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P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting

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The Policies & Procedures Authority – The newsletter about the art of transforming workplace learning and performance through Policies & Procedures Communication

Importance of Work Samples for Developing and Communicating Policies & Procedures

– Raymond E. Urgo

What is a work sample?

A work sample is an example or model of a tangible output, whether in progress or completed, created by or used for a responsibility, task, job, or workflow process involving one or more people affiliated with an organization.

Examples: work samples

Work samples may include printed or electronic forms, checklists, logs, messages, proposals, and contracts. Here are several examples:

Deputy Sheriff: Work order assignment notices, weekly timecards, and written incident patrol reports for auto accidents, robberies, burglaries, and assaults.

Payroll accounting unit: Timesheets, payroll checks, reimbursement expense request forms, applications for enrolling in employee benefit programs.

Purchasing department: Purchase requisitions, purchase orders, open purchase order status reports, statements of work, requests for proposals.

Usefulness of work samples

Work samples, in conjunction with other data collection techniques, enable one to quickly analyze, understand, formulate, or enhance job responsibilities, tasks, performance competencies, and organizational workflows. When communicating policies and procedures for training or on-going reference, the same work samples can also be used to help learners and readers more easily visualize and understand expected work results. To further clarify expected work results, an effective technique is to provide examples of both superior and inferior work samples to help distinguish between acceptable and non-acceptable performance outputs.

Example: Purchasing department

An organization’s purchasing department includes both superior and inferior work samples of statements of work (SOW) in its contracting policies and procedures manual for buyers. The samples are accompanied by explanations of those characteristics causing the strengths or weaknesses in the samples. This technique effectively and efficiently provides self-learning and on-going reference for the buyers responsible for writing effective SOWs. It also provides their managers the same source for ensuring that the buyers are complying with acceptable standards for writing the SOWs.


Work samples can be used to quickly analyze responsibilities, tasks, jobs, competencies, and workflows, and also to effectively and easily communicate policy and procedures information for training and on-going reference.

For advice or assistance in effectively using work samples to analyze your performance needs and to effectively communicate policies and procedures that enhance your organization’s performance, contact Urgo & Associates.