What’s the best way to manage internal policies?

Internal Policy Management is one of those things that can quickly fall to the bottom of a priority list. After all – for the most part, people tend to know how health and safety works, right? However, ‘policy management’ is no longer just a few documents relating to fire risks in the building. With more staff working remotely and across disparate locations (and even countries) it’s more important than ever that everyone’s on the same page.

HR policies that cover things like sickness, holiday, training and on-boarding/off-boarding procedures need to be easily accessible. Not just for staff to be able to find, but such policies should be readily available (searchable) for when they need updating. The last thing your intranet needs is five versions of the same document – nobody’s going to want to read that!

What is a typical policy?

Policies are usually published documents available to a workforce within an organisation. They outline the culture and rules a company adopts and focus on any number of things. Typical examples are:

  • Annual leave & sickness
  • IT security & data protection
  • Maternity leave
  • Smoking
  • Dress code
  • Whistle-blowing
  • Bullying & harassment
  • Health and safety
  • Social media

Policies such as the previous examples exist to keep a company working in an orderly and understood manner. Secondly, they exist to protect a company from potential vulnerabilities, such as lawsuits or complaints. Policies also outline an organisation’s intentions and long-term goals for its employees. Good Policy Management is crucial for the success of these documents.

From a basic standpoint they should be easily accessible to those who need to see them …but from our experience in content management and digital workplace solutions this really isn’t always the case! Great difficulties lie in how policies can be prescribed and complied with across the organisation.

What’s the best way to deal with policies?

This is something many of our clients ask for our advice on. It really depends on the setup and complexity of your organisation. However, you can drill down to basic document management principles and work from there. Ask yourself the following:

  • Who needs to access these policies?
  • When do they have to access them (i.e. when they’re being on-boarded, or at appraisal time)
  • Who’s in charge of updating the policies? Do different people own different areas?
  • What’s the approval process of publishing a policy?
  • What’s the review procedure of policies?

These are all questions that can apply to intranet documents in general. Policies are different though; everyone needs to be clued in.

Can SharePoint help with Policy Management?

YES!

As with any content management best practice, we recommend SharePoint. It’s out of the box ability to store and share records and documents is ideal for this type of compliance management; and Policy management doesn’t need to be any different if you’re already using SharePoint for your document management. However, there is one clear distinction that you should be aware of:

Out of the box, SharePoint has fantastic functionality when it comes to document management. Audit logs in SharePoint can provide some level of reporting on your stored Documents. This can
soon become bloated with irrelevant information that’s difficult to interpret. This is where we can help. We’ve devised a simple solution to record who has read what (and when they read it) within
SharePoint online.

You can read our guide here on how SharePoint can assist you with Policy Management.