How to Implement New Company Policies

By Mike Raia | Published September 6, 2018


hr workflow automationIntroducing new policies to employees, whether designed to address HR requirements, regulatory compliance mandates or formalize IT processes, can be difficult at best. After all, as the familiar saying goes, “change is hard.”

However, finding effective ways to implement new policies and procedures can increase adoption and policy compliance. Following these best practices for policy management can help ensure a smooth roll-out the next time your organization introduces a new policy or implements changes to an existing policy. We have an eBook that goes more into increasing user adoption after purchasing a new SaaS model for your organization, Getting Users Onboard Your New Workflow System.

Powers of Policy Persuasion

Following the guidelines laid out by Harvard Business Review, managers involved in a policy change process should understand how to persuade and promote the policy change to employees effectively.

implementing policy changes persuasively

  • People are more willing to cooperate when they like each other.
    Find ways to give employees genuine praise before a policy change. Find common ground you can agree on.
  • You can implement reciprocity by offering something employees will appreciate as part of policy changes.
    This could be as simple as casual dress days, coupons, summer hours, etc.
  • Enlist those who already believe in the policy change as allies.
    Let them help spread the word to their peers. Provide talking points that explain the positive side of the changes.
  • Make sure messaging around the changes is consistent and put it in writing. 
    People are more likely to adhere to any policies that are in writing.
  • Make sure the policy change is explained as coming from experts.
    That could be as simple as providing experience, data, research, testing, and results, that back up the reason for the policy change.
  • Share information with key players before sharing it more broadly. 
    This gives an air of exclusivity to the people who can be your initial champions of the policy change.

Tailor Policies to Your Organization’s Size and Structure

First, implementing a policy that isn’t going to actually be followed is worse than not implementing policy at all. Plan, plan, plan.

Don’t simply buy an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all policy document and put your company’s logo on the first page; if it’s not tailored to meet your company’s (or a specific department’s) needs, you’ve likely wasted money on the purchase.

Policies need to make sense for your company's size and the way you’re structured. For your new policy to be effective, you should also make sure the people tasked with carrying out the policy will actually be able to do so. Implementing a new policy that is difficult or even impossible for rank-and-file employees to carry out will mean the policy will be abandoned in short order.

Involve key stakeholders in the planning process, before implementation. Get feedback from managers and from employees who would be subject to the new policy. Does what you want to do make sense? Do they have the capacity and resources today to follow the policy to the letter? Does the proposed policy conflict with other existing policies or procedures? Pay attention to what these groups have to say, and make modifications as appropriate (or as necessary). When you do finally roll out the new policy, it will be better received.

Make Sure Policies Comply with HR and Regulatory Requirements

While it should go without saying, you should also make sure your proposed policy does not conflict with employment laws or with regulatory requirements. As a good rule of thumb, run all new policies and substantive policy changes past legal counsel and the internal compliance department (if applicable) before implementing them. It’s better to find out about potential issues before you go live with the policy, so you don’t have to backtrack later after the policy is already in force.

Determine How to Best Deploy the Policy

Before implementing a new policy, evaluating your options for doing so can also be worthwhile. Sometimes, it makes sense to deploy a new policy in stages. In other cases, a full roll-out works best.

If it makes sense and if it is feasible to do so for a particular policy, you may also consider implementing a new policy first with one department or with just a subset of your employee base. That can give you an opportunity to spot and iron out wrinkles you didn’t anticipate during the planning stages before going company-wide with the new mandate.

Provide Appropriate Communication, Training, and Support

There are many possible “right” ways actually to introduce a new policy to employees. The best way for your organization will depend in large part on what the new policy is actually doing and what problem it is designed to address. In some cases, rolling out a policy via email alone can be effective. In other situations, it’s better to introduce the policy through in-person information sessions or formal training events. It can also sometimes be helpful to foreshadow a coming policy, giving employees advanced notice that you will be introducing changes. Try to anticipate potential questions ahead of time so you can be prepared to address them.

Regardless of your chosen method, providing the relevant background to affected employees can be helpful. Explain what the reasons behind the policy are; this can go a long way in helping employees want to do what they’re expected to do.

However, don’t simply email a policy document, post it on a company intranet site, or introduce the policy in a meeting without also providing an opportunity and a mechanism for employees to raise questions or issues. Employees who understand the what, why and how of a new policy are much more likely to comply with it.

Obtain Policy Acknowledgements

Another best practice for policy management is to require affected employees to acknowledge their receipt and understanding of the new policy formally. Policy acknowledgments should come with a deadline for completion, which can help ensure employees are following the new policy promptly. Of course, deadlines also often mean someone must follow up with stragglers to obtain their acknowledgments.

Using technology solutions including automated workflows can make the entire acknowledgment process simple and streamlined. Your company can create a customized statement of understanding form and push it out to the entire employee base or just to a specific group of employees with just a few mouse clicks.

Employees will be notified that they need to complete the acknowledgment and can do so from their computers or any connected device. Their completed forms will then be captured and retained, easily accessible by HR, compliance, or others with a need to review them. Any answers that deviate from expected responses can be flagged for follow-up. The system can also be set to send automatic reminders to employees who haven’t submitted their completed forms yet. Finally, real-time completion reports are available to management anytime, providing a picture that can shed light on policy adoption.

Schedule Periodic Policy Reviews

Finally, it’s important to review policies periodically to ensure they still make sense in their current forms. Sometimes, review timeframes are driven by regulatory guidelines. Your company’s board of directors may drive policy reviews in other cases. Whatever time frame you adopt, document your review and the outcome.

For more tips on effective policy implementation and how workflow software solutions can help your organization with policy management, contact Integrify online or call us at (888) 536-9629 today. 


HR   compliance   employees   policies  

Business Ideas   Project Management   Department Focus  

Mike Raia

Marketing the world's best workflow automation software and drinking way too much coffee. Connect with me on LinkedIn at