Answering a few short questions in our policy management assessment will give you instant feedback and suggestions on ways to improve how you manage important policies and procedures at your company.
Any professional tasked with developing and administrating policies knows all too well the challenges that must be overcome. Policy creation, file management, employee access, and communication regarding new and updated policies can be tricky if you don’t use the right tools and instead opt for ad-hoc methods. Over time, as more policies are put in place, the problems can escalate to a point where it becomes overwhelming. That’s why it can be helpful for policy managers to assess their current policy management tactics and discover ways to improve these processes.Take the Assessment
What is policy management and why is it important?
Policies are a statement of an organization’s principles and standards that serve to guide decision making, while procedures are instructions regarding how to go about following these guidelines. Used together, they help employees understand expectations and how to properly respond to situations. This creates cohesion to help ensure an organization’s goals are met. Policy management is a system of tools and processes used to administer policies and procedures across an organization. This includes creating policies, organizing where they are stored and accessed, and making sure employees are aware of new policies as well as changes to existing policies. When managed properly, policies administrators can feel at ease knowing that policies are easily accessible and properly communicated to the right people. They can also be sure there is proof of development and communication when it comes time for an audit.
Why is policy management so challenging?
On the surface, policy management looks easy. After all, policies and procedures are just written documents that provide guidance and instructions. However, as an organization grows and more policies are created and revised, one quickly learns how hard it can be to keep things organized and manage communication regarding changes. Some of the challenges that policy managers face include:
- File Management
Managing many documents can become challenging very quickly. Paper files can get lost or damaged, and electronic files can easily become mislabeled, misfiled, or accidentally deleted. It is often difficult to a find a file when you need it, and hard to know how the file has changed over time or which file is the latest version. Plus, policies and procedures often come with supporting documents that also require proper management and accessibility.
Most policies and procedures are not created by a single individual. Confusion quickly ensues when multiple people are sharing and working on the same file. Files are often shared via email, making it extremely difficult to know which file is the correct version and what does and does not have consensus or approval.
Controlling who has access to files and the authority to make changes is crucial, especially in industries where regulatory compliance is required. Paper files, as well as electronic files stored on shared severs, are vulnerable to unauthorized access or accidental data loss. Plus, there is no record of who has accessed the file or made changes.
When policies and procedures are published or changed, it can be challenging to ensure that the necessary people are informed. Emails and spreadsheets are often used to notify and track acknowledgement. Emails can be lost or unread, and there’s no way to know for sure that everyone is up to date with the new information unless you track them manually. Tracking acknowledgement is therefor time consuming and uncertain.
- Reporting and audits
In regulated industries, where audits are regularly performed, it is necessary to have objective evidence to show when policies were introduced and how they were acknowledged. Using ad-hoc methods, such as emails and spreadsheets, will not provide solid evidence. Without a quick and simple way to view reports that provide digital traceability (such as logs and timestamps), audits can become a nightmare for you as well as an auditor.
How does your policy management stack up?
Take our Policy Management Assessment below and find out!
Everyone knows that policy management is challenging, but there are tools and methods that can make this challenge less daunting. Take our policy management assessment to get recommendations on ways to improve how you prepare, distribute, and track your policies and procedures. By answering a few short questions, you will get immediate feedback on how you can save time and effort to ensure your policy management practices are under control.