The Network GRC Blog
Why Policy Communication Matters
November 07 2012
John Peltier, Product Manager, The Network
The Network recently participated in a collaborative effort with the Open Compliance and Ethics Group to create the “Policy Management Illustrated” series, a set of illustrations that communicates industry best practice around the topic of policy management. As part of that series, we recently participated in a Webinar related to Illustration #4, Policy and Communication. This topic was discussed as part of the webinar. In this blog and ones to follow, I’ll highlight some of the key ideas they were presented. First up: How training applies to policies.
Policy management (and policy and procedures software) has come a long way. Once, organizations felt safe and secure if they simply had created a policy and made it available to their workforce, via paper, email or shared drive. Companies worried more about the content of policies and the areas of the business affected by the policies. They had to know WHAT needed to be controlled first and foremost, and rightly so. But if employees don’t understand the policy, how can they be expected to follow it? That’s why policy communication and training are critical.
Just as the corporate enterprise has evolved, so has policy management software, and now the focus is as much as HOW the policies are communicated as what is communicated. And organizations are realizing that it is the relationship they have and want with their workforce that is driving this focus on policy communication and training. Your workforce is both your greatest asset for compliance as well as the biggest area of risk. We’ve seen the focus of policy management shift away from content and more toward making sure your employees are engaged in the process, so that they really understand your policies and how policy affects their day-to-day activities. Just having the policy “on the books” isn’t going to protect your organization if your employees don’t get it.
During our recent webinar with OCEG regarding policy communication, we asked attendees about those things that had prompted them to take a closer look at policy training. More than half of the respondents said that the need for better performance was motivating these initiatives. These organizations sought “greater operational consistency and integrity across the business.”
Policy communication starts with your most fundamental policy: your code of conduct. Get that right, and the rest of your policy content and process has a better than average chance of success. We treat the codes of conduct we have created as the most basic and overarching policy you can have. We focus on how employees consume policies, with embedded training and multimedia components, to build this employee engagement. When you look at your policy initiatives in that way, you build a level of defensibility and have a much better chance of preventing issues in the first place.
Next time, we’ll look at ways to effectively get your policy points across to your workforce.
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