To policy managers and administrators, the steps to this process are well-known and repeated many times throughout the year: policy creation, review, approval, publishing and distribution, training, testing, attestation and reporting and analysis. The policy management process is cyclical, but for many companies it’s not necessarily a smooth sequence through the steps. These organizations rely on manual, out-dated methods to fulfill the duties the process requires.
Perhaps the policy writing and development stage occurs on a Word document, making collaboration fragmented and difficult to track. Any edits and revisions are typically communicated over email. Depending on the number of revisions needed and the number of stakeholders involved, managing review and approval through email is a very time-consuming process. Publishing and distribution of any new policies is likely a manual task. Someone must be responsible for notifying appropriate employees and tracking this action to prove your efforts. Training, testing and attestation must also be a manual effort. Any undertaking to quiz employees on their policy knowledge and compliance would be very time-consuming, both in test creation and collecting results. Most importantly, all data demonstrating your policy management efforts needs to be compiled from dispersed sources. Important information such as employee acknowledgement is typically recorded on a spreadsheet – not the most reliable, or efficient system.
By handling the entire policy management process on one platform, you can avoid these issues altogether. Making the decision to upgrade and centralize your process onto one system yields benefits every step of the way.
Consolidate Information During Policy Development
Policy stakeholders, writers, editors, administrators, translators – there are a lot of people involved in the creation of policies and procedures, all exchanging ideas and information back and forth. The team developing policies for your organization needs to be able to collaborate and remain on the same page for the process to proceed correctly.
As long as development is disorganized – happening over the course of multiple conversations, meetings, documents and revisions – it will take much longer. You save many hours by centralizing information into one location that all parties can access. By using a cloud-based service, multiple users can work together on a single policy, hammering out language, legal requirements and other details. All edits are accounted for, and you won’t have to worry that important information was lost in someone’s email inbox or missed during a meeting.
Centralizing development also helps you stick to a unified formatting. You’ll be able to ensure that policies and procedures are always created in the same system, and you can even employ templates that give your policies a consistent look and make policy creation much faster.
Ease transition of approval & publishing
Before a policy can be delivered to its intended recipients, it needs to go through an approval process. Without an organized workflow to help you, getting approval can be a slow process as your document makes the rounds. As it goes through your subject matter experts and department heads, they may give you suggestions for changes or their staunch approval. Regardless, having a system that can easily monitor approvals and send reminders will take some redundant tasks off your shoulders. Being able to monitor the process will guarantee you don’t miss important suggestions on errors before they make it to publishing.
After you’ve gathered your approvals, your documents must be published, typically in a separate location. This adds several steps to your policy management process as you transition between approval and publishing. On a single system, there is no need to move policy documents. Publishing becomes a simple, straightforward process where distributing policies to the intended audience is only a matter of choosing your recipients: by department, role or other distribution lists.
During both approval and publishing, a centralized system can handle notifications for you. It’s no longer the responsibility of policy stakeholders to inform others that new documents are ready for them to review. Since everything will be kept in one place, all employees will have access to your policy library and will only be allowed to see the policies and procedures they’ve been given permission to view.
Streamlines Training, Testing & Attestation
After a new policy has been published, the most time-consuming parts of your policy management process begin: policy training, testing employee knowledge and collecting attestations. On a central, web-based system, you can easily store all training materials and make them quickly accessible by linking them to their appropriate policies. Videos, surveys, checklists and additional documents can all be kept organized and allow employees to learn new information at their own pace.
Testing employee knowledge of new materials is almost impossible without the help of a software solution. Manually recording and scoring comprehension quizzes would be an incredibly taxing undertaking. If you can create your policies and comprehension tests on the same platform, it gives you several advantages. It’s much easier for employees to look over materials and test their knowledge all in one place. Quizzes are tracked automatically and managed without your constant interference. You can see who has completed testing, how they performed and what areas employees had the most difficulty understanding.
If testing is not required – or if both testing and attestation are required – allowing a management platform to take care of collecting e-signatures will be more organized and completed faster. Nobody will have to turn to a spreadsheet to document attestation, and the system can automatically remind employees that their action is required until everyone is done. Throughout training, testing and attestation, employees will only have to go to one place and interact with one system, keeping all data together as well.
All Parts of the Process are Tracked & Reported
Perhaps the most important quality of a central policy management platform is that each step of your policy management process is thoroughly tracked and well documented for your records. The purpose of a well-oiled policy process is to ensure that your company is remaining compliant with all regulators, and you keep a safe workplace. In order for your hard work to pay off, though, you need to be able to prove your compliance efforts.
Monitoring all aspects of your policy management process on one system gives you the ability to create an audit trail that archives everything: your policy creation, delivery of information, proof of comprehension and acknowledgement by your employees and your close monitoring of the entire cycle. You won’t have to compile information from different sources to attempt to construct an audit trail, nor will you need to worry about the accuracy of manually created spreadsheets and documents being called into question.
Through meticulous monitoring and record-keeping of the entire policy management process, you demonstrate your commitment to compliance and active oversight of business processes.
TotalCompliance: Comprehensive P&P Management
If you have decided that it’s time to make your compliance strategy a priority and manage policies and procedures more efficiently, you need to adapt a one system solution for policy management.
TotalCompliance from ComplianceBridge is a comprehensive policy and procedure management platform built for companies and organizations ready to commit to a more structured and responsible approach to compliance. We help you manage the entire process – from policy creation to reporting and analytics – and give you an enormous amount of flexibility to tailor the software for your needs. Automated workflows, notifications and reminders streamline policy activities. Configuration of quizzes is simple, giving you the freedom to build your question sets to best address the material. Helpful tools such as automatic review dates, version management, approval staging and access control help you manage the process more effectively.
TotalCompliance is a complete solution to your policy management needs. Learn how it can work for your endeavors by requesting a demo with us today.
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