What is Workflow Automation for Policy Management?

Policy management is an organization-wide imperative that touches nearly every department and employee within the company. The reason for this is simple: your largest risk of reputational brand damage, lawsuits, and regulatory fines comes from your own employees.

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Policy Management Program

A policy management program is the overall effort to manage and mitigate these risks by effectively communicating company policies on the full range of ethical, security, governance and behavioral (code of conduct) issues facing organizations today.

Policy Management Automation Systems

Most modern organizations nowadays – down to the SMB level – use dedicated software platforms to manage their policy programs. Policy management software automates many of the core functions involved in developing policies, publishing them out to the organization, collecting responses documenting that employees understand the policies (attestation), and then reporting on these processes for audit purposes.

Policy management automation platforms improve operational efficiency and significantly mitigates risk by enabling policy and legal teams to systematically reduce the potential for reputational damage. Ultimately, policy management solutions enable organizations to build an ethical and defensible compliance program.

Workflow Automation

Workflow automation is a set of software and services that enable teams across an organization to work together more effectively to accelerate positive outcomes. In the context of compliance, policy management workflow automation improves group collaboration to accelerate teamwork, even across multiple departments and outside resources.

An example of policy management automated workflow in action would be having quiz and e-signature capabilities built into the policy attestation process. Once an employee has received and read a policy document, they would be required to answer a short series of questions and sign off that they understood the material. E-signature integration can slash turnaround time on a document by as much as 80%.

What’s Driving the Need for Policy Management Workflow Automation?

Many of the policy management software solutions on the market today do a solid job of ensuring that policies are efficiently managed and enforced, and accurately maintained, distributed, and attested to. But it’s also true that dedicated policy management tools frequently fall short when it comes to addressing issues such as exceptions, disclosures and other matters where context, nuance, and uncertainty come into play. What exactly do we mean by this?

There are four common issues that every compliance team needs to address:

Gifts and Entertainment Disclosures

Disclosures around the nature, context and value of gifts provided to employees.

Conflicts of Interest

Disclosures around flagging and communicating potential conflicts and tracking those conflicts over time.

Policy Exceptions

Issues around accommodations that may need to be made for employee healthcare exceptions, device needs and so forth.

Legal Questions

Issues around how to address employee concerns arising when new policies come online or existing policies get changed.

To date, existing policy management solutions were largely ineffective for these four exception and disclosure issues. The fact is, conventional policy management automation systems were built for publishing, tracking and reporting. They were not designed for situations where policy implications are uncertain, circumstances can change over time, and where documenting and preserving complex communication threads is essential for complying with audits and regulatory inquiries.

Two great technologies that work great together

Combining best-in-class policy management technology with workflow automation effectively solves the exceptions and disclosures problem. The paired approach – policy management workflow automation – is a new compliance technology category, a new set of tools to help policy and compliance teams to reach their objectives. 

They can now enjoy comprehensive, feature-rich policy management and compliance tracking that’s extensible throughout their entire organization, and configurable to address any policy challenge. The paired approach is proven to drive value across a number of areas:

  • Cost Savings – Drives significant ROI through automation of manual processes.
  • Better Visibility – Increases insight into policy-related risks through automated logging, processing and resolution of exceptions and disclosures.
  • More Accurate Reporting – Promotes the granularity required by regulators for an effective compliance program.
  • Policy Effectiveness – Improves understanding of which policies are effective, and which aren’t, so you know where to devote resources to boost risk management outcomes.
  • Consistency – Builds more predictability into policy management processes, which is key to making sure that requests are dealt with promptly, correctly and can be measured.
  • Adaptability – Increases your ability to quickly adapt as processes or organizational changes shift your priorities or risk profile.

 

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