The Hybrid Workforce Raises Policy Management to the Boardroom
Policy management, once a backwater of risk and compliance management, has proven to be a big winner in 2020 and 2021.
Part of our Becoming a Policy Management Pro series
Senior managers now fully recognize its value in helping to guide and direct staff about corporate governance, corporate culture, as well as behavioral boundaries as staffers are working long-term away from the office.
Its profile is likely to rise further, as some of the longer-term impacts of 2020 begin to fully play out. One of several long-term trends that have been accelerated by the events of the last 18 months? Combined home-working and office-working is likely to become a standard fixture of business.
The flexibility it offers staff and the potential cost-savings it offers business are so significant that many companies will transition to hybrid working as the norm. The only questions will be related to how best to achieve this goal.
Operating a hybrid workforce draws policy management into a sharper perspective. Having staff in an office makes it much easier to ensure everyone understands and follows the correct policy and procedure for travel and expense management, IT security policy, or HR, for example. In-officer workers are all available in confined locations, versus a widely dispersed workforce.
Policy management is vital to a hybrid workforce
Wherever their employees work, companies remain legally and contractually responsible for their staff’s well-being and behavior. Staff also have a contractual obligation to their employers to follow the rules and guidelines laid down for them. In many ways, this is the key challenge of a hybrid workforce.
The technology processes that deliver this – Zoom accounts, secure VPNs, SaaS-based business applications, and more – are all now well-proven. The practice of assuring that employees are constantly aware of their responsibilities and obligations, and fully observing them away from the office? That’s much less well developed.
However, without this assurance, hybrid working cannot meet its aims in the long term – the liabilities firms are potentially exposed to are simply too great. For companies looking to re-balance their balance sheets by downsizing their office estate, or broaden their recruitment and skills base through flexible working, this presents an issue that has implications at the Board level.
This growing significance of policy management is reflected in the recent publication of the Standards for Policy Management and Certification for policy management professionals by the Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG). OCEG is a well-known industry think-tank, dedicated to using open standards to enhance issues around Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC), audit management, strategy, as well as ethics.
Becoming a ‘Policy Management Pro’
To help companies adopt a best-practice approach to policy management, OCEG has launched an initiative called Policy Management Pro, which provides a Policy Management Capability Model laying out the essential steps to enhancing policy management. It also provides a Certified Policy Management Professional designation to help companies and individuals enhance the skill sets needed to implement best practices.
The underlying principles of the Policy Management Capability Model are:
- Necessary – Effective policy management should be aligned to the risks and governance needs of the business.
- Tailored – A policy should align fully to the unique aspects of a business, rather than be merely generic.
- Integrated – Policy management should be a component of normal business operations.
- People-centered – A policy should reflect the realities of how people engage and collaborate, in the business, and in the supply chain.
- High-performing – Policy management should add value to the business overall.
- Standardized – A consistent approach to policy management allows for transparency in the business and a solid understanding of how best to defend the business from key risk issues.
- Collaborative – Good policy management should reflect the way that business functions and individuals combine to deliver results.
- Accessible – Policies and policy management should be readily available to staff in all levels in the business.
- Engaging – Policies need to be clearly written and understood and drafted in a style consistent with the rest of the business.
- Dynamic – Effective policy management allows for policies to change as the business changes.
Partnering to implement the right solutions
For companies hoping to implement Policy Management, it’s important to find a solutions provider that can point to a track record of success in working with customers to help them understand the principles and apply them to a more flexible and dynamic working environment.
A seamless blend of technology and expertise is central to implementing them, and Mitratech has long experience in helping companies across multiple sectors implement robust, powerful, and cost-effective policy management solutions. The goal is to simplify and streamline the potential complexities of policy management. Click here to learn more.
To help companies and staff become Policy Management Pros, Mitratech recently hosted a discussion with Michael Rasmussen, who helped draft the Policy Management Capability Model. In it, he explores how technology can support an effective compliance program.