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Policy and Procedure Management Solution to Ensure Compliance - FocusIMS

Policy and Procedure Management Solution to Ensure Compliance

Here’s a policy and procedure management solution that will help ensure compliance within your organisation.

Internal procedures of an organisation evolve. They often have inconsistent formatting and are whipped up to fill immediate needs. They may differ from how the organisation completes the process or be inconsistently communicated.

Word documents are saved as PDFs, emailed to employees, and are often left on desktops, never to be read or seen again.

Worse, no one backed up the original, poorly-designed document. It could leave well-intended information in a file, waiting to be accidentally deleted or corrupted.

Company policies and procedures are crucial to business success. Hence, managing it must be a priority. So let’s look at an effective policy and procedure management solution.

But first, we must understand policies and procedures and their purpose.

What is the Purpose of Policies and Procedures in the Workplace?

An organisation’s policies lay the ground rules for employees’ conduct while on the job. Such controls convey to workers the standards of conduct expected of them while on the clock. 

Your company policy works hand in hand with your mission and vision statement. It sets the tone for the reputation you want to develop for your organisation. 

Company policy also instils conventions and values in your staff. Therefore, establishing what kind of culture you want at the workplace is essential before attempting to implement one. 

If you want to set the proper tone for your company, you need to know why you’re implementing a policy in the first place.

1. Brings Consistency to Workers’ Protections and Duties

Policies define the rules by which your company operates. They should also standardise employee benefits and obligations. 

Without a unified set of procedures to follow, it’s easy for employees to act according to their whim, which might spark friction. 

Some workers may feel more at ease in a suit and tie at work, while others could feel more at ease in jeans and a t-shirt. You might put a policy in place to ensure uniformity. When employees’ discretion results in varying perceptions of correct conduct, policies can help keep harmony inside the company.

2. Establish Best Practices

A workplace policy can also determine what decisions and behaviours provide the best results for your organisation. In other cases, policies may instruct workers to act in a way that advances the goals of their specific unit or the company.

For instance, many businesses in the sales industry have rules on appropriate business attire, how to interact with customers and prospects, and other forms of conduct.

If followed correctly, these recommendations can help you achieve even greater success. 

3. Manage Workplace Safety

Protecting employees from harm is another primary reason for having rules in place. It would be best if you incorporate policies that address legal and ethical safety for the organisation and personal protection for personnel. 

Employees are less likely to engage in conduct that violates your standards if you clarify what kind of legal and ethical conduct you expect from them. 

Personal safety is crucial in plants or warehouses where dangerous equipment and manual labour are widespread. Solid safety rules and procedures can reduce injuries occurring on the job and the likelihood of legal action against your firm.

4. Guarantee Compliance

Compliance means following guidelines, usually those set forth by a government agency. Many rules and regulations are set forth by governments that businesses must follow. Some are industry-specific, others apply to all firms, and others are broader in scope. 

The WHS Act, for example, governs the standards for building healthy and safe workplaces. Thus, most employers will have a policy outlining how they handle hazards and accidents in their employment contract or handbook for workers.

What are Standard Policies and Procedures in Any Workplace?

The policies and procedures of an organisation have lots of uses. They:

  • Lay the ground rules for conduct
  • Detail the obligations of both employees and management and safeguard everyone’s interests
  • Define the rules for employees’ behaviour, attendance, dress code, and privacy

Policies and procedures vary from company to company and meet specific demands. But most companies need a policy and procedure management solution for the following types of policies:

1. Employee Attendance Policy

Rules and regulations about time and attendance outline when and where employees must be present. 

For example, the standard workday schedule runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The employee attendance policy outlines what constitutes tardiness. Is it considered tardy if an employee is in the building lobby at 9 a.m. but does not arrive at the office until 9:10 a.m.? 

In the company’s attendance policies and processes, managers must address such concerns.

2. Employee Conduct Policy

Policies and procedures enforcing a code of conduct are often rooted in an organisation’s core values. They serve as a beacon for employees of all ranks. 

The policies and procedures must clearly state acceptable and inappropriate employee behaviour. There will be fewer incidences of harmful or indecent behaviour if managers explicitly set the boundaries employees should not cross.

3. Policies and Procedures About the Use of Company Property 

Most businesses provide IT equipment to workers so they may carry out their duties. Devices like computers, keyboards, headphones, and portable computers fall into this category. 

Sometimes, a company’s software or digital platforms and tools are company property. The actual office structures and everything in them also count as company property.

4. Workplace Security Policy

Security policies are in place to safeguard not just the human resources but also the tangible and intangible assets of a company.

Facilities may have policies like ID card use and visitor sign-in processes. You might need to sign out equipment like a company laptop or smartphone.

Companies today place a premium on protecting their computer systems. Cybersecurity policies address the frequency of password changes, the protocol to follow in the event of a phishing attempt, and other such matters. If your firm is preventing malware attacks, you may only be allowed to use a USB device at work.

What are the Five Steps to Follow when Developing Policies and Procedures?

purpose of policies and procedures in the workplace

1. Specify why this policy is necessary.

Managers in the workplace should have all the facts before drafting any policies. If, for instance, the policy is for gender-based discrimination in the workplace, the policy should define what it is. It should also include manifestations and consequences on workers and the company’s culture.

After a thorough policy analysis, the next step is to get the approval of top executives or HR. In their presentation, the policy chief should include the following points:

  • The current state of affairs without the policy
  • Explanations for why this policy is necessary
  • What this policy is trying to accomplish 

If the company’s management or HR department approves, you can assemble a development team and draft the policy.

2. Write the policy or procedure.

The policy development team should exercise caution when formulating the policy and its associated procedures. The policy or procedure should have these qualities:

  • Takes into account the needs and viewpoints of employees
  • Makes it effortless to find the essential information they need by keeping the policy language simple and direct.
  • Adaptable to change and development. Policies and procedures should be examined and updated frequently.

When the writing is complete, the team should present the document for review and approval by management and the company’s legal counsel.

3. Get ready for policy implementation.

The policy lead can begin preparing for implementation once relevant parties approve the policy draft. The policy head must ensure effective policy implementation through the following:

  • Considering potential barriers to enforcing the policy and personnel’s difficulties in carrying out the procedures, and plan responses accordingly.
  • Verify the management’s intentions for this policy and its implementation. Write down their goals, and then determine the requirements to achieve them.
  • Develop a policy-specific training and reference guide that addresses workers’ concerns about the policy’s rationale, history, and eventual use.

4. Request feedback and ensure compliance.

The development team must give employees under the policy’s purview an orientation. Introduce the policy and instruct workers on how to follow it. 

After the orientation, you can gather employees’ first impressions and ideas on the new policies through a question-and-answer session. 

The policy’s leader should rewrite, revise, or even withdraw the policy if employees’ objections are too strong or seriously reveal the policy’s inadequacies.

If the responses are mainly positive, you can schedule the rollout and appoint enforcers to ensure compliance and report any problems.

5. Get the policy in motion and keep it up to date.

There is a significant gap between reading the policy and seeing it in operation. It’s important to keep collecting and analysing feedback from staff members even after policy implementation. A policy and procedure management solution can help a lot in this area.

The policy development team should examine and amend it if necessary three months after implementation. If the new policy is well-received, schedule the subsequent evaluation after six months. 

If the policy is still relevant after nine months, the review panel can meet once a year to make any necessary changes.

Why is it Important to Update Policies and Procedures?

The regulatory environment is ever-evolving. And various dangers weren’t around even a few years ago. It’s more important than ever that your company has adequate and up-to-date policies and procedures. 

All businesses face legal risk regarding insufficient or nonexistent rules, no matter how big or small. You need a policy and procedure management solution for updating policies because:

1. Updates and evaluations are part of an efficient policy and procedure management strategy.

Every company has at least one policy that has become irrelevant or outdated. Employment, data management, and security rules fall under this category. Obsolete and neglected policies create the perfect environment for liability. 

If a policy exists, it is usually obligatory to obey it, even if it has nothing to do with the current state of your organisation. The onus is on the founders to enforce the policies entirely or do away with them. 

In addition, your company could be held liable for any breach that takes advantage of your inconsistent policy application. It is especially true if it involves cybersecurity or data management. 

A breach of policy in the workplace can result in charges of bias, retaliation, or other more serious consequences. If your company will adopt official policies, regularly examine policies that apply to individual divisions and get expert assistance when needed. 

Once established, maintaining a policy is a relatively easy undertaking. Collect all policies, evaluate them to ensure they are all up-to-date, record the date and time of each policy revision meeting, and eliminate any regulations that are no longer relevant.

2. Keeping your company’s policies and procedures under constant review is essential to its growth and success.

Many mistakenly believe established policies and processes cannot be altered or improved. 

It, however, is an incorrect and troublesome perspective on rules and regulations. More is needed than merely a book on the shelf for policy and procedure management to be effective. 

A corporation’s policies and procedures should are living documents that evolve and change as the company does. It’s reasonable to expect some policy tenets to remain constant. But the finer points should change as the company and its sector do.

Using paper or multiple formats for policies can cause the following problems:

  • Disordered policies and procedures make updating difficult.
  • Due to frequent updates, employees often use outdated policies.
  • Due to poor communication, policy changes are difficult to follow.
  • Lack of reliable communication and collaboration tools like email.
  • Poor information security increases data loss and privacy breaches.
  • Unaccountable workers are more likely to break the rules.

A policy and procedure management solution is a better way to create and manage internal procedures.

How Do You Monitor Policies and Procedures in the Workplace?

1. Get support from the top.

The first step in ensuring proper monitoring of internal policies and procedures is to involve the heads of all relevant departments. 

The person tasked with developing the company’s policies may need help from each division. Engaging with stakeholders, even if for just a short interview about a procedure, helps to guarantee that the new guidelines will:

  • Not be confusing
  • Get the terminology right
  • Explain things in a way that employees can understand

2. Find the format that works best for the employees.

Personalities, routines, and experiences vary significantly among departments. Make use of channels familiar to your staff to increase the likelihood of policy and procedure adherence. Talking to the heads of the various departments will help you learn more about the reception of the new policy and any other issues that may arise. 

There are a variety of circumstances that could necessitate the use of a different channel. An example is when an employee lacks access to a computer during the workday. If they have a company-issued smartphone, they could watch a video outlining the company’s policies and procedures.

3. Streamline access to company policies and procedures.

Is it easy for your staff to access the necessary policies and procedures? Or are they lost in the maze of folders on the shared drive whose names only the codebreakers can decipher?

It would be best if you organised your policies and procedures in a way that makes sense. You should also ensure that every employee can access the guidelines relevant to them in no more than three clicks. It will lessen the likelihood that they will give up trying to behave responsibly out of frustration.

Sort your files by:

  • Department
  • Policy Category

And provide the relevant supervisors with links to the corresponding shared disks.

4. Include due dates for acknowledging each policy and procedure.

It’s more than just adding a date to your calendar as a reminder of when the deadline takes effect.

When the policies and procedures are made available, hold weekly meetings with all managers to ensure they have an implementation strategy. It confirms their employees understand the policies and procedures.

Send regular email reminders to ensure that all employees have received the survey and are familiar with the due dates.

If they have any queries, have a phone number and email address handy in case they forget.

Use a software solution for policies and procedures to manage this process without impacting the performance of your email servers.

5. Find the most accurate method of testing employee awareness.

It’s important to remember that each policy and practice is unique. Ensure that people understand and follow the procedures.

Having employees take quizzes, set up practice runs, or combine the two can significantly improve policy and procedure adherence, depending on the task or field.

With FocusIMS, policy management is more straightforward. FocusIMS does the following:

  • Makes it easy to consistently format your document, using style tags that present your information in a logical, easy-to-read flow.
  • Stores written communications as rich HTML documents and immediately saves them as PDFs once you submit them. Each version of the document is saved automatically, making it simple to review the document’s history at any time.
  • Everyone can easily access all documents, including field staff, in a comprehensive, organised list. When it’s time for an annual document review, they conveniently appear on your alerts page.
  • Makes it easy for organisations that require more complex plans and manuals to consolidate many distinct policies and procedures into a single document.

For instance, you may want to include your Policies, Risk Management, and Training Procedures as part of your Project Management Plan.

Set up a new document titled Project Management Plan, then choose the appropriate documents from the “Included Documents” drop-down menu and automatically add them.

A consolidated PDF with a cover page and table of contents is immediately generated and included.

There’s a lot you need to establish successful policies and processes. It would help if you had the right degree of teamwork, the right kinds of distribution channels, and the appropriate ways to gauge employee awareness. 

All of these tasks require significant amounts of time and effort. But you can automate them to save time and effort with a policy and procedure management solution.

You might also want to learn how to remove friction from your organisation’s processes.