Policy management best practices

05 March 2018

Policy management best practices

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Every governance, risk and compliance person, regardless of the type of business they work for, wants their policies to be read and understood by their employees, customers and suppliers. So, what are the policy management best practices?

Because let's face it - most employees probably aren't engaging with your policies. Afterall, you wouldn't be getting so many repeated mistakes and issues if they had really read and understood your policies. 

When it comes to creating and managing policies, we always have a strategy for raising awareness, getting everyone onboard and making real business improvement. 

In this article, we share our 7 top tips for creating policies that are effective and engaging.

1) Establish a process for creating policies

Create a process for creating policies.

Determine what policies are needed. Typical business policies: 

  • Electronic device policy
  • Flexible working policy
  • Risk management policy
  • Quality policy
  • Information security¬†
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning
  • Ethical policy
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • Data protection policy¬†
  • Health and safety policy
  • Standardise a template for the processes and procedures. This way there is a common look and feel to all the documentation.

2) Don't do it on your own

All of your policies should have an official owner. But that does not mean you have to do everything. For example, get relevant departments to be part of the approval cycle before the policy goes live. Below is an example of how this works in our software. 

Give employees ownership, assign responsibility and create the processes and procedures with the staff members who are doing the work. This way your team feel involved and empowered and more likely to share any ideas or risks. 

3) Link between policies

Create good links between different policies and documents where relevant. This will encourage users to read around and you can improve views of your policies by up to over ten times.

 4) Make your policies really simple

Good communicators make themselves look smart. Great communicators make their audiences feel smart.

First, read this. Now the rule is to keep your policies as simple as possible.

5) Cater for different learning styles 

When you are writing a policy, first and foremost you are becoming a teacher. Good teachers cater to different learning styles. For example, create process flow diagrams to support the written processes or a visual representation often aids understanding, or, if you have the time, create a video / webinar or audio recording to go with the written policy.  

6) PDCA 

Always remember that as well as planning and implementing the policies, that you are also discussing and reviewing the processes during your audit schedule. 

7) Use our software to manage all of your policies

Your policies should not be dispersed, nor should they only exist on paper. For your policy management best practices, you need a system which provides a framework for managing and controlling your policies. Find out how one of our customers improved the way they managed their policies by using our software to facilitate virtual document management.

Written by

Alexander Pavlovińá

Alex produces targeted content to help Ideagen’s readers and customers navigate the complex world of quality, governance, risk and compliance.

Alex has worked with brands such as BT, Sodexo and Unilever and is passionate about helping businesses build a cohesive, collaborative culture of quality.

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