Ten Things Every Employee Should Understand About the Purpose of Workplace Policies

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How well do your employees understand the big-picture purpose of policies and procedures?


Do your employees see your policies as a necessary evil and an inconvenience? Or as a body of shared knowledge used to strengthen, support and protect your organization?

From top executives to middle managers to front line employees, stakeholders in your organization should  understand and  champion the idea that policies serve many vital purposes, and can and do change behavior and guide decision-making.

If perception of policies in your organization is not all it could be, reminding stakeholders about the purpose and value of policies and procedures may be in order. Consider including policy-related messaging on your intranet, during the attestation process, as part of new hire orientation and in other venues and communication channels.

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Below is a list of the core purpose and value of policies. Feel free to use this messaging as-is or customize to fit your organization’s mission, culture and values:

The Purpose & Value Of Policies: Organizations Have Policies in Place To Help…

  1. Convey the organization’s mission and enable the execution of its strategy
  2. Ensure employees clearly understand expectations and consequences for misconduct
  3. Influence employee behavior and support ethical, compliant decision-making
  4. Create a positive and respectful workplace and organizational culture
  5. Foster credibility and trust with customers and business partners
  6. Improve productivity and business performance
  7. Meet all legal standards required to operate
  8. Protect the organization’s people, reputation and bottom line
  9. Avoid litigation and mitigate risk
  10. Prevent, detect and respond to criminal conduct

Employees Who Understand the Purpose of Policies Are More Likely to Adhere to Them

When employees have a better understanding of the purpose for policies—and see them being swiftly and consistently enforced—it sends a clear signal about management’s attitudes toward policies and the consequences of their violation.

It is critical that executives set the tone from the top about the value and the importance of abiding by company policies. Clear, consistent messaging from executives, as well as comprehensive employee training and continuing education are essential in creating a robust, effective culture of compliance.

For a deeper understanding of how to effectively and efficiently manage your organization’s employee handbook, code of conduct, and policies and procedures, Download the Definitive Guide to Policy & Procedure Management. It features an in-depth review of policy assessment tools, best-practice tips, key considerations and more.


What do you have to say? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join a discussion group on Compliance Next.

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