Getting easy access to your company handbooks, guidelines, method statements and policies (many of which are legally binding) is really important to your people. New starters need to know how things work and how things are done, and anyone going through a difficult time (redundancy, illness, bereavement) or a life-change (children) needs to know what support is or isn’t available.
How do you distribute your handbooks? How do you make sure your HR policies are available?
You may well have Document Control System (DCS / Document Management System DMS) that provides online access to your Quality Management System (QMS) and all supporting documentation. If your software and your working processes work well, then that should all be fine, but you still need to communicate changes to your people, so I hope you publish timely ‘Policy Update’ articles on your intranet and distribute updated material in your Team Meetings.
The intranet may well be a direct method of providing access to your most important documents, like the legally binding HR policies and the Ts&Cs (Terms & Conditions) that make up people’s contracts.
Best practices for policies on your intranet
- Consider providing a web version of policies. Even long polices can look good as a single page; very long policies may well need to be multi-section / multi-page;
- Provide a printable PDF version of the policy. This lets people take the document with them for their reflection (perhaps at home, or with a Union Representative);
- Decide which format of your policy is the master version (i.e. decide which format (web, PDF) must be referred to and must never have any mistakes in it (don’t assume that mistakes can’t creep in);
- Always provide clear Version information:
- Version Number (4, 5, 10)
- Date of publication
- Date policy comes into effect (probably same as date of publication)
- Responsible Owner / Author
- Nature of revision – details of changes from previous version;
- Show details of who to contact with queries;
- Provide links to pages / documents that support the policy.
These ideas work whether you’re uploading / publishing policies by hand, or if you rely on software to manage and distribute your documentation.
How does your company give you access to policies? What improvements would you like to see?
Alex Manchester from Step Two (Intranet Design) provides clear guidance on when to use PDFs.[Wedge]
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Hi Wedge – when I worked in-house this was a real issue for us. We had a floor of Mac users who didn’t have access to any Microsoft packages so needed everything in PDF, sales people with no online access and another 40% PC based!
When I relaunched the intranet I was able to give HR a section with many layers, giving each document a place on the site as a ‘page’ rather than a document they had to download. We also had an area for Manager’s only that allowed them to log in and view certain documents.
As you suggest, there was a PDF of the whole document with all policies in should they need it (and I think a legal requirement).
Would be interested to see what everyone thinks – whether viewing them as a page is better than downloading?