Spring cleaning is a seasonal desire to freshen up our surroundings after a long winter, to put away the old, and bring out the new. This desire should extend to our business operations as well, to review and reconsider policies and procedures which may have “grown a few cobwebs” and dusty over the years. Particularly in light of the ever-increasing threats to public and personal safety and security, a good review of policies may be in order. Just having a written policy does not necessarily mean you are ready to handle challenges brought about by serious threats. Your policies are a vital tool in your management toolbox to provide guidance and support compliance efforts, as well as create frame of reference when addressing serious infractions or workplace misconduct.

Here are a few guidelines to consider:

  • Consider any legal or regulatory boundaries for the subject of your policy. Include references within the policy to provide the proper framework (i.e. OSHA, ADA, HIPAA, etc.).
  • State your expectations clearly. Write your policy in “plain English” to ensure full understanding. This is not the place to be vague or confusing.
  • Publish your policy and make it easily accessible by all the affected parties (employees, customers, vendors, etc.).
  • Review your policy routinely. Regulatory or operational changes may have rendered your policy ineffective or insufficient if you don’t keep it current.
  • Define the consequences for non-compliance or the failure to meet the spirit of the policy. Tell your audience why the policy is important and what happens if it is not followed.

Be reasonable. Expect reasonable people to behave in reasonable ways. If compliance is too difficult under normal or reasonable circumstances, then perhaps the policy is ineffective.