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What’s our policy and where can I find it?

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger
I was caught out in a meeting when a colleague asked me where they could find a copy of the policy. I thought I knew what the policy was and they weren’t disagreeing they simply wanted to get hold of a copy to show it to some of their managers. I said, with false confidence, all our policies were on the organisation’s intranet and hoped they wouldn’t ask exactly where. You see many of the policies are in the form of reports to the board and tend to be updates or changes in response to new legislation, a critical event , or a shift in strategy as such it’s not always easy find what you want.
This got me thinking other than the people who wrote the policy, the senior managers who sponsored it and the board members who approved it who reads policy documents?  According to research not the majority of employees.
Employees say policy documents are too long, often full of technical jargon, very dull and that they  rely on their manager to tell them any policy or policy change relevant to them. Policies are rarely mentioned outside of training courses. The consensus amongst most employees is you don’t need to read policy documents to do the job. Employees might be surprised to known that the chances are their manager has not read the policy document either ,unless it’s a change in policy that they were consulted about.
Managers tend to ask the HR team rather than search through policy documents. So if it’s a health and safety question, a recruitment, competency, disciplinary or absence management issue ask HR. I am sure the finance team probably have a similar experience, the difference is there tend to be a lot more people management issues. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the repeat business.
That is managers who don’t like the policy because it means they can’t do what they want to do so they go round the team in the hope that someone will agree that their prosed action is not against, policy. Alternatively the manager who can’t apply the policy to different circumstances so each time refers to HR.
If this sounds like HR complaining that managers are lazy and seek the easy option, can’t be bothered to read the policies for themselves, well if the cap fits. However this isn’t just a moan about managers it’s an explanation for the lack of progress around EDI. An area in which there is no shortages of policies.
The board and senior management team are often said to be frustrated that they have such progressive polices and yet nothing much changes! Well how are polices in general viewed in the organisation , how inclusive is  the consultation in drafting  policies, how are they communicated, how is the thinking behind them explained and who owns them? And where can I find them?

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