Poor communication and collaboration between departments
Without a cross-department source of truth for updating, distributing, and tracking policies, it’s easy for departments to operate in silos. And when departments operate in silos, it increases inefficiencies and the risk of liability. Here are three examples.
- Certain policies and policy updates require collaboration from subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders from other departments. Without a powerful workflow tool, the collaboration process is relegated to email chains or multiple in-person meetings, which both come with their own challenges.
- It’s also important to be able to disseminate important information to all departments and to require and track signatures. Otherwise, you can’t verify that everyone received, read, and understood the latest policy update, which means you can’t hold them accountable to it either. This exposes your employees and organization to liability.
- Lastly, if there isn’t a single source of truth for crucial documents, it’s difficult for staff to quickly access a policy and trust that it’s the most updated version. This is particularly important for employees in the field.
Policy management software, like PowerDMS, is the solution to these risks and challenges. We serve hundreds of municipalities, and they frequently set up PowerDMS for all city employees. That way each department – whether law enforcement, fire, or parks and recreation – can manage their own employees and documents while also benefiting from a centralized policy management system.
This gives municipalities the best of both worlds: a shared platform and department-specific access security. In other words, an HR department can manage, distribute, and track important documents across all departments. And each department can maintain its own system for managing workflows, documents, users, etc., while still accessing municipal-wide content as their security permissions allow.
Essential operations come to a stop during crises
Emergencies happen unexpectedly and often leave city and county operations at a standstill. They take the form of natural disasters, cyberattacks, pandemics, and more. These crises often leave municipalities paralyzed, unable to access, control, and communicate mission-critical information. When disaster strikes, PowerDMS helps municipalities continue critical operations.
Cyberattacks against state and local governments are on the rise. According to Sungard AS, there were a total of 175 reported attacks on U.S. city and county government systems in 2019 and 2020. Over those same years, “78% of states had at least one municipality affected by a ransomware attack.”
The majority of municipalities refused to pay the ransom. In 2019, Baltimore refused to pay a $76,000 ransom but then spent $18 million responding to and recovering from the attack. In 2020, New Orleans suffered an attack and spent $7 million recovering.
If you’re victimized by a cyberattack, you may be forced to spend millions to recover your systems instead of paying the ransom.
Alternatively, you could save millions by being proactive today. PowerDMS is one way to be proactive. Our system is compliant with the highest standards in data management and security. With your data securely hosted on external servers, your municipality is protected against cyberattacks.
PowerDMS has an organization-wide governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) program that identifies, assesses, mitigates, and monitors risks to our customer’s data and the infrastructure supporting our services, with several security mechanisms in place.
If one of your government agency’s networks is exposed to ransomware, PowerDMS lets you maintain job-critical operations.
- With our access control feature, you can set access levels for individuals and custom groups for every important document.
- Manage cyberattack response folders and create groups with varying permission levels, so policy admins across the city can access pertinent documents and share them with their staff.
- Thanks to our mobile app, your staff can access, sign, and receive push notifications on documents from any device. You (and admins across the city) can manage users and folders and publish, disseminate, and archive documents.
Learn how the City of Durham used these features to maintain critical business operations in the middle of a malware attack and pandemic.
Crises like the COVID pandemic come with uncertainty and require extra communication to help employees feel secure, not less. Policy needs to follow safety guidelines released by leading health institutions like the CDC. This requires new policies and frequent policy updates to keep employees safe.
Here are five ways PowerDMS helped HR and City Managers with these challenges:
- Collaborating on new and updated policies via automated workflows
- Communicating important updates to staff quickly and reliably, especially to those in the field (i.e. police officers) needing info on how to safely engage citizens who could have the virus
- Verifying that staff had received, read, and signed those policies
- Automatically reminding employees to sign pending policies
- Removing the exchange of paper from the policy management process (a real concern before we learned how COVID-19 spread)
Our policy processes are inefficient and outdated
PowerDMS equips you to get off paper and say goodbye to time-intensive manual tasks like procuring signatures on new or updated policies, storing policies in an organized way, ensuring employees reference the correct version of each policy, sifting through file cabinets for policies, and much more.
PowerDMS features an intuitive keyword search, folder hierarchy, tags, and bookmarks. Combined, these tools make locating policies and procedures quick and easy. All content is indexed for full-text search, so results are returned for any match within the document, including attachments, metadata, and tags. This helps your staff find what they need, when they need it. And with version control, you can feel confident they’re referencing the most updated version of each policy.
By switching from paper to digital, you save money on paper, printing costs, filing cabinets, and space. Storing your files in an organized central repository prevents policies from being damaged, misplaced, duplicated, etc., which saves you time.
Keeping our staff accountable and reducing liability of wrongful termination lawsuits
With PowerDMS, you can promote accountability, protect your organization, and empower your supervisors with these key features: E-signature tracking, audit trail, and reporting.
Policy admins can assign any document to be acknowledged and signed by employees in one of two ways: 1) entering username and password or 2) using their thumbprint or face ID on the mobile app. This verifies they have read and understood the document, and it protects your organization against future labor disputes. PowerDMS automatically notifies employees about documents pending their review and signature. That way, you don't have to personally remind dozens (or hundreds) of employees.
Protect your organization
If employee misconduct occurs, it’s hard to prove they signed the violated policy or procedure. With PowerDMS, a complete history of every document is tracked in our system, including updates, comments, status, and signature history. We also store and track who has read, signed, edited, and approved each version of a document across its entire lifecycle. This includes archived versions of policies and their associated data.
Dashboards within PowerDMS provide an overview of documents still needing signatures, outstanding workflows, and employees with outstanding tasks in their To-Do list. There’s also a built-in reporting tool, which lets you see the full history of actions for a particular piece of content – who has signed it, who needs to sign it, and any document review steps.
Building trust within our community
In today’s climate, maintaining transparency and trust with your community is more important than ever. With our Public-Facing Documents tool, municipalities can make their policies publicly available with the click of a button. When you make a change to the document in PowerDMS, the public version is automatically updated, so you don’t have to manage two different versions.
Public-Facing Documents is particularly useful for public sector organizations like yours, as it gives your community, the media, and attorneys a way to view your policies on their own. This improves relations and cuts down on public records requests for policies, which also saves you time.
Your department deserves the best solution
PowerDMS was built for public sector organizations like yours, and designed from the ground up to meet your unique challenges. We serve over 3,500 public sector customers with an industry leading 97% satisfaction rating.
Our policy management platform can move your policy manual to the 21st century, get your whole city on the same page by putting your most important documents in one system, and drive real accountability.
Discover how PowerDMS can help your municipality today – start the conversation by contacting us or scheduling a demo. Otherwise, continue on to the next article in this series: How PowerDMS is specialized for your staff.