Your company’s policies and procedures lay the foundation for how you run your day-to-day operations, but every once in a while, those day-to-day operations need to be updated. Whether you opened an office in a different region, the laws and regulations you’re subject to have changed, you’ve begun targeting a new market, you’ve decided to adopt new technology, or you simply found an inefficiency, adjusting your policies and procedures can help you meet your company’s ever-changing needs. That being said, anyone who’s ever developed new policies can tell you that writing and approving them is only half the battle – the real challenge is implementing them.
The question is: how to roll out new policies and procedures in a way that encourages both employees and management to actually follow them? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but by employing these five simple steps, you can make sure your organization is on the right track.
How To Roll Out New Policies And Procedures
Once you’ve drafted and approved a new policy, you enter into the next stage of the process: company-wide adoption. If you’re at all familiar with policy management, you know just how difficult rolling out new policies and procedures can be. How do you get people to read them? Once they do, how do you get people to follow them?
Here’s how to roll out new policies and procedures without the headache:
1. Go In With A Plan And A Schedule
A chaotic, poorly planned policy rollout is a recipe for non-compliance. When it comes to something as important as company policies and procedures, organization is key. Start by making a plan for how to roll out new policies and procedures. The first question to ask is how you will be communicating the changes to everyone – will it be at a company-wide meeting, in an email blast, or will you delegate this task to your managers?
Then, create a timeline for the rollout. While a little flexibility is always a good thing, too much of it can lead to delays, and with important policies and procedures (as most of them are), you want the rollout to be quick and efficient. To make sure that it is, schedule out any necessary trainings so that everyone has them on their calendars well in advance, and set meetings at various stages of the rollout to review the effectiveness of the policy/procedure. That way, you can check that everything is going as planned and make changes early if important milestones aren’t being met.
2. Explain The Need For The Policy
Policies and procedures are in place for a reason; they help the organization meet regulatory requirements, follow the law, and they ensure employees are being treated in a fair and equitable manner. However, if you don’t explain the reasoning behind a change, people may be less inclined to comply with it. When rules are implemented without an explanation, they can feel unnecessary, restrictive, and downright unfair.
For instance, if the deadline to submit invoices had previously been the end of the month, but you create a new policy that they need to be submitted a week before then, employees may feel you are burdening them without reason. However, if you explain that this is to give the accounting department enough time to process the invoices before they are due, people will be more likely to see this change as necessary.
3. Communicate The Big Ideas
In order for people to follow the new policy or procedure, they need to have all of the relevant information, so in general, it’s best to make that information as accessible as possible. To start, if you choose to notify people of the change via email, keep the text as short and to the point as realistically possible. If your new policy is buried somewhere in a 1,000-word email, some people are bound to miss it.
You’ll also want to update your employee handbook, add the new information to your onboarding materials, and most importantly, remove any old versions of the policy, as leaving outdated policies in the mix is likely to lead to confusion.
And of course, first and foremost, employees should be included in your plan for how to roll out new policies and procedures. Inform them of the new policy before you implement it to give them time to become familiar with the change, and continue giving them updates throughout the duration of the rollout.
4. Make Sure Everyone Reads It At Least Once
The next step is to make sure everyone has read the policy, and to do this, it’s best to have a formalized system in place. One option is to require employees to acknowledge the new policy with a signature, as this will provide a simple way to track who has and hasn’t reviewed. It also may help smooth the transition if you make yourself available for questions, comments, and suggestions. If the new policy includes unfamiliar, complicated, or mission critical concepts, you may opt to test your employees’ comprehension of the material, as well. At the end of the day, it’s often your employees who are most impacted by the change, so by doing what you can to ensure they understand a new policy, you can involve them in the process instead of making them feel like new rules are being imposed upon them.
5. Monitor Progress And Don’t Be Afraid To Follow Up
You might be wondering how to roll out new policies and procedures in a way that will work long-term, and the answer? Monitor progress and make adjustments when necessary. To do this, it can help to ask employees if the implementation has helped them perform their roles better, ask clients if it has improved the way you do business with them, and ask stakeholders if they are happy with the change. With this knowledge, you can make sure that the new policy or procedure is working as it’s supposed to. If, after discussing with the relevant parties you discover the policy or procedure isn’t as effective as intended, follow up and find out why. A small adjustment could make a huge difference.
Streamline Your Policy And Procedure Rollout With ComplianceBridge
With features to help with drafting, policy rollout, and ongoing maintenance, ComplianceBridge is your one-stop-shop for policy and procedure management. Policy writers can collaborate on a shared document, see in real-time who hasn’t reviewed the updates, require digital signatures, and even create and send policy quizzes to gauge employee understanding. All of your policies will be stored in a centralized library with the most recent version shown by default, and when the time comes to review, the software will remind you automatically.
Are you ready for a better, faster, and easier policy and procedure management system? Request a demo of ComplianceBridge today!