How to Write Effective Policies- Values, Process, and Prevention

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In this presentation we identify and illustrate the key elements of planning, writing and bullet-proofing organizational policies and procedures. …

In this presentation we identify and illustrate the key elements of planning, writing and bullet-proofing organizational policies and procedures.

We cover:
Does it matter? The why’s and what’s of policies and procedures.
Building company values into policies and procedures
Legal and ethical costs of bad policy.
Down to pen, ink and sweat: Policy-writing and research considerations.
Prevention: How to prevent against litigation threats.
Computerizing the process: What to look for in automating policy & procedure management.

More in: Business , Technology
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  • 1. CLIENT CONFERENCEJay Rush, Contracts & Legal Compliance ManagerHow to Write Effective Policies:Values, Process and PreventionCLIENT CONFERENCE
  • 2. CLIENT CONFERENCEBackground and OverviewSpeaker BioWhat You Will Learn
  • 3. CLIENT CONFERENCEPresenter BioJay R. Rush, J.D., CCEPManager of contracts and legal affairs forPolicyTech product line• Oversees contracts,compliance/regulation andintellectual property• Former government andcorporate lawyer• University professor andmanagement consultant
  • 4. CLIENT CONFERENCESession overview: Policies that work Does it matter? Why’s and what’s of policies and procedures Building in company values: Improving morale and discipline Legal and ethical co$ts of bad policies: courts and regulators are watching! Down to pen, ink and sweat: Policy-writing and research considerations Prevention: How to bullet-proof policies against litigation threats Digital policies: Automating policy and procedure management
  • 5. CLIENT CONFERENCEThe differences between policiesand proceduresDo these difference matter?Introduction
  • 6. CLIENT CONFERENCEPolicy & Procedures = Values & RoadmapsAn organization’s valuestatements are maps or compassheadings that guide policycreation in a specific direction.Procedures are the roads andtraffic signals that get youefficiently to that destination.
  • 7. CLIENT CONFERENCEWhat is a Policy? Documented, broad-ranging guidelines that:o Reflect values, plans and operational guidelineso Support basic organizational internal/external functions The ‘who, what, why’ of your organization:o Prudent principles for administering long-term objectiveso Organizational strategies, tactics and management plans.
  • 8. CLIENT CONFERENCE Fixed steps or sequence of activities that are:o The start & end points for a course of action; the order of, or steps, to correctlyperform a tasko Continual, regular succession of actions The “how” & “when” of your organization:o A sustained course or series of operationso Tactics, measures, steps, techniques or plansWhat is a Procedure?
  • 9. CLIENT CONFERENCEAnd the Difference is …Policy: Guidelines, Standards Procedure: Methods, StepsWho, what, why? How, when?Rules, mission and values Instructions, processesDirection, setting criteria Implementation guidelinesBroad, imprecise, visionary, ideal state Precise, specific, measurableStatement of the goal; results How actions, warnings
  • 10. CLIENT CONFERENCEDoes the Difference Matter?It does to the guywith the wrench.
  • 11. CLIENT CONFERENCEOrganizational ValuesQuality GuidelinesStrategic vs. TacticalPolicies and Procedures at Work
  • 12. CLIENT CONFERENCEPolicies and Procedures Involve Values at Work How do employees know what you stand for? Values! Do the firm’s values translate into policy and procedure & dailyactions?o Value: “We want to be a humane, worker-friendly organization.”• Q: Does XYZ Organization have sick leave?• A: NO. We expect employees to be at work daily. So, what is the value transmitted by NO policy?o “We say we’re worker-friendly, but everyone knows we aren’t.” Policies & procedures demonstrate your values in action
  • 13. CLIENT CONFERENCEPolicies and Procedures are Strategic and TacticalSTRATEGY: plan of action or goalTACTIC: device to accomplish the goalGood policies and procedures integrate organizational strategy, anddemonstrate tactics in your business processes: Provide decision-making parameters Define employee roles & responsibilities Promote understanding & hands-free operations“Let’s move the piece this wayso that we can get here.”
  • 14. CLIENT CONFERENCERHADoctors HospitalCases
  • 15. CLIENT CONFERENCECase: The Lost Checks Regional Health Alliance fires an accounts receivable clerk for mishandlingchecks Clerk sues RHA for wrongful discharge, job discrimination: $200k actual,$1.2 mil punitive.o Claims: Gender discrimination; poor accounting policies and procedures; manager didn’tfollow discharge procedure That’s $1.4 million of RHA profits!
  • 16. CLIENT CONFERENCEIf You Were on that Jury? Facts: Her manager gave her a recent, good appraisal She was fired without an exit interview or appeal RHA’s employee manual was pre-written policy and procedure EEO notices not posted at RHA Yes, clerk was sloppy in accounting for checks But, RHA had poor accounting policies and procedures overall
  • 17. CLIENT CONFERENCEAre There Any Defenses? The U.S. Supreme Court says: You can limit liability for employeediscrimination & harassment lawsuits if you:o Have reasonable preventive measures in placeo Couple good faith actions w/policy & compliance steps (*This limits damages tosupervisor’s bad faith actions.) Have good policies and procedures, publicize them, train managers andothers on them = you may defeat some lawsuits
  • 18. CLIENT CONFERENCECase: The Anesthetized Manager A female RN at Doctors Hospital complained of sexual harassmentby a male RN during their work hourso Her supervisors said, ‘file a complaint’o She was afraid to, and so they did nothing about it Six months later, she was fired for alleged treatment and decisionmistakes, without warning or chance for appeal She got $1 million jury verdict for harassment and retaliatory firing
  • 19. CLIENT CONFERENCELessons Learned Create clear, fair and consistent policies Post them, inform and train people on them Apply them consistently and objectively to all Investigate employees’ concernso Managers must do their jobs: listen to complaints, investigate all sides,seek timely resolutiono Provide an anonymous way to report for employees who feel uncomfortable Leave clear paper trail; give complaining workers due process and a fairhearing within the organization
  • 20. CLIENT CONFERENCEMore Painful Lessons Most litigation is avoidable, provided you make wise decisions Courts are unimpressed by bad policies and procedures andby poor training Poor application and training hurts finances and reputations Professional resources can help with law, strategy and creation ofpolicies and procedurespreventioncure
  • 21. CLIENT CONFERENCEThe Lighter Side …
  • 22. CLIENT CONFERENCEFactors in Writing PoliciesTips for Writing Good PoliciesTip SheetsObservations and Answers
  • 23. CLIENT CONFERENCEFear Factors in Writing Policies and Procedures Fear of Failure: Looking stupid, being humiliatedo Solution = learn from mistakes, admit imperfection Fear of Success: Responsibility, others’ jealousy , also fear of mediocrity –failed perfectionists?o Solution = Do what you’re good at; celebrate your talents Fear of Rejection: never being good enough, and fear of taking risks: is itworse to be hostage to fears?o Solution = some will like it, some won’t; suck it up -- try anyway
  • 24. CLIENT CONFERENCEFour Tips for Writing Good Policies and Procedures1) Planning [ConteXt] 2) Analysis [ConteXt]• Tasks, teams, time• Set realistic goals• “Murphy was an optimist”• What/why/who requested policy?• Politics, urgency, users, parties• Conditions, up-dates, functions3) Research [ConteNt] 4) Prewriting [ConteNt]• Complexify 1st, simplify 2nd• Talk to others:experts, stakeholders• Read: files, memos, reports, books• Data-crunch, map, outline• Organize content for logic• Sticky note flow chartXs & Ns
  • 25. CLIENT CONFERENCEPlanning Tip Sheet - XHow to plan & monitor progress for policy writing:1. Break into phases, steps, tasks2. Who’s responsible; how much time needed?3. What could derail schedule; what’s the back-up?4. Be flexible; use task list or charts5. Discuss timeline w/ project requester6. Set realistic writing goals
  • 26. CLIENT CONFERENCE How to identify decision & choice factors: Ask questions about, and list relevant factorso What? Reasons for policy, desired results, sensitivities, legalities, urgency, complexity,conditions, time frames, audience, resources, formats, surprises? Brainstorm with self, requester, others – write it down;o Ask what’s missing?o What are the weaknesses/needs?Analysis Tip Sheet - X
  • 27. CLIENT CONFERENCEResearch Tip Sheet - N How? Interviews, conversations, staff meetingso Read & study topic, stay disciplined, start with the hardest things Who / Where? Content experts, users, approvers, files & past policies,similar organizations, data-bases What? Issues, cost factors, standards, laws, operations, competition,practical factors, legislation / legal sources1st – Complexify = look for difficulties2nd – Simplify = basic needsSimplify
  • 28. CLIENT CONFERENCEPre-writing Tip Sheet - NHow to organize content clearly and logically:1. Mind-map, random lists, then review noteso Eliminate unnecessary, add missing detail2. Review policies and procedures with others for additionso Organize related ideas, placing in logical ordero Create key word or sentence outline; use play-script3. Use forms, format, issues, audience, impactful ideas
  • 29. CLIENT CONFERENCEA Policy-Writing & Morale ProblemYour supervisor sends you the following memo: “We are having a problem managing ______. Please do a quickieprocedure to handle it.”What problem do you see with the quickie approach? Howshould you respond?Does this request say anything about corporate values or aboutattitudes toward policies and procedures (or policy writers)?
  • 30. CLIENT CONFERENCEThe Lighter Side …There is nothinghard about writing.“You just sit with your handspoised over the keyboard andwait until drops of bloodappear on your forehead!”
  • 31. CLIENT CONFERENCELearn to Spot ProblemsTo-Do’sDangers of Canned Policiesand ProceduresLet Your Professionals HelpBulletproofing Your Policies & Procedures
  • 32. CLIENT CONFERENCELearn to Spot Policy and Procedure Problems Are we ignoring organizational values in writing policies and procedures?o Going through the motions; delegating to lowest corporate rung Do our policies and procedures barely meet the lowest commondenominator?o Are we just at the minimum of the practical regulatory considerations?• Consider doing more to weave values and goals into policies and procedures• Gov’t. harassment guidelines are minimums, not protections or guaranteesagainst being sued
  • 33. CLIENT CONFERENCESpotting More Policy Issues Are policies and procedures window-dressing, and everyone knows it?o “It doesn’t affect my bottom line” Are policies and procedures being applied inconsistently and subjectively?o Favoritism, bias and circumstantial decisionso Haphazard distribution; training inadequate on policies and procedures Is there poor managerial/corporate due diligence?o Deadwood policies and procedures; few or no revisions; tardy approvalso No reading or comprehension of new policies and procedures by employees
  • 34. CLIENT CONFERENCETo-Do’s: Bulletproofing Policies and Procedures Make sure you create effective & lawful policieso Organization/human relations values, no boilerplate forms Champion the benefits of good policy-writingo Boldly influence leaders to seek out best practices. Consistently follow and fairly apply policieso No excuse for sloppy, ill-informed actions Train managers in solid technical & human relationso Teach what harassment & discrimination look like Problems: never let sleeping dogs lieo They may lie quietly, but their harmful potential isn’t restful
  • 35. CLIENT CONFERENCETo-Do’s: Bulletproofing Policies and Procedures Learn how to use professional advisorso Temper advice with company’s values Make necessary revisions and deletionso Clean-up, delete, track ongoing policy changes Use a reliable system for policy creationo Computerized, flexible, conserves resources Avoid costly hiring/firing errorso Hire best candidates, follow good procedures
  • 36. CLIENT CONFERENCEDanger of Canned Policies and Procedures Many vendors sell canned policies and procedures, manualso What’s your view on the value of using them?o Good starting point, or red herring? How about canned advice on what never to do with policiesand procedures?o Never require approval for overtime (Workflow controls)o Never treat medical conditions differently (Logical differences)o Never require notice prior to an employee quitting; ($$ lost)o Never prohibit discussion of compensation (confidentiality) Take opinions with a grain of salt; consider the law & your own needs
  • 37. CLIENT CONFERENCELet Your Professionals Help Be prepared w/good questionsand issues Write memos, presentbest information Follow through on your assignments Use your advisors’ network of contacts Talk candidly about fees and billings Use attorney/CPA time wisely; it’san hourly rate Be aware of their deadlines andother demands Keep them informed aboutyour business Practice preventive ANDdefensive tactics
  • 38. CLIENT CONFERENCECritical QuestionsCommon CategoriesPolicy and ProcedureManagement SoftwareSourcesWhere To Go From Here
  • 39. CLIENT CONFERENCECritical Questions for the Policy and Procedure Staff Are there policy and procedure issues needing your attention now?o In your department, division, organization? What are the greatest areas of risk?o Employment processes, grievances, benefits? What are the most timely, specific or troublesome problems?o Use common sense, but be bold about speaking up Who should be consulted? What resources are there?o Identify your sponsors and advocates; grow grassroots
  • 40. CLIENT CONFERENCEMore Questions What policy area will most benefit you to work on?o List 2 or 3 policy issues to work on immediately! Are there training issues for creating good policy?o Encourage training for policy analysts/HR people Is training needed for those who implement policy?o Do supervisors & others know it’s encouraged, available? Choose ONE timely policy project can you start now?o Don’t procrastinate!
  • 41. CLIENT CONFERENCECommon Policy and Procedure Categories Personnel/HR processeso Attendance and leave policyo Hiring, discipline & dismissalo Wage & hour lawso Union/labor relations Financial processeso Monitoring/auditingo Tax withholding Legal & regulatory P&P Operational controlso Quality processes Compliance & ethicso Corporate oversight Fair sales & marketing Administrative rules &reporting requirements Accreditation standards DRP & BCP processes Telephone etiquette
  • 42. CLIENT CONFERENCENow That You’ve Heard This Presentation …
  • 43. CLIENT CONFERENCEWhat’s Good in Policy and Procedure Software It must be easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn Must use common word processing software Must have categories and departments Must control access, roles & responsibilities Must track history of creation, review, approval,archives, and prompt for revisions Be web-based, easy to link with, import into
  • 44. CLIENT CONFERENCEChoosing Software: Be Aware of Good Policy Life Cycle
  • 45. CLIENT CONFERENCEUsing NAVEX Global’s PolicyTech Helps with organizing, writing, approving and publishing ofpolicies and procedureso PolicyTech tracks, up-dates, revises, archives or deletes policieso Invites management buy-in & testing policy comprehensiono Uses templates, creation wizard & report features to save time• PolicyTech can create a report card on pending, obsolete and revision-worthypolicy? Even by departments, etc.?
  • 46. CLIENT CONFERENCESources Writing Effective Policies & Procedures,Nancy Campbell, AMACOM (1998). Establishing a System of PnP, S.B. Page (2002) Best Practices in PnP, S.B. Page (2002) How to Write Policies, Procedures & Task Outlines, L. Peabody (3rd ed.)(2006) Commercially Prepared PnP materials (look carefully):o Pre-written Policies: http://www.bizmanualz.com/o Employee Handbook Company Policy Manualo Downloadable | Employee Handbook | $19.95
  • 47. CLIENT CONFERENCEContacts:info@navexglobal.comQuestions and Answers