‘Did you follow the policy on that?’
‘We have a policy?’
‘Yes, of course we do. Been around for over a decade now. This might have to go on your performance review.’
Organisational policies have a marketing problem. Marketing is all about memory recall at the right time and post purchase reassurance. Most policies have no recall and reassurance. Most, in fact, struggle to gain any awareness. Sometimes this is because the policies get woven into or are a foundational block for business processes. Therefore, people do not realise the policies behind the practice.
However, where does the responsibility lie for policy awareness and understanding? Too often, it’s a ‘build it and they shall abide by it’ mentality. Policies are created and the rest of the organisational is expected to realise this has been done. It’s a bit like building a house and expecting people to realise it is for sale without a for sale sign out front or online. This approach doesn’t work.
One organisation I know has been trying compulsory training on certain policies every 6 months. It’s basic training with an ‘test out’ function after you’ve gone through the whole training once. It works for basic awareness, but not for deeper application. Others try voluntary workshops and discussion groups on practice and business processes. This works for the interested but the reach is limited.
There is no one-size fits all approach. Definitely a multi-pronged approach will be the way forward. However, this approach will need to be sustained over years. One-offs rarely work. Marketing is a long term endeavour. And it must be responsibility of the policy creators. Before the policy is signed off, a marketing plan should already be in full swing.
The choice is up to us.