Any organization can tell its employees what the company policy is. Any organization can also email policy- or hand a physical company handbook- to its employees. Conversely, any employee can say he or she understands and has read the company policy without actually doing so. Naturally there can be a large dichotomy what people can do, and what they actually do. If the long term goal is to have 100% of your employee’s follow 100% of your companies policies, it would imply some tools would be needed to augment the process.
First, let’s look at the six goals any company should have:
- Employees have been delivered company policy
- Employees have constant access to company policy
- Employees have read company policy
- Employees understand company policy
- Employees are updated on change in policy
- Employees have signed off on all policy
To ensure all of the six steps above, companies have to change their old and ingrained ways of delivering policy. Yes, policies can be manually handed out and asked to be returned with signatures, but will employees have easy access to this information, and is there really a way to test if they have understood the policy? Also, imagine the nightmare every time a company may want to alter or update a policy. A realistic scenario, one that plays out in many organizations even today, is that they avoid making necessary improvements to their policy, and thus improvements to the organization as a whole, to avoid the significant headache that the six steps above can create.
You can email policies, but how do you know they actually got through to the right people. Even if you get an email confirmation in response, it can be difficult to track, store, and retain all the responses in an easy to view folder. Besides, is a simple email confirmation going to hold up in an audit, or in the case of litigation?
Organizations all over the world have realized, are realizing, or will soon realize that an online document management software solution is the solution. In fact, a cost-effective approach that may just cost a few dollars per user per year, can pay for itself in a matter of months. For example, a system that costs $6 per user per year, would just have to save the average user a fraction of an hour to pay for itself. When you add in the savings from the document writers perspective- the ease that automating the processes of import, edit, review/approval, publish, revise, archive, reporting, and improving compliance- you realize why a policy & procedure management system will soon be common practice for all.