For those who may be doing this for the first time, the implementation of a brand new electronic system designed to manage policies and procedures can seem intimidating. The difficulty can also affect those who are transitioning to a brand new system. Of course, there are ways to make the transition less intimidating and less frustrating. Here are some ways to prepare for the transition that will make everything easier:
Establish a committee. Gathering a policy and procedures committee made up of key personnel who are interested in creating and implementing a fully functional system is a big advantage. By making sure the committee is made up of key decision-makers, as well as other personnel, it will be possible to move the system in a direction that will serve the organization as a whole. It will make the transition easier by making sure the right people have input with the new system and it will help ensure that key decisions are made in a timely manner.
Properly install and set up all of the key tech in the system. Procuring the right hardware and making sure it is properly installed is very important, as will be consideration of other relevant technical considerations. Make sure your system is built to store large files securely and that they can be moved securely, as well. To have a robust policy management system, you have to make sure the hardware and software can handle it all. That means network bandwidth and memory are allocated in a way that not only can handle current needs, but future needs, too. Security is also a major consideration, which means making sure hacking is as hard as possible during the planning and preparation process. You will also want to integrate the new system with the organization’s network so that user management and permissions can be handled network-wide.
Prepare the actual policies and procedure documents. This is typically the most time-intensive step in the process, but it may also be the most important, so you should start this very early on. The first step is to gather the documents in folders resembling the structure that will eventually be used in the new management system and making sure everything is clearly marked. Create file names that reflect the content in the policy and procedures documents. Make sure all formatting has been applied uniformly throughout all documents in the system. The idea is to make sure no further editing will be necessary when you migrate the documents into the new system.
Import the initial set of policies. This should be one of the last things you do before the new system goes live. First, import the published policies and procedures into the system. Then, configure the policies in a way that determines who will be the main participants in the approval process and set up the key policy parameters, such as the frequency of policy audits and reviews.
Implement comprehensive system training. This should also be one of the last things you do before the system goes live. Don’t conduct the training too soon, since users and instructors have to know how the system works, as-is. It’s best to only train after most of the policies have been properly prepared and in the system. It is also a good idea that all members of the Policy and Procedures Committee and several members of the administration attend the training, whether or not they will use the system themselves. Training should include exposure to all aspects of the system in a way that educates users on how to use the system, but also explains how the organization plans to use the system.
With a complete level of preparation, the implementation of an easy-to-use system for policy and procedure management does not have to be an intimidating proposition. Select your system vendor carefully and follow these steps and it can be a much easier and less stressful experience.