What Are Best Practices to Implement a New Policy?

What Are Best Practices to Implement a New Policy?

The new year has arrived, and as the numbers on the calendar turn over, you’d also like to turn over a  few of the standard practices and policies that keep your company in motion. Specifically, you’d like to add a new policy as a result of data analysis you’ve conducted during the last few months. How should you move forward? Here are a few tips that can help you smoothly implement your new policy and have all the gears in place by the arrival of spring.

First, clarify your goals and your language.

Why are you choosing to implement this policy? Will the policy, as it’s currently worded, help you achieve those goals? Make sure your intentions and your new rules are actionable and realistic. If you’ll be asking employees to discontinue a practice they’ve engaged in for a long time, give them an alternative that achieves the same ends. If you’re mandating a new action, make sure your new requirement is possible. Some rules are easier made than followed. Provide a pathway to compliance, or expect your policy to be ignored.

Gain employee input.

You don’t have to let your employees dictate all the terms, but ask them for their input as you shape the language of the policy. Target those who the policy will impact the most. Ask them to participate in meetings or contribute written feedback via email or surveys. Make sure all affected employees are kept in the loop, as far as possible.

Gain buy-in from senior managers and HR teams.

After you’ve ironed out the kinks and made adjustments that reflect the legitimate concerns of employees and those who will be directly affected by the new policy, take the next step. Submit your new policy proposal to the review of senior managers and HR experts who may spot legal problems you haven’t seen until this stage. This process may require a few rounds of editing, since your reviewers may hand the policy back to you with suggested or required revisions.

Announce the new policy at an appropriate time.

Either gather all your employees together to make a formal announcement, or break this population into smaller groups who can meet at roughly the same time period. Make your announcement in a way and in a venue that respects all members of your target audience (don’t leave anyone out). And make sure you allow time for questions or direct questions to a person or resource that can answer them. Follow up your announcement with written messages (via email) and make arrangements to insert a new page or otherwise alter your employee handbook.

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