Policies are an important part of any organization.
They not only serve to protect the company, but they also help employees know what is expected of them and what they can expect from their employer.
Policies must be clear, concise, and easy to understand so that everyone knows how the company operates.
Here are 15 secrets for effective policy management!
Policy management has always been a key component of corporate compliance efforts.
However, the events of 2020 have been a powerful reminder that policy control is becoming more essential to compliance programs’ success and company performance as a whole.
Corporations have withstood a pandemic, recession, social justice protests, and climate change.
These endless, powerful forces underscore the need for reacting to changing circumstances methodically and thoughtfully.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department published new guidelines for effective compliance programs.
The primary emphasis was on the need for compliance programs to change in tandem with a company’s changing risk profile.
All of this emphasizes the importance of good policy management.
Without it, businesses will not be able to fulfill regulators’ demands for compliance programs or respond to unexpected external events in an effective manner.
Effectively managing public policy can help a company achieve its goals by providing it with an edge over competitors who do not.
To put things in terms the CEO and board would understand, effective policy management is a strategic benefit for today’s company.
It aids the company in achieving its goals in today’s highly regulated, and frequently unpredictable environment.
Most organizations believe an effective policy management program reduces legal costs and the time it takes to resolve regulatory issues and fines.
However, policy management is a difficult process—and one that increasingly relies on wise use of company resources to succeed.
To build an effective policy management program, compliance officers should focus on the following secrets.
Be Proactive about Reviewing Policies
To be a successful leader, it is important to take the time to evaluate and review company policies.
This will not only help you stay up-to-date on changes in legislation but also ensure that your employees are being treated fairly.
It’s easy for policies to become outdated or irrelevant when they aren’t reviewed regularly so make sure you set aside time every six months at least once a year.
Questions to Ask: What are the goals of these policies? Are they still relevant and applicable today? How can we make them more effective in meeting those goals or how can we revise them entirely if necessary? Is there anything that needs to be taken out because it is irrelevant, outdated, or unnecessary now?
Is It Time to Revise Policies?
Depending on the size of your company, it may be time to completely revamp or revise some policies if they are no longer effective.
However, before you do that, take a step back and see how these changes can affect everyone in an organization.
If there are no new policies or changes in legislation around such as this, but some of the current ones don’t work well anymore then take a look at them one by one and revise them accordingly. It may be a good idea to get input from employees if needed.
Leverage Software Tools to Automate Processes Involving Policy Management
In today’s world, it’s a given that business is global.
With the increased exposure to different cultures and customs comes a need for companies to have clear policies in place.
Policies not only help employees know what is expected of them but also guide customers who interact with the company.
The problem is that creating and maintaining these policies can be time-consuming and tedious because these tasks lack automation capabilities.
To overcome this challenge, organizations should employ software tools that can automate processes involving policy management.
This includes managing compliance with legal requirements, risk assessment, audit preparation, and reporting on all aspects of governance.
Organizations will benefit greatly by using software because it automates many mundane tasks allowing staff to focus on more pressing matters.
One of the main benefits is that it allows them to manage compliance with legal requirements.
The software can help verify if a policy has been created for each department and location, allowing companies to ensure they are following all current regulations.
It can also help assess risk by automatically assessing company policies against both internal standards as well as other external governing bodies.
Automation also helps with the auditing process because all policies and documents can be collected in one place for easier access during an audit.
Not only will this save time but it’ll allow you to review policy changes as they occur, ensuring your organization is always up-to-date on current regulations.
Another benefit of software is that it allows you to easily generate reports about your policies.
You can see where there are gaps in coverage, or view how many employees have read the policies.
The list goes on and on – which is why it’s so important for organizations to use software tools when managing policy compliance.
It allows them to stay up-to-date with legal requirements while saving them time and money.
Hire a Dedicated Compliance Officer
A compliance officer ensures that all of the company’s policies are being followed and that any violations are dealt with swiftly.
A good compliance officer will also be able to identify potential risks in advance, which can then be mitigated by implementing appropriate safeguards.
The first step is to define what your needs are – this includes deciding whether you need someone who has experience with the specific industry sector or geographic region where they would work.
Secondly, it’s important to find out how much time can be allocated for training an individual versus their salary requirements- there is a balance between these two factors.
Expect to hire someone with at least five years of relevant experience, ideally in compliance or another related field.
They should also have strong communication skills- this is important for people who work closely with the board and other key stakeholders throughout the company’s operations.
It’s essential that your chosen person can demonstrate they have handled sensitive issues before- this means they should be able to handle pressure with grace, even when mistakes happen.
Another factor is whether you want someone who can carry out day-to-day tasks themselves or if you prefer them to work closely with your existing team members so everyone can learn from each other.
It’s also important for the compliance officer to be able to use data analysis tools and communicate effectively with other leaders in the company.
Require Attestation and Certification from Employees
To ensure that employees are compliant with company policies, we need their attestation and certification.
The process of attesting and certifying is a straightforward one: the employee has to sign something saying they understand the policy, and then they get a certificate that shows what rules they have complied with.
This process ensures that each individual understands any given policy before signing it of their own volition.
It also helps you keep track of who has completed all necessary training or compliance requirements in case there’s ever an audit.
This way you know how many people might be at risk if the system breaks down for some reason down the road.
And while you can’t prevent these types of accidents altogether, this simple step will go a long way towards preventing them from happening.
Have Documented Guidelines For How to Create and Distribute New Policies
The people who are in charge of creating and distributing new policies should have documented guidelines for how to do so.
They have been tested, analyzed, improved upon, and revised over the years to ensure they are up-to-date with what is happening in current policy management practices.
The guidelines should provide a framework that ensures all stakeholders involved will be engaged in the process from start to finish.
They also help organizations budget their resources accordingly while ensuring they follow best practices.
These guidelines will help you create your policies without having any gaps or errors by providing a step-by-step guide on how to go about doing this task.
Policy Management Should Be a Cross-Department Responsibility
Policies are the rules and regulations that organizations abide by.
They can be created in-house or they can be adapted from outside sources such as the government, but either way, policies play a big role in how an organization functions.
This is why it’s important for management to make policy creation and distribution a cross-department responsibility; with everyone on board, policies will not only be more effective overall but also less likely to have errors or gaps.
Decision-Making Authority Should Be Left with Management
Decision-making authority should be left with management for effective policy management.
Most people lack the knowledge and skills necessary to make sound decisions on their own, which is why it is important to give decision-making authority to managers.
Managers have years of experience in a particular field that they can use when making decisions about all aspects of that industry or business.
They know what will work and what won’t, so by giving them this power you are allowing them to do their job effectively, without having to worry about other matters such as marketing or finances.
For the company or organization to succeed, employees must trust their manager’s decisions because these will determine how well everything else goes down the line.
Even if a manager makes a bad decision, there is nothing that can be done about it because the company already assigned this person to make decisions in their area of expertise.
Create a Policy Committee
The purpose of this organization is to assist in the development and implementation of practices, procedures, and guidelines.
This ensures that the policies you establish comply with current legal requirements as well as those yet to be implemented.
The goal of such a committee would be to increase efficiency and effectiveness by evaluating what changes need to be made now or in the future due to new legislation or regulation.
This will allow you not only more time but also less stress when it comes time for any necessary updates because we know they were thoroughly evaluated before being put into use.
This way we can make sure our members’ needs are met while ensuring compliance with all applicable laws.
Standardize Policy Format
A standardized policy format will ensure that policies are managed effectively.
When there is consistency in the format, it ensures that all parties understand what they are reading and can work with the information accordingly.
The standardization of formats also allows for easy transfer of information from one department to another without loss or confusion due to formatting differences.
Organizations need to have a clear understanding of their policies to be able to enforce them appropriately.
A standardized policy format makes it easier for departments within an organization as well as outside stakeholders to find relevant information quickly and accurately.
This leads to better decision making because decisions are being made with full knowledge of the current situation rather than having incomplete knowledge based on lack of access or understanding which could lead down a different path.
Delegate Responsibilities and Control Access
Delegate responsibility for managing company policies by creating a dedicated policy management team.
Ensure that the policies are written with the needs of all users in mind, taking into account both security and productivity requirements.
Implement access control measures – these should be done at the level of data or document rather than user to ensure that only those who need information have it available to them and that they only have access to the information relevant to their role.
Ensure that everyone is aware of new policies as soon as they are introduced.
For a policy management team to be effective in any organization, there must be complete buy-in from senior leaders within the company – especially if it is an IT department.
When you delegate responsibilities and control access, it’s just as important to ensure that employees are aware of the policies being implemented so they can be successful in their roles.
Without buy-in from senior leaders within your company, policy management teams may have a difficult time getting through all the red tape when trying to establish policies.
If you are looking to create an effective policy management team or improve your existing one, make sure that the managers in charge of each department are on board with any changes being made.
It is also important for everyone within the organization to be aware of new policies as soon as they are introduced so that all employees can remain compliant.
Track All Policy Changes
It is important to track all policy changes to understand the reasons behind them and the people involved.
Policy management cannot be effective unless you know when and why a policy change has taken place.
Tracking what kind of policies are in effect and who is responsible for changes is an essential component for any business.
Keep it Simple for Effective Policy Management
The adage that “simple is better” holds in many aspects of life, but it is especially true when implementing policies.
The more complicated your policy, the harder it will be to implement and maintain.
If you are too strict with your policies, people might not follow them or they may find loopholes.
You want to have a balance between being lenient enough so that people will comply with them and being strict enough so that they are effective.
The key here is simplicity: if you want to create an effective policy, make sure it’s clear what’s expected of someone (and what happens if they don’t do those things) without all the extra details like exceptions for this situation or punishments for that one.
If you find yourself constantly tweaking and modifying your policies, they may be too complicated: go back to the drawing board and simplify them!
As it turns out, making something simple is harder than we might think — but in this case, simpler tends to be better when creating effective policies.
Deploy Rapid Responses to a Changing Industry
The rapid response to changing circumstances is an important component of effective policy management.
When taken in the context of government, this provision can be used for a variety of purposes including disaster relief and emergency preparedness.
It also provides the opportunity for agencies to take steps proactively when they are not under duress or during crises that may affect their day-to-day operations.
Rapid responses allow your company to implement changes without waiting until problems arise, which could result in further issues down the road if left unchecked.
Deploying rapid responses ensures company officials can make necessary adjustments while simultaneously saving time and resources by avoiding potential pitfalls before they occur.
Utilize Living Metadata
Living metadata is a term used to describe the data that’s generated by an organization as it goes about its daily business.
The living aspect of this type of data means that it changes over time, providing a more accurate representation of a company’s condition than static reports and historical snapshots.
To be most effective, however, living metadata needs to be harnessed effectively for organizations to reap the benefits that come from having access to such granular information.
It’s a great way for employees to ask questions and provide feedback and for compliance officers to add their responses to help employees understand the full context of the policy.
Monitor Your Compliance Program Effectiveness
It is important to monitor your compliance program for effectiveness.
Monitoring the progress of your compliance program can be a daunting task, but it’s necessary to make sure that you are staying compliant with all regulations and policies.
You must always stay on top of your compliance program to keep it in line with current policies and regulations.
You can monitor the effectiveness of your compliance by:
Keeping an eye out for any violations that may come up, such as security breaches or other unauthorized activity.
These should be reported immediately so you can address them before they escalate into a larger problem.
Keeping up to date with new compliance policies and regulations, which will keep your company in line with industry standards.
This will not only ensure that you are compliant but can also set your business apart from the competition by having one of the best programs around.
If there is no standard for an issue or policy then it is up to you and your team to decide on a course of action.
Having an open-door policy for employees, which will help make sure that everyone is on the same page with compliance.
This can also be beneficial in regards to getting feedback from different parts of the company so that you know what areas need more attention or if something has been overlooked.
Keeping all of your compliance documentation organized so that it is easy to find what you are looking for when issues arise.
This will also help make sure that everything stays up to date and accurate, which can reduce the amount of time spent on necessary tasks because you won’t have to dig through old files or missing data.
Companies have everything to gain if they have effective policy management.
Policy management is required by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the Department of Justice as part of a compliance program.
Though creating a policy management system may seem complex, following the strategies mentioned above can make it rather simple.
If you need help in reviewing or managing your company policies, please contact us today!