Manual compliance is fairly straightforward, and quite frankly, that’s likely part of its appeal.
However, this more traditional route is also more time-consuming, more expensive, and generally less effective than automated compliance management.
Consider all the steps involved in developing and managing all of your documents manually:
- Forming a committee to cover topics of importance and establishing pertinent policies and procedures
- Getting compliance documents approved by necessary personnel
- Printing policy manuals and any other documents that need to be signed off on
- Chasing personnel members down to read and sign said documents
- Filing all of your documents in binders and file cabinets around your office
- Meeting to review and revise outdated documents
- Starting the entire process all over again
Though you may be used to the manual method of tracking compliance, it has a few potentially problematic aspects.
Your policy documents exist to promote compliance. So it’s important they are easy to create, distribute, find, and use when you need them.
Simply put, manual policy compliance makes all of this more difficult and time-consuming. Throughout their life cycle, your documents much less accessible and convenient to locate.
Whether you are trying to find a specific document or compile a report, manual policy compliance means passing documents around the office or thumbing through stacks of paper.
As a result, looking for, navigating, and working on your documents could end up being distracting and time-consuming. In the long run, it could also potentially compromise your employees’ ability to do their job well.
You may be using a local server or another home-grown system to manage your policies. These systems can certainly be helpful for storing and managing your documents.
However, it’s likely that only a few people in the office know how to operate them.
This type of compliance setup isn’t sustainable or transferable, and could end up being time-consuming for everyone involved.
It may seem less expensive than automated policy compliance systems. But with manual compliance management, costs add up over time.
At first, the process seems fairly simple: you create compliance documents, then print and distribute them. However, as you know, these documents rarely stay static.
Since laws and best practices always evolve, so will your policies and procedures. This will naturally increase paper and printing costs, which can get quite expensive over time.
Did you know the average employee uses 10,000 pieces of paper per year? That’s $800 of annual overhead you could prevent.
Along similar lines, constantly re-printing policy and procedure manuals harms the environment, contributing to deforestation and landfill waste.
In addition to the added time and costs, manual policy compliance is a generally ineffective method.
Think of it this way – what good are your documents if you and your employees don’t actually have access to them when necessary?
To do their jobs well – and to comply – your employees always need to have your policy documents on hand. Paper documents, whether a training report or the latest version of a policy, are simply difficult and time-consuming to locate.
There’s also an out of sight, out of mind effect. When an individual knows finding a document will take time, they are less likely to look for it.
This could have a negative effect on your compliance with your organization and, by extension, compromise safety and professionalism.