Send draft out for review
Now that you have written a draft, it’s time to review it.
If a non-expert wrote the initial draft, you'll want to ask an actual expert to review it. This is key to your policy's success. You'll have to walk a fine line between your subject matter experts' need for thoroughness and your non-experts' need for clarity and simplicity.
You can streamline the process by using policy management software, like PowerDMS, with audit trail features and version control. You'll be able to access each document's history so you can pinpoint any changes. This way, you can collaborate on revisions, ensuring none of your material gets lost or accidentally deleted.
Obtain final approval/sign off
Typically, you need someone on the executive team to sign off on each new policy. They are ultimately accountable for the policy, which means they need to officially approve the final draft. This should always be done by the highest level of leadership that makes sense for each policy.
For example, you don't need the CEO to sign off on new policies for cleaning up spills, but you do for workplace harassment or management of proprietary information. And the IT manager shouldn't be signing off on an Acceptable Use Policy; that goes to the CTO or CIO who is ultimately responsible.
How to implement new policies and procedures
Once you've written your new policies and procedures, you need to create a plan to ensure compliance. Here's how you can do it.
Distribute the new policies
Sure, you could print these out and create binders full of policies, but that's a waste of time and money, not to mention all the headaches it will create as soon as a single policy gets updated.
Instead, use a policy management software solution to store your policy manual. That way, your employees will be able to access them at any time, even outside the office. By keeping them in one place, your employees can easily search for them to answer any compliance questions they have.
You can also use the policy management software to distribute the policies, ensure everyone reviews and understands them, and even have them sign off on the documents. Further, you can track all the signatures to ensure full regulatory and accreditation compliance.
Create a training plan
Of course, reading a new policy is not the same as understanding the policy, especially if these are complex and/or legal requirements that required input form subject matter experts.
You'll want to develop training content so employees can understand the organizational expectations and the executive vision. Using a policy management solution that includes a training management tool can make things a whole lot easier.
You can create customizable online training that not only saves time and money, it helps your employees quickly understand your new policies. You can also test their knowledge and understanding with assessments, which will not only help with any compliance requirements, it can show you holes in your training and other materials.
Establish a review cycle
Laws and best practices are always evolving and technology is always changing, which means policies and procedures are living documents. So even though you're done writing the policies, that doesn't mean you're ever fully finished. (Policy management is an ongoing issue.)
Part of a healthy, robust policy management process means reviewing policies on a regular basis, such as reviewing policies on social media or bring-your-own-device every six months. Other policies may only need reviews and revisions once a year or every few years.
Including the review process as part of your writing process will help ensure the policies are never out of date. Just make sure to pay attention to any details that will need to be revisited, and keep the bigger picture and end goals in mind throughout the whole process.
Set yourself up for long term success
Your policy and procedure manual sets the tone for conduct in your organization and ultimately defines your daily operations. By taking the time to make yours effective, you're taking a big step toward positively developing your organization.
The PowerDMS policy management platform can streamline the writing of policies and procedures, updating manuals, and mapping them to training and accreditation requirements. To learn more about using PowerDMS for policy creation and management, you can visit our website and request a free demo.