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October 30, 2020

When it comes to regulatory compliance, employee safety, and general operations, some companies have a lot of policies and procedures written up and scattered between notebooks, online folders, and a binder in the lower desk drawer of a cubicle that has gone unused for a year.

This is where policy and procedure software can make everyone’s life so much easier. Rather than relying on binders and printouts, this software can help your HR department, Chief Compliance Officer, or Accreditation Manager easily streamline and manage all your policies and procedures. In the end, this can save you time and money (we know of one company that saved $10,000 in printing costs alone by adopting policy management software).

In this article, we’ll discuss what policy and procedure software is and what challenges it can help you solve.

What's the difference between a policy and a procedure?

A policy is a document that offers guidance on what a company or specific employees are supposed or allowed to do. The procedure details how they’re supposed to do it.

You could have an IT security policy that requires employees to change their password every month; the procedure document would explain how people are supposed to create it.

You could have a vacation policy that explains how often people can take a paid vacation; the procedure document would explain how to request time off.

Bottom line, the policy is the what and the why, the procedure is the how.

What is policy and procedure software?

Policy and procedure management software helps organizations keep all their written policies stored in a cloud-based central location that is accessible to all employees, can be easily updated, and eliminates the need for a printed copy for everyone.

It lets you track electronic signatures to not only ensure that everyone has received their access, it also stores those signatures so they can be retrieved easily if the need arises.

The software ensures consistency in policy language and formatting by letting you create templates to be used for new policies. This is especially important if your policies are written by multiple leaders or departments. It also ensures consistency across any disciplinary measures that need to be taken.

Tired of handing every employee a binder full of printouts and emailing them updates every few weeks whenever someone creates a new policy? With policy and procedure software, you can modernize your 20th-century manual system.

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Challenges that policy and procedure software can resolve.

Many companies that use outdated manuals and processes have a number of problems with no easy solution. The solution is often to create more procedures and new policies, which only exacerbates the problem.

These are some common problems with policy management you may be facing. They also happen to be problems that our customers say we’ve solved for them.

Outdated Processes

Remember the days when companies kept all their policies and procedures in a 3-ring binder? Every employee got one, and updates were sent out via email for printing or via in-house mail and placed in the manual. Some companies still follow this process, even though this is the 21st century, and paper-and-binder manuals are out of date.

Storage Issues

Paper has to live somewhere, whether it’s in a binder on someone’s shelf with all the other binders. In a desk drawer with all the other files. Or in a filing cabinet with all the other folders. It all adds up. Cloud-based software lets you store all your documents, especially your policy manuals, for everyone to retrieve.

Disorganized Policies

Did everyone get the latest policy update? Did they put it in their policy manual? Why are these policies contradictory? Large organizations often have problems keeping track of all their policies because they come from multiple departments and no one person is responsible for them. Not to mention, there’s no single canonical source for what’s accepted company policy.

Lack of Collaboration

When writing or updating policies, it helps to have a workflow process for collaborating with key stakeholders across departments and getting them approved by the executive team. The right centralized software system can help you with every step of policy creation, including workflows, templates, regulatory compliance, and final approval.

Inability to Disseminate Information

Organizations with remote employees or people who aren’t regularly at their desk often have trouble disseminating policy updates. You can always email updates, but email isn’t designed to store and access important documents. Neither does it let you track who has viewed and signed the updated policy.

Difficulty Tracking Policies

Rather than handing every employee a new or updated document and asking them to sign it, or asking them to sign-off on their training, you can collect and report on e-signatures. All from a central location. You can also track approval workflows, employee training, and testing certifications and licenses. This helps you manage compliance documents so you can easily provide them during compliance audits.

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