3 tips for collaboration during policy creation
- Written by Amy Dinsmore
- April 5 2016
Cost-efficient document management software allows law enforcement agencies to streamline policy creation and distribution. These policy management advances are process-focused, however, and you must accompany them with cultural initiatives to maximize their potential for value creation. Tools within a policy management platform allow you to take cultural advances within your organization and apply them to operations.
Collaboration plays an essential role in taking advantage of this value. Getting subject matter experts, legal professionals, officers and agency leaders all involved in policy creation lets you apply multiple perspectives to the language of the final document. It also ensures that you create a policy that will prove effective across a wide range of your operations – you don’t want legal experts to create a policy that officers can’t enact in the field because it doesn’t align properly with their day-to-day needs. Collaboration is at the center of policy creation success, and agencies need to put technology and cultural excellence in the spotlight to get the job done.
Creating an operational climate in which processes, culture and technology align for policy creation is ideal, but it isn’t a simple matter. Following these three tips can help you find success:
1. Create cross-discipline policy creation teams
Being intentional about your policy creation team formation is essential if you want to create a culture that fuels cross-departmental collaboration. For example, if you have a legal expert writing a policy and occasionally emailing officers or other members of staff with questions, the policy will still seem to have come from the legal expert. However, have that same lawyer head a team that formally includes other members of your staff creates a different atmosphere around the policy, even if the legal expert is still the person doing the bulk of the writing on the policy.
The distinction between a lawyer getting some help from the rest of your department and working on a team with other employees may seem like a small distinction, but shows that you take cross-discipline collaboration seriously.
2. Make collaboration easy
Everybody is busy in the law enforcement sector. Departments operate with limited budgets and tight human resources as the operational focus is on field work. At the same time, officers must focus on managing cases, not helping with background tasks like policy creation. Getting employees from all of your functional areas involved in policy creation can prove incredibly difficult if you do not have simple, easy-to-use collaboration tools in place.
Technology can prove critical here – document management software can offer built-in collaboration tools through note-taking functions and track changes capabilities within the Web app. However, you must also manage end-user permissions and expectations in such a way that collaborators know when they have an opportunity to get involved with a document, understand the timelines of projects and can integrate policy creation into their day-to-day operations.
3. Create transparency on policy initiatives
Why do you need to establish a new policy? How will the measure impact operations for your officers? How will it help the agency as a whole? You probably know the answers to these questions as you work to develop new policies, but do your officers and subject matter experts? You can’t expect people to get involved in collaboration unless they understand why the policy matters to them. Transparency at the outset of a new policy initiative plays a vital role in ensuring effective collaboration.
Technology and cross-discipline communication can do wonders for policy creation, and adjusting your culture to take advantage of these capabilities is key if you want to maximize the value of policy measures in your department.