Policies and procedures are the backbone of an organization’s ethical and legal needs. Every organization has policies and procedures in place to mitigate risks and to ensure safety, operational efficiency, compliance, and much more. One problem that arises in many organizations is that the written policies and procedures do not become the root of the organization’s culture and instead end up being ignored. Such lapses can be very costly. They can result in unsafe environments, financial damages, and operational breakdowns. It is time that policy and procedure management is brought into the digital age.
The problem with manual policy and procedure management
Handling policies and procedures manually results in several problems. The problems do not emerge after a few years – they are present right at inception. When policies and procedures are being created it is necessary to take input from all the relevant stakeholders. Good and practical policies and procedures are based on the ground realities of the business, which means that a lot of people need to be consulted while they are being created.
If policies and procedures are being handled manually this process becomes chaotic. Multiple email threads are created with multiple people. Then all the feedback from them must be collected and one document must be created. Another problem is that this results in different versions of the documents with different people. Someone may be giving their feedback on a document that is already outdated, because another person gave different feedback which ended up changing the document, and so on.
The problems don’t end there. If a policy is updated the organization needs to ensure that everyone is aware that the policy has been updated. It is common for people to simply use the files they already have instead of asking for the same file again. Thus, someone may not be aware that a policy had changed because they were accessing the documents already in their system. They may end up taking an action which has been explicitly forbidden in the new policy. Accessing policies and procedures also becomes a problem for people within the organization. If policies and procedures are to be followed by the employees, it is important that they have access to them.
The Advantages of a Policy and Procedure Management System
All these problems are removed by the presence of a policy and procedure management system. Creating documents related to policies and procedures becomes a breeze. There is no need to send everyone separate emails to get their feedback. The document exists within the system and everyone who needs to see it can access it from within the system.
This also means that there is only one version of the document which everyone can access. This simplified the document creation stage because everyone is giving their feedback on the same document. All changes that are made are also tracked by the system. Anyone with access can see who made the last changes to the document. Since different versions of the documents are tracked it is also possible to revert to a previous version if necessary. Auditing is also improved because every change is tracked and thus all issues can be easily traced.
Accessing policies and procedures is no longer a problem with a policy and procedure management system in place. These systems allow organizations to decide how employees can interact with the document. While editing privileges are restricted to a few people the rest of the organization can view the documents. This ensures not just that everyone in the organization has access to the same version of the documents but also that it is easy to reference policies and procedures whenever needed.
Making compliance convenient
There is another, subtler effect of such systems. They make it convenient to be compliant. Many employees may ignore policies and procedure unwittingly because it is so hard to access them. Imagine if an employee accessed policies and procedures every time they started a new activity. They will have to first find out where the documents are stored then they will have to ask someone for access to them. Then they must manually go through the documents to find out the relevant policies and procedures.
When there is a system in place all that is needed is a keyword. Any employee can search through the policies and procedures and find the policy or procedure they were looking for within seconds. This means that complying with the policies and procedures is completely painless and does not affect operational efficiency.
If you want to see what a Policy and Procedure Management Software like Predict360 can do for your organization, simply sign up for a 30-day free trial. You can also get a live demo of Predict360’s most exciting features by getting in touch with us through chat, or by filling the Contact Us form.
About the company
360factors, Inc. (Austin, TX) helps companies improve business performance by reducing risk and ensuring compliance. Predict360, its flagship software product, vertically integrates regulations and requirements, policies and procedures management, risks and controls, audit management and inspections, and on-line training and qualifications, in a single cloud-based platform based on artificial intelligence.