Creating policies and procedures that are effective requires a thorough review and approval process before implementation. Yet, the critical need to review policies and obtain the appropriate approval is often overlooked, which can lead to policies that are inconsistent and unclear.
Once a policy or procedure has been drafted, it shouldn’t become official until it has been passed through the appropriate channels and been approved by stakeholders. This is a tedious process, and you may not even know where to start and whose approval you need. Other involved personnel also may not understand the role they are meant to play in order to review policies effectively. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of a thorough policy review, the key stakeholders involved, and the steps to ensure a smooth review process.
Why is it Important to Take the Time to Review Policies?
Reviewing new policies is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Attempting to rush through the steps to review policies can be detrimental to the effectiveness of the very policies that are being established. The fact is, the more thorough the process, the more useful a policy or procedure will ultimately be. A meticulous review process should provide clarity and be substantial enough that employees can find all of the crucial information on their own. Policies and procedures that are seen as more reliable and well-thought-out are more likely to be complied with, and won’t need as many updates down the road.
An in-depth process to review policies is crucial for any new policy or procedure being implemented in a company. Such a process can snuff out inaccuracies that may arise if the policy writer misunderstood a concept or task being described in the new policy. It should also identify any inconsistencies between the new policy and existing ones, and ensure that it aligns with relevant laws and regulations so that legal issues don’t arise at a future date.
Moreover, a rigorous process to review policies should include the invaluable opportunity for employee feedback. What if the policy being proposed isn’t logistically possible to comply with, or will ultimately cause disapproval among employees? It would be unfortunate to miss this information before trying to put a policy into place. Employee feedback is an essential component of the review process, as it can highlight whether the proposed changes are feasible or will ultimately damage employee satisfaction and productivity.
Who are Your Stakeholders?
Before embarking on a thorough review process, it’s essential to determine who the stakeholders are. It’s important that personnel from various departments and levels within the organization be called in to review policies. Here are some potential stakeholders and their roles in the policy review process:
This one is crucial to avoid a legal fallout. The legal department is responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures comply with applicable laws and regulations. They can review the policies to ensure that they don’t create any legal liabilities for the organization.
The Human Resources department can provide valuable feedback on policies and procedures to ensure they are consistent with the company’s values and culture. HR can also help ensure that policies are practical and feasible for employees to implement and can provide insights into how the policies will impact employee engagement and satisfaction.
Managers should be asked to review policies and play a critical role in ensuring that policies and procedures align with the company’s strategic goals and objectives. They can provide input on the feasibility of the policies for their nuanced departments and how they will be impacted. Managers should be involved in the review process to ensure that the policies and procedures are aligned with their department’s needs.
Employees are the ones who will be most affected by the policies and procedures, so their feedback is valuable. Depending on the size and structure of the organization, employee representatives may be invited to review policies and make note of how they will be directly impacted. This feedback can help to identify any potential issues and highlight necessary changes to improve employee engagement and satisfaction.
Policy Owners and Subject Matter Experts
Policy owners and subject matter experts should continue to be involved in and asked to review policies. They have the expertise needed to ensure that procedures are accurate and effective. Additionally, they can help identify any areas of the policy that may need additional clarification or explanation.
Standardize Your Review Process
Creating a workflow for review and approval can help standardize the policy review process, but there are a few factors to consider when designing a schedule to do this. Sending a proposal to everyone at once might sound easy enough, but it can actually create more chaos than efficiency. This can cause multiple, inconsistent iterations of a policy to be floating around for review only to go through the process all over again.
It’s more efficient to organize stages of policy review by escalating importance of which personnel should review policies first. Starting with HR, for example, can help to establish how well a policy will mesh with the overall culture of the workplace. It’s good practice to establish approval levels based on the impact of the proposed policy. This might mean seeking initial approval from a board of directors if a policy impacts all employees company wide.
So what are the criteria that policies and procedures must meet before they can be reviewed? And how is that communicated to all involved parties? Communication is key to ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the policy review and approval process, including the steps, criteria, and approval levels needed.
The Best Way to Create and Review Policies and Procedures? ComplianceBridge
ComplianceBridge is an ideal solution for any organization that wants to streamline its policy review process. With our platform, you can create, review, and approve policies and procedures quickly and easily. During the drafting phase, everyone can work on a central version of the document, eliminating the confusion that often arises when there are multiple versions floating around. Additionally, you can create and save policy templates to use in the future, which saves time for policy writers.
With ComplianceBridge, you can configure automated workflows that take the pressure off you to ensure everyone sees the policy draft, and you can review policies in the designated order. It’s even possible to develop multiple workflows for all of your committees. Since all review and commenting takes place inside our system, there’s no need to navigate confusing email threads. Notifications keep everyone informed throughout the process as changes are made, and automated reminders ensure no one misses their opportunity to review and approve.
Once approved, publishing a new policy to your public portal takes only one click, making it easily accessible on the web for anyone who needs it at any time. You can even customize it to align with your organization’s branding and colors.
With ComplianceBridge, you can ensure that your policies and procedures are well-received and well-implemented. Request a demo today and see for yourself how our software can work for your company.