Policy management is an important piece of a holistic, compliant GRC program.
But, as Compliance Week reports, a multi-industry benchmark survey found that many businesses are falling short when it comes to adopting policy management practices that meet regulatory requirements and prepare for internal and external audits.
The survey revealed that a majority of organizations (65%) are operating “reactive” or “basic” policy management programs (as opposed to maturing or advanced).
Reactive programs rely on manual processes for even the most basic tasks, resulting in no audit trails, version control, or consistent metrics to gauge program effectiveness. More advanced policy management frameworks are proactive, leveraging software solutions to automate processes and organize a centralized policy and document library for easy storage and access.
Organizations need to overcome a number of challenges to move beyond basic to a consistent, efficient policy management process. Let’s look at several of the most common problems:
Asked to name their top policy management challenges, survey respondents frequently mentioned the areas of creating and updating documents, policy access, and employee training.
Many organizations rely on word processors or spreadsheets to create and update documents. Policies may be spread across multiple staff members’ computers and not accessible in one centralized location. This increases the risk of redundancy, inaccuracy, and even policy violations, since employees lack access to the most up-to-date policies. Plus, tracking down documents when it’s time to revise them becomes a time-consuming hassle.
1) Use a single system to create, upload, and store policies
2) Automate review and approval processes
Create policies from scratch using an in-software editor tool with version control, or upload existing policies into the system. Save time searching for policies by storing all documents in a digital file library, where they can be easily located for retrieval or revising.
Leverage automated workflows to manage document creation, review, and approval processes. Customize the review and approval lifecycle for each document, keeping the appropriate stakeholders in the loop with automatic task management and reminders.
Distributing organizational policies via email — or worse, handing out printed documents — means many staff members will never read them. Plus, tracking and auditing attestation results using these methods becomes next to impossible.
To improve policy awareness and compliance, employees need an easy way to access, read, and attest to the policies that are applicable to them.
1) Centralize policies and other documents in a digital file library
2) Provide employees with self-service access
Consolidate policy and document storage in a centralized, searchable digital file library. Employees receive personalized access to this repository based on their business unit / department, job function, or other parameters to ensure that staff members see the policies that are relevant to them. Employees can receive email alerts when new or updated policies are available, accessing them in their personal portal using the in-software document viewer.
Employees need to be aware of and understand policies if they’re going to follow them. Manual policy management practices not only make tracking attestations difficult, but also offer no way to verify whether staff members have read and understood the policies that are most relevant to their department or job function.
1) Employee training management
2) Employee knowledge testing
3) Increase access to relevant policies
Increase awareness of relevant policies with in-software training management and testing functionality to verify employees’ knowledge of policy content.
Staff members can access their own personalized portal to view policies and other important documents, complete attestations, and request exceptions or recertifications. Configurable reports allow managers to keep a record of policy acceptance and comprehension for compliance documentation.
You don’t have to resort to time-consuming manual processes or tools that were created for other purposes to manage organizational policies and other important documents.
Quantivate’s policy management software is a complete solution for policy creation, management, and distribution. It gives you the tools you need to create a consistent policy management process throughout your organization.
You can upload existing policies or use convenient in-software document creation tools, defining and tracking the policy lifecycle with flexible workflows and customizable dashboards. Plus, improve policy access and awareness with a centralized document repository, employee self-service portals, and built-in testing and training tools.