Here’s a scenario: A new employee has to be trained on a particular procedure. The person who normally conducts the training (the area supervisor) is unexpectedly out of the office for a couple of days, due to illness. You, the Human Resources director, prefer not to have the new employee sitting around while waiting to be trained. They ought to be able to familiarize themselves with the procedure; you believe this will help speed up the training.

Work Area Procedures

You go to the work area to ask about getting a copy of the procedure; two employees volunteer their copies. You glance through their copies and find that (uh-oh!) they’re not in agreement. Parts of the procedure have been lined through and comments handwritten on them. “What about a master copy?”, you ask.

The employees both assume the supervisor has it, but they have no idea where she keeps it. It might be in her desk or in one of the file cabinets; they’re all locked.

You decide to look on the company’s document server for a backup copy before bothering the supervisor at home. You find there’s neither rhyme nor reason to the server’s directories. You think there ought to be an “Operations” folder and maybe a subfolder called “Procedures”, but that’s not the case. (Right then, it occurs to you that all the HR information is on your computer and you’re not backing it up on the server. You make a note to start doing that, soon.)

Document Server Procedures

You search the entire document server for one procedure. In about 15 minutes, you think you’ve found what you were looking for. Only that copy was last updated 5 years ago — any resemblance between it and the other two copies are superficial. Who knows if the procedure’s ever been reviewed?

You know this is not a good situation; it would be worse if you had an audit coming up soon. For the time being, you have one of the employees make a copy of his procedure for the new hire and tell the new hire to “read the procedure and ask him if you have any questions.” Then, you send an email to management, expressing your concerns.

Is this document control? Are you thinking, “There has to be a better way”? Or, are you thinking, “Looks a lot like my company”?

“Lack of structure” is one reason to consider OnPolicyTM procedure management software; it gives your documents the structure and organization they need. In the coming weeks, we’re going to discuss other reasons why you need a system like OnPolicy. We’d like you to join the discussion.

Think about the good and the bad of your company’s document management system. What do you like about it? What don’t you like? Have you had any major problems with it? Do you foresee any?

Wouldn’t you be better off with policy and procedure management software?