P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting
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

Is It Time to Purge Segments of Your Policies & Procedures Content?

– Raymond E. Urgo


Are segments of your policies and procedures (P&P) content stopping your users from being as good as they can be? Are segments of your P&P content more than 35 percent obsolete, incomplete, overlapping, confusing, and/or difficult to access? If the answer is yes to the above questions, it is important to avoid serious consequences for your organization by purging that content and starting from scratch rather than trying to do “quick fixes.”

Consequences of poor P&P content

Providing your users with content that is not useful devalues the purpose, importance, and integrity of having P&P as an organizational resource for achieving consistent performance. Users may then perceive the organizational leaders as inept and apathetic about their commitment to providing the needed information as a formal resource for learning and on-going reference. Instead, poor P&P content causes the organization’s culture to regress into being more dependent on tribal knowledge and tribal talk. Providing no P&P content is better than providing substantial amounts of useless content.

Causes for poor P&P content

Content that is not useful may be caused by the lack of effective documentation development standards, training to those standards, or implementation of the standards. There may be a non-existent or poorly implemented policy and process for addressing the development, maintenance, and management of the P&P content. The organization may have outgrown its approach for the development and management of that content.

Tips for purging P&P content

If purging segments of your content is necessary, first obtain permission from the person with authority (such as the CEO or department head) for owning the content. Plan to retain the purged content for at least one year in your archives. Adopt the following motto to evaluate content segments that are necessary to purge: “If in doubt, purge it out.” Remember, if the content is not useful, the users will not miss it. Instead, the purge will provide the opportunity to create and provide P&P content that eliminates barriers to performance.


If more than 35 percent of your organization’s P&P content is not useful, it may be time to purge that content. Having substantial amounts of ineffective content reflects poorly on the organization’s leadership team and inhibits the organization’s culture from maturing in its performance. No P&P content is better than bad P&P content.

For advice on developing and managing your organization’s policies and procedures content that may no longer be useful and useable, contact Urgo & Associates.