In early 2018, e-mails from most Internet companies flooded inboxes across the world. Each business sent notice about changing privacy policies to meet the new EU-based General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Although GDPR is not a US regulation, but it has affected American business as most major organizations work within the EU borders. Regulations like GDPR, the Affordable Care Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other regulations have proven the value of creating a repeatable, efficient process to review and approve policy changes and communicate them to all employees.
Keeping up-to-date with current regulations is essential not only for businesses to remain compliant, but also to withstand audits and avoid hefty penalties and fines. The GDPR fine for allowing the “transfer of personal data to a recipient in a third country or an international organization,” for instance, is up to 4% of the company’s annual profits. This means that EU companies, and those doing business within its borders, need to have a dependable method of creating and distributing policy which affects the handling of personal data by employees.
In this article, we explore how you can make the process of creating, approving, and distributing policies and procedures easier for your team with Standard Operating Procedure / SOP software.
Upgrade and improve your policy and procedure approval process
As a member of your policy oversight team, you know that getting the sign-off from every important stakeholder in your organization is a nightmare. If you are like most businesses, you are still working through the process manually. Inputting data into spreadsheets, keeping track of paperwork, and even e-mailing everyone directly (and constantly) for their feedback.
The first step in creating an efficient policy approval process is to overhaul your tools. Instead of Excel, consider an automated approval software to streamline and shift your workload from administrative tasks to more content-oriented work.
SOP software like TotalCompliance drastically changes where you spend your time during the approval process. “Rather than monitor this process manually,” says Brady Nelson, Director of Client Success at ComplianceBridge, “[you] can be contributing more productive hours toward content and compliant activities rather than manual tasks.”
The amount of time you stand to save can be significant. For one firm, the policy management process involved an entire day, each week for one staff member. Depending on the size of your organization, the time you stand to save can be significant. “With our software, you can reduce that workload from eight hours to one,” says Mr. Nelson.
Configure your tools to suit your needs
Not all regulations are as organization-spanning as GDPR; some will affect various parts of your organization depending on business structure, location, or activities. For this reason, even with the latest software at your disposal, some configuration is necessary to get the most out of your tools.
Take a corporate client that runs dozens of physical satellite facilities and, due to contractual reasons, must localize their 800-page policy manual for each location. That means updating dozens of policy manuals, independently and uniquely at distinct locations each time HQ makes a change. “For such a scenario, the importance of an automated workflow and approval process is exponentially more beneficial,” says. Nelson.
Configuring TotalCompliance to send automated reminders and notifications once policy changes take place, collect acknowledgements will help reduce the workload and speed up time to compliance.
Empower your compliance software configurations
Making your compliance software work better for your organization starts with the right people. Defining the organizational structure is essential to configuring a platform like TotalCompliance to be most effective for their organization. Organizational structure helps you find the right time to send each person the policy for approval.
Software such as TotalCompliance is very flexible and easy to use, allowing you to setup multiple types of ownership for various parts of the organization. You can define one group to handle drafting the base content and another group to edit the content to meet technical requirements. With the organizational structure in hand, you can be sure to reserve the time of your leadership for only the final review and approval.
Are you looking to improve the policy and procedure approval process at your organization? Start by upgrading your tools with SOP software like TotalCompliance and finish by configuring your new software to best meet the needs of your business.
Interested in learning more about TotalCompliance or how we can help you configure the platform for the simplest policies and procedures management experience? Schedule a demo today.
- “GDPR Fines.” Accessed June 22, 2018. https://www.gdpr.associates/data-breach-penalties/.
- “5 Big Regulatory Changes That Could Affect Your Business in 2018.” Accessed June 22, 2018. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7671-regulatory-issues-changes.html.
- “Policy & Procedure Management.” Accessed June 22, 2018. http://compliancebridge.com/products/policy-management-software/.