Creating a company policy that gets employee buy-in is tricky.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just like any internal communication strategy, you’ll need a carefully thought out plan. In this guide, we’ll look at a simple 6 step plan you can use to create a company policy.
How to create a company policy
Creating a new company policy can be tricky if you don’t have the right process in place. It’s a project that requires involvement from multiple stakeholders and different teams.
Here’s a quick overview of the 6 steps you should take toward creating your company policy:
Now that you know the steps, let’s dig into the details. Read on below if you’re looking for a greater explanation of any of the steps listed above.
1. Identify the need for a policy
You shouldn’t be creating a new company policy just for the sake of it. Your company policy should act as a solution to an existing problem. Employees don’t respond well to red tape that makes their jobs harder to do, so in order to maintain a healthy and engaging corporate culture, you should be judicious about what policies you create.
So, what insistence might warrant the creation of a new company policy?
If your employees seem confused about appropriate workplace conduct
If there’s a lack of clarity on existing policies (e.g., attendance, cellphone, dress code)
If your legal counsel decides that additional policies are required
If there’s a change in state or federal laws or compliance that affect your industry
These are just a few instances where you might need to create a new policy. Sometimes, situations in the workplace can be handled by communicating with employees about an issue first. Use your best judgment on when creating a new policy is necessary.
2. Determine the policy content and goals
After you decide you need to create a new policy, your next step should be determining the goals. Measuring the success of any HR implementation requires knowing the desired outcome before you set things into motion.
For example, if you’re creating a policy to address an attendance problem at your company, the end goal would be fewer employee absences.
Create an outline of what you hope to accomplish with the policy and any potential challenges you might face along the way. This will act as your guide when you create the policy.
3. Gain support from leadership and legal
Even the best company policy won’t get off the ground without buy-in from leadership. You need the support of the people who call the shots at your company in order to make things work. Sit down with your leadership team and explain your proposal.
You should include the following:
The problem your company is trying to solve with this new policy
What the policy itself might include
What a successful outcome of the new policy will look like
How you plan to communicate and roll out the policy
Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to loop in your legal counsel for a final look over. They can provide legal expertise to guide the creation of your new policy. You should involve your legal counsel in any new policy creation just to keep your bases covered.
Now that you’ve outlined the new policy and gained buy-in from leadership, it’s time to create your policy. There are several sections you’ll want to include, so we’ve gone ahead and outlined each of them below.
What should a company policy include?
Policy details and explanation
There are a few things you’ll need to be careful of when creating your company policy. Be careful not to use any language that suggests ultimatums. The chances of your company policy evolving over time is high and you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner.
Here are some things you should avoid when creating a company policy:
Terms that suggest finality, like “only,” “always,” “will,” or “must”
Anything that suggests the promise of job security
Any terminology that suggests employees are “permanent”
Any usage of broad, blanket policies
You want to use flexible terminology when crafting your company policy. Phrases like “generally,” "typically," "usually" and "may" so that managers and your HR department have the discretion to make decisions on a case by case basis.
5. Communicate the changes to employees
A new policy won’t have any impact if your employees don’t know about it. After your policy has been updated and finalized, it’s time to roll it out. You can choose a couple of different ways to inform employees about a policy change, such as: sending a company-wide email, holding an open forum, announcing it at company kick-off, or having the managers administer the news.
Here are some things you should include in your announcement:
What the policy entails
Why it’s being created
When it goes into effect
Who employees can come to with questions
There will likely be questions after you make your announcement. Make yourself available to any employees who want further information or clarification. Understand that a new policy change doesn’t mean things will change immediately. Employees will likely need a little time to get comfortable with the new changes, but letting them know of changes being made makes for a much better employee experience rather than not telling them at all.
6. Monitor and update the policy as needed
Few things succeed after the first try; that’s why it’s important to monitor things after you implement your company policy. Open the lines of communication up with your employees and allow them the chance to express their feedback.
Consider using an employee satisfaction survey to allow employees the chance to anonymously express their thoughts. Your questions and the resulting feedback should guide any tweaks or changes that the policy needs. Above all else, communication is key. Keep your mind open and work with your employees to ensure the policy is successful.
Lauren Pope is a Content Marketing Manager at Oracle and a former content marketer at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, the G2 Learning Hub, and other sites. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and singing karaoke. (she/her/hers)