A lady holding an orange speech bubble to communicate policies and procedures

How to communicate new policies and procedures

When you have a large workforce, communicating policies and procedures and making sure that staff are aware and understand them can be hard work. Below are key steps you need to carry out to make sure that your new policies and procedures are effectively communicated:

How to communicate new policies and procedures

1. Discuss the update before you implement the update

Don’t just publish a new policy or procedure and then tell your employees. You need to let employees know before it happens. Discuss with them why it’s important, who it will impact and why it is going to be created in the first place. You can do this in a news bulletin update, an email or a quick 5 minute meeting.

2. Give staff a voice

Find out any concerns which staff may have about the new policies or procedures. You need to make sure everyone is heard to ensure that everyone is happy along the way, otherwise, your new policy or procedure will not receive a warm welcome. Ask your staff for ideas and feedback when you communicate the policies and procedures to them. Create a suggestion box or a place online where staff can input their suggestions to improve the new update.

3. Put their ideas into action and trial the new policies or procedures out

In order to fully engage your staff you need to make sure you take their ideas on board. Incorporate them into your new policy and procedure updates. If they are happy with you announcing their name, send out a comms article explaining that you have amended the policy or procedure and the person who made a valid contribution that has helped you improve it. This will show your staff that you do value their opinion, making them feel more involved. During the trial, it gives your staff a chance to provide more feedback for you to improve the policy or procedure. For example, there may be logistical reasons as to why a certain step in the procedure couldn’t be carried out which you didn’t notice before.

4. Phase one of the communication strategy is a news update

When you have the final policy or procedure in place, send out a company update. This should tell your staff what the policy or procedure is, why you implemented it, what problems it will solve and why it is crucial to carry out. Do this by email or internal comms software. Once you have done this it’s vital that you also communicate these points face to face to your employees. This will embed their importance and ensure that everyone is aware.

5. Phase two of the communication strategy – the acknowledgement of the policy or procedure

You need to send the update out and make sure that it is read. You can do this by getting employees to reply to your email but of course, that is going to be a nightmare if you have thousands of employees. It is possible to get each employee to tell you so you can check their name off of a list. The only problem with that is that employees could say that they have read it when they haven’t even looked at it. Use a policy and procedure management software platform such as Oplift. When you have an article that staff must read the acknowledgements feature on the app allows you to receive confirmation. You will know when staff have read certain articles and you can send alerts to anyone who hasn’t acknowledged them.

6. Phase three of the communication strategy – bite-sized training of the policy or procedure

Now we’re not talking about a 45-minute long course for your employees to learn about the new policy or procedure. Create microlearning questions and tasks which staff can take five minutes out of their day to complete. Push these out daily in the first week of your policy or procedure update. This will help embed knowledge and make sure that staff don’t forget about the update. With Oplift you can really quickly transform any policy or procedure article into a quick set of microlearning questions. The learning platform repeats questions which staff have answered incorrectly until they get them right. This reinforces knowledge through repetition.

7. Phase four of the communication strategy – get employees to re-acknowledge the policy or procedure

Depending on the depth and complexity of your policy or procedure you may need staff to re-acknowledge the update after a few months or so. This will keep it fresh in their mind and remind them to incorporate the update in their daily routine. Do this by repeating the steps which we mentioned in phase two or use a compliance management system such as Oplift. Oplift’s policy manager allows you to set re-acknowledgements in certain time frames. These can be weekly, monthly or yearly.

8. Phase five of the communication strategy – make the policy easily accessible

There is no point having the policy or procedure on a piece of paper locked away in a file which no one ever accesses. Make the document mobile friendly so that employees can access it whenever they want to. Print it out and laminate it and place it in popular communal areas. Use a digital knowledgebase where you can upload it and staff can quickly search for it whenever they need it. If you use one like Oplift you can view how many times the article has been opened, allowing you to know if it is really being used by your staff.

If you are looking for compliance management software which will ensure your policies and procedures are always adhered to. Get in touch and discover Oplift. Currently used by Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile Ireland to keep their compliance management under control.

Woman photo created by freepik

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 2nd July 2019