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Make written policies come alive

by on
in HR Management,Human Resources

Your written policies make sense to you. They seem reasonable and easy to follow. So why does your team ignore them?

If you want employees to honor your organizational policies, hold them accountable for follow-through. Reinforce the importance of the policies at team meetings and explain why you expect compliance.

To test whether your policies resonate with your staff, ask yourself four questions:

Did your team help craft the policy? Group buy-in soars when people get a chance to chime in. Use the team to solicit feedback on the policy and incorporate employees’ input whenever possible. That’s better than issuing an edict from the executive suite and demanding that everyone fall into line.

Is the policy clear? Have a trusted outsider read the policy for clarity. Check for ambiguities or other potential areas of confusion. Replace vague wording with more precise descriptions.

Pay special attention to legalistic policies that are not written in plain English. Attorneys may insert phrases that only a legal eagle can understand. Suggest ways to translate mumbo-jumbo into easy-to-understand directives.

Do employees read it? A policy that’s buried in a thick manual and promptly forgotten holds little value for your employees. But if they read it, discuss its significance and understand its rationale, then it serves its purpose.

At team meetings, refer to your organizational policies and highlight their role. Emphasize how everyone gains by complying with these rules.

Do employees apply the policies? The most crucial question is whether people follow through and heed written directives. Even if they acknowledge reading the rules and treating them seriously, the real test is their ability to adhere to them.

Bottom-Line Idea

When you’re dealing with top executives or powerful clients, build rapport by answering their questions without fanfare or obfuscation. The first sentence out of your mouth should provide at least a partial answer. The best replies start with yes, no or it depends. If you prefer a more complex or nuanced response, say, “Let me answer that by …” Then address the nub of the issue without adding extraneous information.

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