Whether you’ve worked at your company for six months or six years, you know that nothing is likely to stay the same for too long. New hires are brought on, new positions are formed, job descriptions evolve, and processes adapt to their environment. Despite all of these changes, the policies and procedures that guide how your business operates day in and day out are not updated nearly as often. Too often, policies and procedures sit on the proverbial shelf collecting dust for many years, not even being reviewed much less updated.
When you go too long without updating policies and procedures, your business risks creating a number of issues for itself. For instance, new policies could be contradicting older policies, or employees may realize some policies are out of date and lose confidence in all policies across the board. When you make a commitment to begin reviewing and updating policies and procedures on a more frequent basis, you’ll be able to catch things quickly—before an issue has the chance to fester.
Why is Updating Policies and Procedures More Frequently Important For Your Company?
Account for any changes in the company
As companies grow, a number of structural, operational, and cultural changes occur. Perhaps the marketing and sales teams have been split up as more team members are added, your operations team has implemented a new software, the once unique culture that existed as a smaller company requires a more deliberate approach as the workforce grows—there are any number of changes your company may need to address in policies and procedures to ensure they’re up to date.
Even the smallest changes—when left undocumented in policies and procedures—can lead to bigger issues down the road. One of the most common outcomes is the creation of two sets of policies. Your formal policies, which go unused, and your informal policies, which become the standard practice despite not being documented.
Account for any changes to the law or regulations
Just as change is bound to happen within your company, change also occurs outside of it in the environment you operate in. All around you, local, state, and federal laws that have an impact on workplace policies frequently change, and it’s up to you to keep up with these updates. At the federal level, you may need to consider changes to regulations around business taxes, fair labor standards, and workplace health and safety requirements. At the state and local level, you need to look out for changes to laws around minimum wage, data privacy and security, pay equity, and paid leave, among many others.
Additionally, as your business grows in size, you’ll also find that there are new regulations you must comply with, as well. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which does not apply to business with less than 15 employees, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which does not apply to businesses with less than 20 employees, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which requires employers with more than 50 employees to report that they provide health coverage.
What is unique about these types of changes is that you have little say about when they need to be implemented or how they’ll affect your business. Because you’re essentially working on someone else’s timeline, it’s especially important to stay vigilant and be responsive to these changes.
Account for any new technology or the retirement of old technology
If employees are the soul of a company, technology is the beating heart. You simply can’t do everything that you do without the apps, software, devices, equipment, and other technology your employees use everyday. The thing about technology, though, is that it’s always evolving. Innovation is constantly occurring, leading to the release of new and improved technology and the retirement of legacy technology.
When your company implements a new software for customer management to your sales reps, introduces a new process for reporting business expenses, or is finally ready to retire your old email client and onboard to something new, these changes need to be documented. When you’re updating policies and procedures to account for these technological changes, be sure you’re also documenting how processes have changed in response to them.
Make revisions for clarity
Even with a review process in place, it’s still possible that you won’t nail a policy or procedure the first time around. Employees might interpret an aspect in a way you never could have anticipated, or maybe there is no consensus on the interpretation at all. On the other hand, they could have understood the language, but employees have had many follow-up questions and requested more details on the subject. No matter what the exact issue may be with the original published version, the fastest route to resolution may simply be updating policies and procedures to ensure they are clear, concise, and explicit.
Updating Policies and Procedures Doesn’t Need to be Difficult
How does your company update policies and procedures? Does it involve a lot of emailing back and forth? Do you end up with multiple versions of the same policy document by the end? Do these manual processes ultimately make review take much longer than it should? For many companies, the answer to all of these questions is yes. That’s why we created ComplianceBridge, to help policy management become the straightforward process it should be.
ComplianceBridge is an engineered online solution that not only allows you to streamline policy creation, review, and approval, it provides your entire organization with a clear digital library of up-to-date policies and procedures. By empowering you with a range of capabilities, including access controls, automatic reminders, custom policy quiz creation, version management, and policy update notifications, our solution helps you achieve and maintain compliance.
Ready to see how ComplianceBridge makes updating policies and procedures an easy, fast process? Sign up for a free demo today!