Policy management seemed to be top of mind this past month as Compliance Week released two articles highlighting the importance of an effective policy management process, including the expertise of Ingrid Fredeen, NAVEX Global’s Ethical Leadership Group™ vice president.
As stated in the article, Centralized Policy Management: From Dilbert to Reality, a typical company will have some policies controlled by corporate headquarters, while most tend to be created and managed independently by various business units, facilities, or locations, depending on each company’s operations. Lacking any sense of where those documents reside, most companies end up with conflicting, redundant, or out-of-date policies.
Ingrid Fredeen states that there are a lot of inefficiencies in such a system because there is no sharing of knowledge or baseline information across the organization; as well as creates a lot of compliance and legal risks for the company. Re-emphasizing the need for a centralized policy management process, it is imperative see a company’s entire policy landscape, to ensure that each specific policy complies not only with the company’s broad approach to policies and procedures, but also all relevant laws and regulations.
However, with every rule and policy in place, there seems to be exceptions that follow (or so employees think). Though quite unavoidable, as stated in The Art of Managing Policy Exception Requests, an effective policy management process will help create a clear rule for handling exception requests and ease the pain for policy managers.
If too many exception requests crop up, it can be a sure sign that the underlying policy has flaws. “When you start to make too many exceptions, the policies basically are no longer policies,” says Ingrid Fredeen. “They no longer serve their fundamental purpose if people believe that they’ll be able to get away with something, or that the policy won’t be enforced.”
We see seven very significant benefits to enforcing a policy and procedure management process:
- Convey Management Philosophies
- Improve Communication
- Reduce Training Time
- Help Ensure Compliance
- Reduce Litigation and Liability
- Improve Productivity and Performance
- Improve and Standardize Quality
For more information on reducing the time and money required to manage, update and publish policies, please download The ROI of Policy Management.