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?