Prioritizing Policy Development Efforts

Written by ComplianceBridge Policies & Procedures Team on October 11, 2018

Thoughtful company policy is an integral component in establishing an ideal workplace environment and, for that reason, they can easily proliferate. When it comes to policies, you should value quality over quantity.

To prioritize and guide the development of your company policies, consider these questions. They will help you determine how necessary and beneficial any new policy will be for the company.

Does the policy align with the organization’s mission and vision?

The first step in the journey of developing a successful policy is understanding how it will fit into your company’s mission and vision. A mission statement is created for a company’s benefit; it provides a broad overview of a company’s function, philosophies and goals. It defines the nature of the organization, and what it intends to accomplish.

Policy is also created for a company’s benefit, providing clear expectations and guidance to employees on a daily basis. If every decision made in the company must align with the mission statement, then every policy should as well.

When prioritizing policy development, consider how the policy is related to the mission statement. If policy and mission are aligned properly, policies enable organizations to accomplish their mission. Company policy that is not well aligned with an organization’s mission will, at best, make the workplace less efficient, and at worst, hinder employee engagement.

How urgent is the need for written direction on this subject?

It’s important that policies remain current and relevant to keep up with constantly evolving regulations and culture. Sometimes a new policy isn’t necessary to adequately address an issue. Or, it may not be a pressing matter for your company at the moment. In general, there are three instances that may not require policy development.

Unique cases: Every situation does not require a policy be made to address it. If a company attempts to do this, it can actually have adverse effects. Policies will overlap and contradict each other, and managers won’t have situational flexibility. Company-wide issues should be examined critically for policy solutions, but individual issues can usually be addressed by a supervisor on a case-by-case basis.

Existing policy: A good company policy is flexible enough to respond to a variety of circumstances. Before creating written policy about an issue, take a look at your existing policies. Are your employees already adhering to a policy that can be tailored to resolve this issue? If the answer is yes, then focus instead on re-implementing or adjusting this policy.

Nonessential issue: Ask this question: what happens if we don’t have this policy? Some issues won’t have a large impact on overall productivity for the company, and other issues are unlikely to happen. Direct your policy development efforts towards issues that can impact the company in larger ways.

Is the policy integral to establishing or shaping culture?

It should come as no surprise that company policy plays a huge role in a positive company culture. At ComplianceBridge, we have previously written an entire article on this topic. Once you’ve established that this policy is a necessary addition to the workplace, you need to consider if this policy will benefit the culture.

To do this, evaluate the best aspects of the existing culture and ask yourself if the policy will elevate or stymie them. On the other hand, the new policy could be designed to address the negatives of the current workplace culture. Policy that establishes employee accountability and responsibility can redirect these negative behaviors.

Regardless of how this new policy is intended to shape the culture, remember that good workplace culture is authentic and genuine. Your policy development efforts should reflect that or the policy won’t integrate well with employees.

How many employees are affected by the policy?

Examine how many employees will be affected by the new policy and who these employees are in your company. The exact number of employees can often be difficult to pin down once you begin looking critically at the working relationships between employees and their departments.

The highest priority policies are the ones that have the potential to affect every employee. Issues that affect everyone, such as requesting vacation time or handling workplace misconduct, will quickly hamper productivity levels if they are not resolved through new policy. However, even policy that is intended to affect only managers or directors of departments can have far-reaching influence.

Consider how strong the impact on employee productivity will be for the new policy. This will be a good way to determine how many employees will be affected. The stronger the impact, the more immediately beneficial this policy will be.

Is the policy critical to workplace health and safety?

Having a safe and healthy work environment for every employee should be at the top of your to-do list. A policy that isn’t making improvements on workplace safety can still be high priority, but every company has a legal and moral responsibility to its employees to ensure their safety first.

New policy that can create a more favorable workplace should not be neglected, and there are several ways company policy can do this. Policy that promotes healthy behaviors such as implementing a smoke-free environment can help shape a healthy culture among employees. Creating clear policy on sexual harassment in the workplace and educating employees on proper standards of conduct can create a safe environment. Policies like these deserve priority for the benefit of every party who has a stake in the policy development process.

Don’t let your company’s policy development efforts go to waste.

All of the critical thought and deliberation in policy development will not amount to much if few employees embrace it. The next hurdle to overcome after creating vital company policy is the dissemination and implementation of the policy to all affected employees.

TotalCompliance will not only make sure your new policies reach every employee that needs to know about it, but it will make sure they actually read and acknowledge it. New policy releases can also include quizzes for testing comprehension. Meanwhile, all of your policy data is stored on one central, cloud-based location for easy management.

Developing and instituting effective company policy can seem convoluted and tedious at times, but the result can be a rewarding one: a safe, productive, and fulfilled workforce that has all the tools it needs to help the company grow. ComplianceBridge is built to keep it that way.

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