Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Keeley Consulting Group Tips on Creating New Policies

The Keeley Consulting Group recently conducted certain reviews regarding policy development. It turns out that an organization needs to construct a clearly defined and carefully written policy in order to ensure a convivial, encouraging, organized, safe, and unbiased workplace.

Basically, a lot of us don’t like an inconsistent and inconsistently applied policy. They often result in more problems on top of the ones they were designed to solve. However, policies are a vital part of any organization. They define the necessary guidelines for companies to operate properly and influence the behavior of individuals to a specific outcome. 

Please consider the following tips given by The Keeley Consulting Group on how to develop new policies for your organization.

First, see to it that there is a policy on policies. We know that it sounds a little redundant, but it’s necessary to work within a predefined and decided upon framework even if it comes to policy formation. Probably the first and most important step in maturing policies is to make a simple policy on policies that clarifies the organization’s process for creating new policies. This policy should consist of guidance about what situations constitute the need for a new policy, the format that new policies should use, as well as the process that has to be followed for a new policy to be approved. There’s a high possibility that you’ll have a major inconsistency in the outcomes and inconsistency in the creation if you don’t have a process and framework around policy formation. This could also result in poor or difficult enforcement.

Second, identify any overlap with existing policies. You must check thoroughly if the policy you’re planning to create already exists or it parts of it exists in other policies before you create a new policy. If that’s the case, consider revising existing policies instead of creating a new one.

Third, don’t create the policy in a vacuum. The Keeley Consulting Group suggests that policies should be developed with input from those that will be affected by them rather than sitting behind your desk and make policy that you felt were necessary and that were developed wholly on your own. It’s important that all stakeholders be heard to reduce the possibility for accidental consequences, even though the final policy may ultimately not reflect all opinions. Policies must certainly be complete and added opinions can help close any gaps that may exist.

Fourth, step back and think about the need. Please remember that you should create policies when there is a clear need and a clear problem to solve, not just because someone did something you didn’t like. According to The Keeley Consulting Group review, some policies were put into place out of spite and as vengeance, and this kind of activity wouldn’t happen in a sensible organization. It won’t also happen in a firm that has a strict policy on policies, as the policy will often go through multiple levels for approval.

Fifth, make use of the right words so there will be no misunderstandings. Make sure that you’ll use simple and specific terminology because policies should be easily understood to be effective. We provided below some important pointers:

- Use the words “must” or “will” instead of “should” in the body of the policy. If something is optional, use the word “should” but not when it’s a requirement.
- Use a department, office, unit, or job title rather than an individual’s name.
- Contact emails need to be a general department address or a web page that gives additional contact information. Please avoid using an individual’s email address in order to avoid the policy from needing updates when personnel changes happen.
- Don’t underline subheadings or words that need to be stressed in a sentence. Instead, set subheadings in bold or italics if a word has to be stressed. If the policy is posted online, underlined words could be mistaken for hyperlinks.

Sixth, include an exceptions process whenever possible. In most cases, there is an exception for every rule. It’s much easier to identify how an exceptions process is to operate in advance before the policy is implemented. Please be aware that exceptions have to be granted in a manner that is just and reasonable. The entire policy might be called into question if you were careless with the exceptions process.

Seventh, allow some shades of gray. The Keeley Consulting Group believes that some policies have to leave a little ambiguity for people to create decisions. It’s okay if your policy leaves a little bit of gray so that an individual can make an on-the-fly decision.

Eighth, define policy maintenance responsibility. Most policies require regular review to ensure their continued applicability. Make sure that you always identify the office that is responsible for the policy because someone needs to be able to provide clarifying information when questions are raised about the policy. Do not identify individuals since they come and go.

Lastly, set up a policy library with versioning. Nowadays, there are several tools that enable you to store different versions of documents. All employees should be able to access all appropriate policies all the time. Versioning may also help individuals to see the history of the policy to track what has changed over the years.

If you have further question about this matter, please visit this link for additional information provided by The Keeley Consulting Group.