Making Policy and Procedure Work
You have your Policy & Procedure Manual done. What now?
Practical information on how to communicate policy and procedures to staff and stakeholders
There is a lot of energy put into the quality of policies and procedures. However, successful implementation depends equally on the quality of your communication and the subsequent training support offered after.
Policy makers must clearly communicate to all persons affected, including relevant external stakeholders. Multiple communication channels should be used to convey the new policies and procedures.
1. Consider who will be impacted by the new policies and procedures:
Look not only at staff within your organisation but external people affected by the new measures.
2. Draft a clear announcement statement:
The statement should be as short as possible but give a clear overview of the impacts. This will ensure that all levels of the organisation, regardless of technical knowledge or expertise, will know the new policies and procedures exist.
For example: New Loan Policy and Procedures
To address market competitiveness - we have adjusted key lending ratios in the policy to allow more flexibility in some instances, without creating unnecessary risks. It is important that all staff are aware of these.
3. Use multiple avenues of communication to reach all intended audiences.
Select the best methods of communication for the various target audiences.
- The organisation can notify customers and other audiences by letters, e-mails and advertisements.
- Memoranda, emails, staff meetings, pamphlets and manuals can be used to notify staff members.
4. Communication to staff members should also announce any new training programs and explain how the new procedures will affect existing operations.
This communication should also provide staff members with information on where to get answers to any questions or concerns they have about new policies and procedures.
From the communication employees must know:
- Why the changes are required
- What changes are occurring
- What will impact their roles and
- How to get information and provide feedback
Employees are more accepting of change if you make them part of the process. Just considering their ideas can be enough to inspire buy-in.
If you can, encourage feedback and suggestions on policy and procedure before the change is implemented.
If not, explain the need to implement the policy and seek comments and clarification questions.
Employees can be resistant to change, and implementing new procedures should not be done overnight. The greater the change being implemented, the more time needed to get the staff used to the changes and the more notice they need to adjust.
Have group face to face meetings if possible to announce the new policies and address any questions the staff may have.
If a group meeting is not feasible, a group memo or email should be sent out to everyone. A manager should be available to answer anyone's questions in person.
After the policy is in place, continuously evaluate how effective it is and how employee morale is being affected. Have another meeting shortly thereafter to get feedback and take suggestions on how things can be improved.
If it is a larger company, set up an email account that allows employees the chance to send in ideas and questions. They could also have ideas on new policies themselves that could help create a more enjoyable and more efficient workplace. If it is a "contentious" area - consider an anonymous suggestion box.
(Excerpt from Diploma of Credit Management)
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