In every organization, policies represent one of the key tools for getting things done effectively, efficiently, and consistently. If your company’s anything like mine, you have policies on everything from the day-to-day necessities of managing the workforce to vital issues related to human resources, technology, and security. Policies are how you create and communicate expected standards of behavior and ways of doing business across the organization.
To cite a few examples:
Want to make day-to-day operations easier for employees and help workers in under-resourced departments effectively manage and understand corporate policies? Download our policy on policies template.
Policies provide employees and stakeholders with clarity and guidance about how your organization wants to conduct its business. They codify values and culture in tangible ways that reinforce positive behaviors and, in turn, help you build a strong brand reputation.
Good policies also help you mitigate risk and demonstrate compliance. A policy on bribery and corruption, for example, not only establishes your company’s stance on ethical business but also lays the foundation for establishing procedures that help employees comply with related laws and regulations.
Policies function as guardrails to keep employees and suppliers on the right path. And they’re particularly important in today’s global marketplace, with regulation coming from many jurisdictions and directed at many aspects of how organizations work: data privacy, whistleblowing, anti-corruption, and corporate transparency, to name a few.
As regulatory burdens increase and rules and guidelines proliferate across a company, managing policies has become increasingly more challenging.
Historically, corporate policies have been established by individual departments or functions that create, deploy, update, and enforce them — a situation that can lead to interdepartmental inconsistencies and conflicts (HR says one thing and legal says another). Adding complexity to the policy landscape is the fact that some policies focus on best practices while others are mandated by law. And, of course, policies must reflect the laws and regulations of multiple jurisdictions.
To ensure compliance — and success — in this new reality, organizations need a new approach to managing policies. Forward-thinking companies should consider a framework for policy governance — a global, enterprise-wide strategy for the creation and management of policies that are consistent, continuously monitored for compliance, and easily adjusted to the requirements of a changing world. You might think of policy governance as a “policy on policies.”
When you create an intentional and organized policy governance framework, one backed by technological solutions that make it easier to ensure acceptance and compliance, your organization will be more effective and efficient at creating and managing policies. And that can lead to improved compliance and lower risk.
Here are five best practices for an effective policy governance framework:
Good policy governance helps your company mitigate the risk of penalties, fines, legal actions, and reputation damage. But above all, good policies — particularly those surrounding best practices and good corporate citizenship — are good business. Companies that behave ethically tend to outperform the competition.
Policy governance — a policy on policies — gives you an opportunity to think through and rationalize your existing policy process. And technology solutions can make enterprise policy management and compliance more scalable and automated. Ultimately, a robust policy governance framework is about making day-to-day operations easier for employees, helping workers in under-resourced departments to more effectively manage and understand corporate policies.
You can learn more about the power and importance of policy governance by downloading our policy on policies template.