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“The policies that you put into place are to make sure that the staff knows what they should be doing,” Hilda Polanco, CPA, CGMA, founder and CEO of not-for-profit financial consulting organization FMA, said at the AICPA Not-for-Profit Industry Conference on Wednesday in Maryland.
The formal written communication and employee signatures are in place as a protection for employers and employees alike, but don’t allow that to make the process of setting new policies an impersonal one.
’ And last year we did Compliance Family Feud,” West said.
“In those two examples, people really enjoyed the training and actually I’m sure learned more than they did in the past.” Once the manual is created or updated, it’s up to the board and management to establish the tone at the top about enforcing it.
At AHRC, West said, 25% of the manual is reviewed and updated every six months, so that over the course of two years, the entire manual receives scrutiny.
Of course, with changes resulting from developments such as new laws or regulations, AHRC updates the relevant material immediately.
She said that typically the board treasurer or the chair of the board finance committee or audit committee would be responsible for those tasks.
Meanwhile, management’s efforts to back the policies and make the manual available to all staff can encourage staff to adhere to a document that is designed to enable effectiveness and efficiency.
For example, if you are establishing rules on the use of social media on company computers, you should engage IT leaders in the conversations.
Have the policy reviewed by an employment attorney to make sure that it is legally enforceable and complies with all relevant laws. You may certainly give a verbal heads up to your employees that a change is coming, but the official announcement should be in print, with email as a back-up.
Policies and procedures manuals are of little use if employees aren’t aware of them, so they should be provided to all affected staff.
An online version with hyperlinks from the table of contents to relevant sections of the manual may be useful, and some organizations require employees to sign documents stating that they have reviewed the policies and procedures manual.
The best manuals are clearly written and easy to understand, with a table of contents that’s easy to use for employees who wish to quickly refer to material on a certain topic.