Policies are designed to layout processes for the organization and its employees to best achieve goals while maintaining regulatory compliance. They can greatly improve business operations in many areas, however, can be counterproductive or even dangerous to the organization when rogue and not managed correctly. Effective policy management, on the other hand, can bolster the organizations compliance efforts and overall operations in many key areas, and can define the internal and external dynamics of an organization and how they interact with one another. Policies can establish an organization’s values and ethics which define the culture and reputation of an organization.
They can outline the processes and practices involved in mitigating risk exposure and are also essential for ensuring that the entire organization is following regulatory guidelines and compliance standards. Policies can state the day-to-day processes being followed to meet obligations while offering efficient record keeping for any potential reporting requirements or the auditing process. These policies can also then define exactly how employees should respond given the event that an incident was to occur. Effectively communicating and training employees on risk management policies and processes are essential to the longevity of any organization.
Building Your Framework for Future Success
Written standards of conduct and procedures can help organizations in creating a clearer picture to the public and regulatory bodies of their values and principles and this can often play a key role in building a reputation and helping the organization find success. Policies are meant to help protect consumers, but over all else, they protect the organization and help it reach its goals. That’s why it is so important to implement policies, monitor them, keep them up to date, and ensure their continued effectiveness.
With an effective and efficient policy management program in place, organizations can be proactive instead of reactive to compliance issues that may arise, and keep them contained before they turn into a more serious issue. New regulations and updates are coming, and they are coming quick. The whole point of policy management is to document standards of behavior, so employees and stakeholders know how they’re expected to conduct themselves with each passing incident and new regulation – helping the organization remain compliant and stay on top of emerging risks.
Policies are not effective on their own, however, and they require effective and efficient management. Policies can be a beneficial tool for organizations but if they are managed incorrectly companies can often find themselves facing a plethora of challenges. Some challenges organizations face regarding policy management are listed below:
- Developing a policy on writing and developing policies. Organizations often find themselves writing policies to combat various challenges, however, are unable to effectively create, manage, and distribute these policies. Many organizations have used several portals for communication while having a reluctance to establish a policy creation process. This can lead to employees struggling to find necessary policies as while as an increased emergence of rogue policies. Organizations should consider limiting their policy management process to using a single portal in addition to creating a policy defining how policies should be created. This may seem redundant but if all policies are created with a specific format and writing style they will be communicated more effectively while limiting the potential for rogue policies.
- Training and communication. Releasing a policy does not mean that the relevant employees understand and are capable of complying. Effective training must be implemented allowing for employees to fully understand the use of the policy and how to follow its processes. Organizations have devised numerous strategies as to how to go about doing this, some notable ones include training platforms and consistent testing. Policies are an effective tool but ensuring that continuous remain effective requires constant maintenance. Policies can be tied to specific events or concepts, and these can change rather quickly. Organizations must ensure that they are constantly revising and retiring policies to ensure that their policies do not become outdated.
- Maintenance and keeping pace with change. Business is rapidly evolving, and more products and services are distributed. But keeping pace with this constant change is difficult as it requires a high volume of data and information to be analyzed and vulnerabilities to be addressed in a satisfactory manner when a new threat emerges. This fast-paced environment means that policy makers and compliance teams alike must continually address issues at the micro level, which in turn leads to a slew of new policy decisions.
Effective policy management can be a challenging task for organizations of all sizes, but policies are a significant asset to organizations when implemented and developed properly. They shape how organizations operates and help set up critical standards of code of conduct, procedures, and behavior for employees and stakeholders. More importantly, however, they show regulators that the organization is taking compliance seriously and has made it an integral part of the fabric of the organization. They must be kept up to date and help promote accountability, make compliance easier, and boost employee engagement across the business.
Considering policy management is a large part of managing governance, risk, and compliance, a GRC solution can help integrate and automate an organization’s policy management processes into an information and technology architecture. Adopting an information and technology architecture within your policy management and GRC processes can allow organizations to manage all the necessary documentation and requirements in a transparent and collaborative way.
It is essential for organizations to develop an integrated, agile, and collaborative compliance program and framework like VComply – built on a common information architecture and framework. VComply’s system and compliance architecture allows for compliance, risk management and assessment activities to be coordinated across different departments and functions of the organization, assisting the organization in breaking silos and making more informed business-decisions.