Do you have a robust and defensible approach in place for helping your people understand and apply your policies? It’s your job to help them to avoid taking actions or making decisions which contravene your policies, and to do what’s right.
Check your approach
If you’re not sure about your approach, check out what other companies are doing, and identify where you're at on this continuum of practices.
- A line in their employment agreement says that they will abide by company policies
- even if they don't know what, or where they are
- Someone shows them the policy section on the intranet during their first few days
- at least they know where to find them if they want to look at them
- They get given a policy manual (of up to 130 pages) and asked to sign and return the back page, to acknowledge they have read and understood
- they probably didn’t read it, but you can file a signed piece of paper anyway
- HR or managers talk through a few relevant policies during the first few days on the job, using paper or PowerPoint, one-to-one or in a group
- it’s part of the induction checklist, but you’re not sure if it’s always done, or done well
- Employees are given a summarised version of relevant policies to read, with each policy’s purpose, principles and examples, with links to the full policies
- much more absorbable and understandable, if they read all of it
- Employees read the policies and complete the policy quiz (paper-based or online)
- at least someone can tell who does and doesn’t get it (assuming the quiz is valid)
- Employees undertake one or more information-style eLearning modules, then successfully complete an online quiz (from a segmented question pool)
- now you have robust proof of understanding, with automated marking and reporting
- Employees undertake immersive scenario or simulation learning where they must apply the policies correctly to be able to complete
- and now you know they are able effectively apply your policies to do what's right.
Where are you at? The higher your number, the more effective your approach!
Treat them differently
But not every policy needs to be treated equally, and you don’t want all your policies lumped together in one document.
- Some may be Governance policies – generally only senior leadership need to read or refer to these. Don’t overwhelm everybody else when it’s basically irrelevant to them and out of their control.
- Some may be HR policies and practices – leaders of teams need to know these, but most other people just need to be aware of their purpose and where to find them if and when they need to.
- Some may be Conduct policies – these are the ones that everyone needs to understand and act upon. These includes policies around code of conduct, IT Security, privacy, drugs and alcohol, use of company resources, and whatever else is relevant in your context.
So choose the right approach for the type of policy and its actual audience, and reduce the risk of your people saying they “didn’t know”.
If you need a hand, just give us a call on 9 520 5820 and we'll help you identify the right approach for you.