Are your policies and procedures up to date and accessible to your employees?
Maybe it’s time to put together a plan to bring some consistency to your documentation format, the method that employees will use to access important information and to your process for capturing and maintaining useful information on an ongoing basis.
Here are some high level steps to help you get started:
- Develop a Project or Implementation Plan
- Establish executive buy-in and sponsorship
- Assemble the documentation team, agree upon steps of the plan
- Prepare the tool for managing your documentation: configure policyIQ!
- Prepare and deliver training
- Roll-out—begin documenting, review and approval in policyIQ
- Change Management: acknowledge progress and celebrate success
- Continuous Improvement: gather feedback, make adjustments
- Ongoing Documentation: move into day-to-day maintenance mode
Agree on the Definitions of Policy and Procedure
You will likely have a number of individuals authoring policies and procedures from various functions throughout your organization. Do they all follow the same definitions of “Policy” and “Procedure”? One of the first items that you’ll want to address in your training materials is the agreement and communication organization-wide on your definitions of these terms. Here are some examples that might be useful to you:
Policy: A statement or position on a topic that says what is allowed or should take place providing the organization governance and guidance.
Procedure: A description of the actions required or steps taken to complete a task and implement or uphold a policy (every procedure will support a corresponding policy and any policy may be supported by multiple procedures).
Make sure you reflect the “Tone at the Top”
A word of caution: take care to document and understand, first, what drives or governs the business—your policies. A common bad habit that many organizations fall into is documenting what you do (your procedures) and then authoring a policy to match. Documenting corporate policies first provides the necessary governance (and reflects or sets the “tone at the top”) that leads to a good foundation for decision making throughout all levels of your business. Your procedures should support the policies that govern your organization.
We will be hosting a training session for CPE credit this afternoon (Thursday, May 27, 2010) on this very topic: “Developing an Effective Policy and Procedure Management Process”. You may click here to register. If you are not able to join us, we will make the recording available on our training page in the coming week.
Next week we will share a follow-up post with you including a number of best practices and any Q&A that takes place during our training session.