Just as the difference between a professional and an amateur is in the details, so too do businesses differentiate themselves by paying attention to the little things. Consistency is the key, especially for displaying written content. That’s why businesses have gone out of their way to create style guides for everything from branding to how they communicate to customers and reporters. So, when it comes to creating or updating policies and procedures, templates can be a godsend.
In this article we explore how you can create a better template for putting together your policies and procedures, starting with rudimentary tools and concluding with the top solution in the market.
Hundreds of policies with the same look and feel
There are many ways to achieve the same look and feel for policies and procedures. The easiest way upfront is to create a style guide that defines how every aspect of the document should appear. However, this method has a drawback in that even the most attentive author would need to dedicate significant time toward styling and formatting.
“A risk is that if a number of a different people are creating multiple procedure documents, they won’t all look the same,” says Dana Greenburg, Client Success Manager at ComplianceBridge. “Templates change that.”
When you have dozens or even hundreds of policies with multiple authors, there are bound to be differences in the presentation of the end product even with a style guide as reference. For these situations, templates are essential. Templates are predefined scaffolding for content that guides exactly where to position different sections of the document such as the header, disclaimer, and company logo. Well designed templates reduce the formatting workload on the authors, allowing them to focus on content and helps to speed the entire process.
“The benefit of templates is driving standardization and consistency,” says Brady Nelson, Director of Client Success at ComplianceBridge. “And you make it easier for these people in different departments to create new policies.”
Collaboration, version control, validation, and distribution
Templates help to prevent authors from having to start from scratch when creating new policies, but templates can only go so far. Policies have become complex pieces of content, often requiring the input from multiple stakeholders and experts to meet standards and regulatory requirements.
As soon as you expose a single document to multiple authors or start creating more versions, you expose yourself to a host of new errors which templates can help to eliminate.
“Old school network shares lack security and authoring rights, which can lead to errors and loss of time,” says Brady. “Collaborative platforms work well, but they can’t do what TotalCompliance, a specialized platform can do for them.”
TotalCompliance, produced by ComplianceBridge, offers a deep, highly configurable templating system that handles all the styling and formatting as well as all the collaboration. Rich built-in collaborative tools such as version control, messaging, notifications, and reminders ensures that authors do not work over one another and possibly introduce errors which will slow the entire process. TotalCompliance is made with different people with different roles in mind to enforce consistency so that each person focuses on what they do best.
“We have different membership types in the platform,” says Brady. “You can be an editor, for example, so all you can do is add or modify content. You can’t publish, create, or delete documents.”
Once an individual with a certain role has completed their assignment on a document, the next person in line receives a notification. This process starts with the authors and ends with the approver and publisher.
Jumpstarting your policy and procedure refresh
Some businesses have policies that were written over 10 years ago that must now be digitized and edited for the next decade. Such a task can be daunting, especially without the right tools.
“I used to work with an airline assisting them with their procedure manuals,” says Dana. “These manuals were all hand typed. We needed to digitize and standardize them. On every single page we had to fill in and write-in content.”
With TotalCompliance, you have access to a content management system for policies and procedures with built-in templates to drive quality content and consistency. To take full advantage of this platform, Dana has begun producing quick start guides to best leverage the full capabilities of the platform. She has drawn on her experience working with businesses upgrading their policies.
Interested in getting a jumpstart with your policy refresh or want to implement a powerful template system to streamline your policy and procedure authoring process? Reach out to ComplianceBridge today and ask for a demo.