Is there a way to track and manage policy exceptions that’s simpler and more effective than other current approaches?

Let’s say you have an employee who had foot surgery, and needs to wear a walking boot for a few weeks. Your health and safety policy, however, dictates that all employees must wear closed-toed shoes on the factory floor. An exception to policy here – documented and communicated to key stakeholders – would be in order. The problem is that typical policy management systems don’t make it possible to request that exception, or track its resolution, across the organization.

This scenario points up the difficulties many compliance teams face in trying to address policy exceptions with existing technologies. While most companies have policies and procedures in place to help mitigate exceptions, many of the policy management tools available today tend to concentrate on the management, distribution, and attestation of policies. They are not, however, geared to address the unique requirements for managing exceptions.

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Tracking and preserving all communications and documents around policy exceptions of this nature are key to maintaining compliance and avoiding risk.

Uniting policy management with process automation

By coupling a best-in-class policy management solution with comprehensive, feature-rich workflow automation and compliance monitoring, compliance managers and administrators can leverage a new, highly effective way to track and manage policy exceptions. With far sharper visibility into policy exceptions, you’re much better equipped to uncover risks and rectify issues before they can escalate. You also gain the granularity to easily document compliance to regulators and authorities.

For our example company needing to accommodate the employee in the walking boot? Automated workflow enables compliance officers to note the policy exception and maintain a centralized record in the case of an incident.  The workflow tool captures that request, notes the approval and resolution, and then provides full reporting as needed.

What are the benefits of this paired approach?

The rewards of coupling workflow automation with a policy management solution are significant (and, by pairing the right products, immediate):

  • With far better visibility into policy exceptions, you are much better equipped to uncover risks and rectify issues before they can escalate.
  • By centralizing exception activities in a single system, you gain enhanced reporting to key stakeholders across the organization.
  • Workflow automation provides significant ROI by streamlining processes and reducing the manual labor required with typical exception processing, while also reducing the potential for costly human error.
  • Reporting dashboard and analysis features make it possible to quickly uncover high-risk behaviors, trends or problem employees.

In our previous posts, we’ve touched on better ways to manage Gifts and Entertainment and Conflict of Interest policy management challenges.  Next week, we’ll explore how pairing these two software solutions will do a better job of managing Legal Questions that might arise when you publish new policies, or when people need clarification about existing ones. See you then!

Other risk & compliance resources that might be useful:

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