Great policies and procedures change employee behavior. Organizations that have a deliberate process for their policy management see returns in organizational alignment, corporate culture and bottom-line results.  Policies and procedures are the backbone of your organization. They are a dynamic body of shared standards used to strengthen and support your organization’s success. Having the necessary policies and procedures in place—as well as a system to manage compliance with those policies—will help you accomplish your organization’s strategic vision while protecting its people, reputation and bottom line.

Your organization’s vision, mission and values serve as its “north star” for policy and procedure development. But creating, maintaining, communicating and training on your policies requires a significant effort. If your team becomes buried by onerous policy management tasks, they will likely regard policies and procedures as many companies do—as a necessary evil and an inconvenience. But your team cannot afford to think this way. You must champion the idea that policies change behavior, alter decision-making and serve to advance the core objectives of your organization.

When properly managed, communicated and enforced, policies:

»» Convey the organization’s mission and enable the execution of its strategy

»» Ensure that employees clearly understand expectations and consequences

»» Influence employee behavior and decision-making

»» Create a positive and respectful workplace

»» Foster credibility and trust with customers and business partners

»» Improve productivity and business performance

»» Ensure the organization meets all legal standards required to operate

»» Help the organization avoid litigation and mitigate risk

»» Identify, prevent and respond to criminal conduct

»» Protect the organization’s people, reputation and bottom line

Most organizations are not very satisfied with their existing policy management program, with less than 40 percent ranking any attribute of their system Very Good or Excellent. Below is a short poll to help you consider the strength of your organization’s current system. If you cannot readily answer yes to all of these questions, your organization could be exposed to significant risk.

»» Do you know the last time your complete business policies came under review?

»» Is each of your policies reviewed periodically by your legal department to ensure compliance with current laws and regulations across domestic and international operations?

»» Do you know who creates all of your policies, as well as the standards and methods used to implement and enforce them?

»» Do you maintain meticulous attestation records indicating that your employees have read and understood the policies that apply to them?

»» Can your employees find the most current version of any assigned policy in less than three minutes?

To learn more about what elements are really required to drive a successful strategy for managing all an organization’s policies, procedures and documents – and which departments should be involved, read the full article here.