details.