The traditional approach to managing policy compliance is fraught with inefficiencies. From policy creation, which can be time-consuming, tedious, and inefficient, to ensuring your employees read and understand the policies can feel impossible. With automated policy management, organizations can meet compliance requirements and bring greater agility to the workplace.
Weaknesses of Traditional Policy Management
Typically, the policy management process consists of three stages: development, dissemination, and acknowledgment or training. However, if you are still using a traditional policy management system instead of an automated policy management system, these stages are often done via email. This creates several problems—such as emails being lost, forgotten, or simply missed amongst the dearth of emails that employees receive throughout the day—making the policy management process needlessly complicated.
Creating or Changing a Policy
Email is great for getting the ball rolling on a policy review, but it’s not designed to be used as a collaborative management tool. When you’re in the process of creating a new policy or reviewing one that already exists, using email to drive the discussion can have disastrous effects on your ability to keep track of information and implement changes. It’s easy for important suggestions to get lost when everyone is sending them via email, and if you rely on email alone, you also run the risk of having multiple drafts floating around. This makes it difficult for anyone to know which draft is the most recent version of the document, leading to confusion about what your organization endorses.
After a policy has been reviewed and approved, how do you notify employees? Emailing a new policy out to everyone will not guarantee they read it—they may not even see the email. If they do open it, most employees will only scan the contents and move on. The likelihood that a new policy will make any impact is very low. If you want to ensure that your employees are aware of the policies you’ve implemented, you need to get creative. With traditional policy management, your options are limited.
When it comes to publishing policies, there are two options: you can store them locally or in a physical handbook.
Storing policies locally is easy and convenient, but it has some drawbacks. First, employees may not know where to find it when they need it—especially if someone took it and never returned it. With physical copies, employees also have to waste time flipping through pages to find the information they need. Another disadvantage of a physical handbook, particularly in our current work environment where over 80% of workers are expected to work from home for at least some part of their work week, is that it can be inaccessible if employees are not in the office.
Another option is using a cloud-based storage option. Though storing policies in a shared drive is easy and convenient, there are drawbacks. Without automated policy management software or someone very committed to keeping it organized, it can be hard to find the right policy. And if you update a policy and fail to remove the old version, employees may be looking at the wrong information.
How is Automated Policy Management Better?
Businesses can save time and money when they automate traditionally manual processes, which is true for policy management. Using an automated policy management system allows you to keep track of all the policies you have in place and ensure that they are up-to-date and relevant.
One of the biggest challenges in policy writing is the miscommunications and misunderstandings that can happen if everyone is working on the same draft in different places. With the ability for everyone to simultaneously change the document and see the updates in real-time, the risk of an imposter or outdated draft disappears. This means that everyone will always be looking at the most recent version. Another benefit of an automated policy management system is that it can notify users when changes are made, helping to avoid bottlenecks in the process.
Policy dissemination is one of the most important aspects of any compliance program. This is how you make sure employees at all levels are aware of new policies and their associated responsibilities. Monitoring the dissemination of a new policy is often a labor-intensive process. Having an automated system to notify you when employees have read the policy instead of relying on an email from them can help ensure that all employees are aware of any new policies.
Once a policy has been created, disseminated to, and acknowledged by your employees, that policy doesn’t just disappear. Your employees need a way to reference your company’s policies in the future. An automated policy management system can help by providing a digital library of your business’s policies and procedures. With a cloud-based centralized policy library, employees will be able to access policies wherever they are 24/7. Having a cloud-based policy library also makes organization simple and will ensure that employees see the most current version by default.
Automate With ComplianceBridge
Whether your business has only a few dozen policies, automated policy management enables you to have complete control over its policies at every step of the process.
ComplianceBridge is an easy-to-use platform for policy management. It brings compliance to life by making it easy to know what to do, no matter your role. Based on our best practices approach, ComplianceBridge gives leaders a 360-degree view of their organization’s policies, makes it easier to document policy compliance, and better understand why specific policies are difficult or even impossible to implement. Through automated digital workflows and notifications, ComplianceBridge helps ensure that managers are aware of compliance issues as they arise so they can address them in time before they become issues with employees or customers. Are you ready to unify your policy management process? Request a demo of ComplianceBridge today!