Policy management requires considerable attention to detail. No sooner have you confirmed compliance to current local, state and federal regulations, industry best practices, and trade association guidelines, than one or more of those components will change prompting an updated or completely re-written policy. To ensure that there is no confusion over the priority of the new policy, your experienced policies and procedures coordinator will take steps to ensure that all copies of the old policy are deleted. However, if your policy management processes continue to struggle with authorship verification and version control, this is usually where you encounter your personal zombie apocalypse.
“Zombie” copies of policies and procedures
Just when you think you’ve deleted all of the old copies, you find another one on another shared or local drive. You have no idea if it is an old draft, a final version, who modified it last or when, or how they were able to modify it to begin with, but for some reason, this policy just refuses to die. Whether these zombie policies haunt you like The Walking Dead or attack you like World War Z, a lack of basic version control can turn the simplest policy update into an extended nightmare of multiple drive searches and confirmation requests to ensure that all traces of an old policy have been safely removed before the new one can be formally adopted.
Defeating zombie policies shouldn’t depend on perseverance or dogged persistence. The solution lies in recognizing that a centralized policy management system will create an environment to manage a policy lifecycle that will be closely monitored at every stage and that the latest copy of a specific policy or procedure is available to employees:
- Creation – the responsibility and authority to create, review, revise and approve policies.
- Distribution – once approved, where is the policy distributed, and to whom?
- Employee Training and Acknowledgment – those employees who need to be trained on the policy, with signed confirmation from all participants that the training was completed.
Policy creation, review, revision, approval, training, and acknowledgment that the policy is in place, demands a level of communication and control over personnel and data that cannot be short-changed if your organization is to achieve compliance. Every business is a hive of activity as personnel strive to meet and exceed the expectations of their customers, peers, and supervisors. In this context, loss of version control can occur even with the best intentions. Sending someone a copy rather than directing him or her to an access-controlled portal creates a copy that may never be found until someone makes a non-compliant decision based on that now out-of-date policy in the future. The zombie policy has been created with the click of a mouse.
Bringing the entire policy lifecycle under one access-controlled comprehensive solution enables you to closely manage each policy from creation through final deletion and replacement. By using one platform, with one secure portal and a robust template built on industry best practices, draft versions can be controlled, only officially approved versions get distributed, and you can keep track of precisely where they go, so that when that inevitable revision or replacement request comes along, the old policy will stay well and truly deleted.
Employees always know where to go when it comes to finding the latest policies and procedures.
If you’re tired of chasing zombie policies, we have a comprehensive sharepoint policy management software solution that can be scaled to your specific needs. Schedule your no-obligation demo now or download the whitepaper.
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