Western University of Health Sciences University Policy Office (UPO) Western University of Health Sciences
University Policy Office (UPO)

Policy News and Trends

In a recent article the Policies and Procedures (P&Ps) Authority Newsletter, Raymond E. Urgo, Principal of Los Angeles-based Urgo & Associates, who is an internationally recognized expert on P&Ps reports the following reasons for what is causing the popularity of Policies & Procedures in organizations nationwide.

Statements, such as the following, are more commonly heard in today s workplace, says Urgo:

These quotes imply that policies and procedures (P&P) is a critical resource that holds promise in addressing critical workplace learning and performance needs. These needs cast a new light on the role of P&P in today s organizations.

What s causing the buzz of interest in P&P?

Here are five trends that contribute to the growing popularity.

Retiring baby boomers
Long-time managers, directors, and professionals in the U.S. baby-boom generation are expected to retire in the next few years. According to a report by Deloitte Consulting, employers can expect to lose one-third of their workforces by 2010; and 40 percent of managers will be eligible to retire by that year. Therefore, employers are investing in P&P documentation projects as a means of transferring the current generation s organizational practice knowledge to the succeeding generation.

Ethics and compliance
Regulatory compliance requires documented P&P, especially for companies seeking ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification. More recently, U.S. companies need documented P&P to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation concerning financial controls in publicly held companies. With increasing globalization and workforce diversity, businesses are implementing ethics programs with P&P to promote standard practices of integrity, especially if that integrity can be interpreted in different ways.

Workforce training
The increasing rate of workforce turnover, along with changes in organizational structures and processes, are causing a greater need for cross-training and “just-in-time“ self-learning about how to perform work properly and efficiently. With the application of the principles of good instructional design, P&P provides the right information for self-paced learning and ongoing reference. This, in turn, reduces the need for classroom training and additional materials.

Knowledge economy
Organizations are beginning to evolve from the maturing era of information to the dawning era of learning and knowledge. An organization with a highly developed learning and knowledge capacity can expect to have a competitive advantage. Astute leaders of formal knowledge management endeavors are implementing codified P&P as a means to efficiently manage and communicate knowledge as an important organizational resource.

Electronic communication
The availability of intranets and inexpensive software applications for hosting and managing P&P content are providing new credibility to the perception that P&P provides value in organizations. Binders of printed and often obsolete P&P content that once collected dust on shelves are fading away. Online or electronic P&P content is now available on the user s desktop terminal or handheld device for easier access and provides ease in updating the latest information. For the first time, management can easily monitor P&P content usage.

Resource: Raymond Urgo rurgo@urgoconsulting.com