Enabling the Policy Management Lifecycle for Teams with Compliance Tracking

Written by ComplianceBridge Policies & Procedures Team on September 13, 2018

Teams are formed in organizations out of a need to tackle discrete problems by leveraging a variety of skills and perspectives. Teams work toward a common purpose and should ideally take a uniform approach. Your organization’s policies can either hinder or assist your teams toward their goals by laying down important procedures or providing a guiding framework. In either case, an effective policy management system is essential.

In this article, you will learn about the policy management lifecycle, why it is important for your teams, and how a compliance tracking system can greatly improve the way you handle policies.

What is the policy management lifecycle?

A policy management lifecycle is another way of describing the process that starts with the creation of a policy and continues with its ongoing maintenance. For most organizations, defining the formal steps along this process is beneficial as it promotes consistency and maximizes compliance.

After the first draft of the policy is imported or created, the next step usually involves review and approval by stakeholders. It is up the policy officer or committee to maintain an updated list of these stakeholders and keep track of their approval or feedback. This step is complicated by factors such as the total number of stakeholders, whether the stakeholders are third-party contributors, and how they choose to prioritize policy review.

Once the policy has been approved, it is ready to be published. This step in the policy lifecycle involves distributing the policy and notifying all necessary parties of its existence. You may have seen this publish/notify in action recently from your subscribed websites. They updated their privacy policy per GDPR and e-mailed to notify you of the changes.

Upon notification, the recipient is required to acknowledge the policy in some way. This step in the policy lifecycle is essential to ensuring compliance as it is the only way to determine whether the recipient has seen the document and understands its contents. For the GDPR-compliant privacy policy, the recipient will know all the ways the visited site will collect and use their personal information.

The next step in the policy lifecycle is reminders, a crucial action especially for policies in sensitive industries like healthcare. Organizations will typically remind policy recipients about their duty several times to improve view and acknowledge rates. Simple reminders notify the entire group, regardless of their status. More complex systems can filter out those who have already acknowledged the policy.

The final step in the policy lifecycle is all about metrics and reports related to that policy. This step concerns itself with questions like “what percent of recipients have acknowledged the policy?” and “how many times has this person received a reminder?” An organization with an effective policy lifecycle will demonstrate high levels of compliance and are more likely to have teams that are equipped with the essential information they need to reach their goal.

Empowering your teams with an effective policy management lifecycle

The best teams bring together a diverse array of skills, personalities, and perspectives in order to overcome challenging problems. But while it is beneficial to have differences in opinion and experience, teams can only function if each member understands their role toward specific organizational goals. Policies are a direct way of setting the tone for your organization, laying the foundation for your goals, ethics, procedures, regulations, and more. Effective policies lead to more effective teams.

Consequently, skipping or having a deficiency in any part of the policy lifecycle can slow down your ability to get new policies approved, distributed, and acknowledged. A failing policy lifecycle can lead to inconsistencies within your teams, hampering team dynamics and leading to unnecessary roadblocks and conflict. Such an outcome can be avoided with tools such as an automated compliance tracking system.

Getting a handle on your policy lifecycle with TotalCompliance

TotalCompliance is a policy lifecycle platform that is engineered from the ground up to automate each of the six major steps, removing much of the manual effort from your hands. With TotalCompliance, you will be able to collaboratively write policies and track versions, speed up approvals, intelligently distribute notifications and reminders, centrally view the status of each recipient, and issue reports—all on a single platform.

With TotalCompliance empowering your policy management lifecycle, your teams will be better equipped to work toward common goals. And with such a powerful platform behind your policy lifecycle, your organization will be able to spin-up new policies and procedures in record time to address industry and regulatory changes, market disruptions, or economic instability.

Recent updates to the platform:

  • The reminder feature was enhanced to include escalations that can be enabled to notify the direct supervisor of the recipient.
  • Additional notifications were added during the workflow approval process to further enhance the flow of the initial steps in a policy’s lifecycle.
  • The policy initiator will now always know the status of their approval request.

 

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