Seven steps to successfully rolling out a new workplace policy or procedure
From time-to-time organisations will need to introduce a new workplace policy or procedure, or make a significant change to a policy that then needs to be rolled out to employees who need to be made aware about it, and the relative changes involved. For example, recently many organisations have introduced new policies on remote and hybrid working that everybody needs to be aware of. Other areas where policy and policy changes are important can relate to security and compliance, the introduction of new processes, or new ways of working.
Rolling out a new workplace policy is something that requires some planning. You can’t just email out the policy to everybody and hope for the best. Taking a structured approach that follows all a number of different steps helps to ensure the policy is fully disseminated to all employees and that the changes are understood.
In this article we’re going to cover seven steps you need to follow to ensure the successful roll-out of a new workplace or employee policy.
1. Ensure the policy has been agreed upon by all stakeholders
This might sound obvious, but before you roll out the policy you need to make sure that the policy has been properly reviewed and agreed upon by all the necessary stakeholders. In our experience, this is an area which is ripe for misunderstanding, and there is nothing worse than rolling out a policy only to find someone needs to change it.
Getting agreement and consensus on a policy involving multiple stakeholders can be like herding cats, and inevitably some stakeholders will come up with feedback and alterations at the very last moment. People can get very particular on specific wording too. Always double- check and then triple-check that the policy has been finalised and approved by all stakeholders before rolling it out.
2. Create a launch plan with roles and a timetable
Launching a new policy is like a rolling out a marketing campaign or even an IT application. You need to have an overarching launch plan. This will have all the necessary people and roles involved in the roll-out, a detailed timetable and an idea of the main steps involved. Once you have a draft plan in place this then needs to circulated to and agreed upon by all those involved.
Usually having a planning meeting with the launch team giving input will help get them on board, and also finalise any plan.
3. Work on the communications plan too
A key part of any launch plan for a new policy is having a good communications plan to introduce the policy that takes in the desired channels you’re going to use, the right messaging and the diversity of your workforce. This means your plan cover what you are trying to convey, the different audiences you are trying to reach and so on. In working out the plan, the kind of questions that need to be considered might be:
- What messages are we trying to convey in the campaign?
- Which channels are we going to use to actually disseminate the policy?
- What channels are we going to use to communicate about the policy?
- Do we need to run any training sessions?
- Do frontline employees have access to the policy and communications about it?
- Are there any other groups such as contractors who will need to know about the policy but might not have access to key channels?
- Who is the person, if any, who is fronting the campaign; for example, is your CEO going to put their name behind communications relating to the new policy?
- Considering the diversity of the workforce and the nature of the policy being launched, do communications and the policy need to be translated into different languages?
- How long does the campaign last?
- Do we need to target the messaging and content to different groups detailing what the change in policy means for them?
- How do we deal with any questions about the policy?
4. Prepare any communications covering the “why” and the “what”
With a campaign plan made, it’s time to create any necessary communications relating to the policy. This could include making a summarized and more digestible version of the policy itself that is more likely to be read and understood than a very long document that is written in “legalease” and risks getting ignored.
Another important approach in preparing communications to launch a new policy is to ensure messaging covers both the “why” and the “what”. Providing the full context and the reasons for introducing the new policy is essential for driving compliance across employees. This then positions the “what” which explains the implications of the new policy for how people work and any required new ways of doing things.
It also helps to prepare managers and team leaders about the campaign, particularly if they are going to be involved in helping to disseminate the policy to their team and then monitoring the related employee attestation process.
5. Prepare the right digital channels
Your launch and communication plan will involve preparing various digital channels to both distribute the policy and also to issue any communications about it. You need to ensure that the channel where the policy is actually housed is something that all employees can access such as your company intranet or an appropriate policy management solution For example, the Xoralia platform seamlessly integrates with your SharePoint Online or Microsoft 365 digital workplace so policies are easily accessed by anybody with a Azure Active Directory ID. Other channels you may leverage for communications could include your intranet, email and Microsoft Teams.
6. Use an employee attestation process
As part of the roll-out of the policy, particularly if it is compliance-related, run an employee attestation process that confirms every employee has read and understood the new policy. This can have two elements; firstly, getting each employee to supply an online confirmation they have read and understood the policy. Secondly, you can also ask questions about the policy using an online quiz to make sure employees have digested it.
In powerful policy management software like Xoralia you can manage the whole employee attestation process from end-to-end, preparing an online confirmation, a quiz if required and using in-built reporting to track who has and hasn’t completed the process. It even includes automated notifications to send out reminders to anyone who has yet to confirm they’ve read the policy.
7. Chase all responses and embed the policy in onboarding
Once the attestation process has kicked off you then need to chase all responses so everybody in your company has confirmed that they have read and understood the policy. Using the very granular reporting on a solution like Xoralia means that managers can follow up with individual team members to ask them to complete the attestation process if required.
After this process, you may need to embed reading the new policy into your company’s standard employee onboarding process, adding it to the list of required reading. Some policy management solutions can help with this; for example, with Xoralia adding a new person to the appropriate Active Directory group when they join can automatically trigger the related onboarding and attestation process for that individual.
Rolling out a new policy
Rolling out a new policy is an important activity that needs to happen from time to time. By following the seven steps detailed above and using a solution like Xoralia, you’ll be able to successfully launch your policy and ensure it has been digested by employees.
If you’d like to discuss how Xoralia can help you roll out policies and procedures, then get in touch!
Why you need a central policy hub
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a work document or piece of information that should be easy to find but proves difficult and time-consuming. Imagine you need to review a particular HR policy to resolve an issue within your team. You’re already pressed for time and trying to get things done, so spending time on a fruitless search can be highly aggravating.
You look on the intranet and on the shared drive without success. You look in your own inbox. Not only are you wasting your time, but it also might be preventing you from completing a particularly pressing task. Even worse, when you do find what seems to be the right HR policy, you’re not even be sure it’s up to date or the latest version. You email a colleague, but they don’t know. You then email a person in HR who you think is responsible for the document, although then they might not know the right person to contact.
For many employees this is the reality of trying to find key policy and procedural documents. Even important policy documents that are fundamental to the way people work are not always easy and obvious to find.
Creating a central policy hub where employees can quickly find every policy they need and know it is the correct version is the best way to avoid this situation. In this post we’re going to explore what a central policy hub is, the kind of challenges it helps overcome, and the benefits it brings.
What is a central policy hub?
A central policy hub is a single area where employees can access a collection of up-to-date policy and procedures and other related controlled documents from across the organisation. This hub will be a centrally controlled library or repository that will include a search facility to enable people to find the policies they need. It will also be easily accessible for all employees, for example integrated into the company intranet.
A central policy hub can be created using a document management solution like SharePoint or through dedicated policy and procedure software like Xoralia, which is based on SharePoint.
What challenges does a central policy hub help solve?
A robust policy hub solution such as Xoralia will help solve most of the associated challenges that come with managing policies in large and complex organisations.
The number one challenge for employees is finding the documents they need. Are they on the intranet? On a shared drive? In an email? On the HR portal or on ServiceNow? And is this the document or version I actually need? When there is poor findability for critical process and procedural documents because they are spread over multiple repositories that some employees may not even have access to, it can be time-consuming to find the right document. Employees may even give up in their search.
When there is poor findability, many employees will ask their colleagues if they know where the document is. If that colleague does not know, they may recommend someone else to ask, and the process gets repeated. Imagine how many times this occurs each day across a large workforce – it’s a total waste of time and drain on productivity. Equally, huge amounts of hours also get lost when people try to carry out searches which end up being unsuccessful.
Managing a large amount of policy documents
Some HR, IT and compliance-related teams have large numbers of process and procedural documents they need to manage. Keeping on top of these, ensuring they are easily disseminated, kept up to date and retiring them when needed, can be both time-consuming and logistically challenging.
Managing multiple stakeholders
Sometimes communications. HR or compliance teams try to organise better access to policies, for example on the intranet. But managing policies and procedures involves working with multiple stakeholders, who may not buy-in the approach or view it as a priority. Sometimes individual policies also need input from multiple stakeholders, all of whom are very busy.
Multiple versions in circulation
When you don’t have one source of truth for policies and procedures, inevitably multiple versions start to go into circulation. People rely on documents they were previously emailed or which they have stored in a local drive, because they know how hard it was to find the policy document in the first place. This has two outcomes. Firstly, employees act on potentially out-of-date policies that may open organisations up to various risks. Secondly, employees have little faith in the documents they find being up to date, so they sometimes check with policy owners.
Global vs local procedures
Some global organisations have both global policies that are relevant to all locations, but then also local policies that need to be applied too. Ensuring employees can access the right global policies as well as specific local policies can be very challenging. How does an employee know when a global or local policy applies to them? Sometimes access to specific local policies also needs to be restricted for risk management reasons, particularly in the HR space.
Making people aware of new policies and procedures
Making employees aware that a new policy and procedure has been issued and that they need to take notice of the change can be very difficult. Policies aren’t the most interesting items to read and it’s hard to get the attention of employees. Moreover, you may need to show an external regulator that a policy has been distributed and understood by employees, particularly if it is compliance-related.
Why you need a central policy hub
Many of the above challenges are solved quickly and in a straightforward way by having a central policy hub. Let’s explore some of the key benefits.
Making policies and procedures accessible for all
Policies and procedures apply to all employees and it’s important that everybody can access them. You can’t expect everybody to adhere to company policies if they cannot easily access the relevant documents. A central policy hub that the entire workforce can easily access is simply the best way to make this happen.
Making content easily findable and searchable
A central policy hub will also have a robust search to make it easy to find a particular policy with appropriate filters, such as viewing by department or subject area. A solution like Xoralia also has custom tagging so you can categorise policies in any way you like. Ideally, you can also integrate your central policy hub with your wider enterprise, intranet or Microsoft search. Making content easily findable and searchable lifts many of the challenges that employees experience in finding what they need.
Supporting version control and lifecycle management
Because a good central policy hub solution will have content appropriate version control built-in as well as lifecycle management tools such as automated review reminders and dedicated views for policy owners for all the documents that they are responsible for, it means many of the challenges associated with managing multiple policies will be gone. This will help policy owners ensure the latest versions of documents are always available and significantly reduce the risk of having multiple versions of policies in circulation.
Working with multiple stakeholders
A central policy hub solution should also allow you to work easily with multiple stakeholders, with clear and granular permissions to ensure different departments are responsible for specific policies, but which all feed into one common place to access them.
Ensuring information is trusted
Because a central policy hub should contain all the latest versions of policies it means that these will be trusted by employees; a central policy hub will encourage people to use policies with confidence.
When employees know where to find policies, can search for them easily and have confidence they are the latest versions, it will eliminate much of the time wasted on unsuccessful searching and asking colleagues. Only a central policy hub can successfully save you time.
Because a central policy hub works well and is also transparent about who is responsible for each policy, it means policy owners are more accountable for keeping policies up to date. In our experience, this encourages good behaviour across the board.
Meeting complexity around global and local policies
Great policy management software like Xoralia can also use audience targeting to ensure that some documents are only visible to some audiences, and to show the right balance between global and local policies based on a user’s Active Directory profile.
Keeping employees up to date with new policies
A central policy hub also may have features that allow you to alert employees to new policies. Xoralia has a mature employee attestation feature that means employees can confirm they have read, agree and understand a policy, with automated reporting and notifications to drive adoption and show third party regulators your progress.
You need a central policy hub
Managing and disseminating policies can be challenging but a central policy hub goes a long way to overcoming many of the associated challenges. Why not book a demo of Xoralia to see what a central policy hub looks like in action?