Series Two: Policy & Compliance || Part Two: Communicating Policy Updates
Changes to policies and procedures in the workplace are inevitable. Changes may include;
- legislative or regulatory changes in the sector.
- new systems being implemented in the workplace.
- review of current procedures.
When we update or implement new policies & procedures it is essential to ensure a clear communication plan is in place to ensure no compliance, financial, legal or safety consequences to the Service.
We want to provide you with some top tips to ensure your communication is effective when implementing a new policy or policy change.
Our Top Tips for Effective Communication:
- Be clear
You must ensure that those that the change effects understand the change.
Be clear and concise as to what the changes are and be sure to check they understand.
It is also a great idea to explain how non compliance will effect the Service and team. e.g. risk to children, financial loss to service, non compliance etc.
2. Allow access to policies
Policies should be readily accessible to the team as per Regulation 171. Ensure policies are in a place where Educators can access them whenever they want (without having to ask).
It is really important to think about what ‘readily accessible’ means!
If Educators are able to find the policies easily, they are more likely to adhere and implement the requested changes.
3. Provide training
When policies have substantial amendments made or more challenging changes have been made, it is important to ensure the team are equipped to implement the changes.
This may require training when the new initiative is implemented. It may be also worthwhile to consider ‘refresher’ training or ongoing support to ensure the policies continue to be adhered to appropriately.
4. Involve stakeholders
Policy and procedural changes should be a collaborative initiative. Involving all stakeholders in the process ensures the policy change recognises all that are involved.
Involving Educators and other stakeholders also allows for members to ask questions, query why the change is being implemented and to provide feedback. Having people who are directly effected by the change involved in policy updated ensures the policy will be relevant, realistic and practical.
Remember 2 brains (or more!) are better than 1!
5. Invite feedback
Sometimes you may find some Educators are resistant to change. They may have always done something that day and can’t imagine changing their ways.
Offering the opportunity for feedback engages those who might be averse to change in the conversation. It allows questions to be asked and answered and for any difficulties to be addressed as a team.
Some communication methods to update teams on policy and procedural change:
- Email the policy updates.
- Hold a staff meeting to discuss policy updates.
- Have a copy available to read and sign before starting work.
- Update staff handbook to include updated policy.
- Staff newsletters.
- Internal communication systems e.g. Slack, Bondle etc.
I like this quote from Planio’s blog:
“Communication is a strange beast. We all know how to read and write, yet our words still get misconstrued, feedback gets ignored, and you end up with a whole bunch of “Oh, I thought you meant X!”
Not only that but finding the right cadence of communication can feel like a Goldilocks situation. Too little and your team and stakeholders get confused about priorities and progress. Too much and you’re suddenly the King of micromanaging. A communication plan ensures that your frequency, type, and level of communication are just right.”
Mindtools have a great easy to read blog post on writing effective communication plans. They even have a great template to work through.
We recommend creating a communications plan for policy review & implementation to ensure your team are aware of there responsibilities and are able to implement change effectively.