Case Study: Develop and Implement Policy Framework

Client: Global Financial Services Firm

Function: HR Department

Project: Develop and Implement Policy Framework

The HR Policy Framework Challenge

A large financial services institution wanted to develop a structured and usable HR policy framework. HR was on the forefront of an enterprise wide initiative to review and revise policy along with standardizing formatting. The existing policy structure consisted of ad-hoc documentation, created to answer questions or solve problems in the employee base. Over many years, as situations arose in the organization, HR reactively created policy and drafted process and procedures to answer the question – what does the policy say?

The problems were systemic – as these documents were not synchronized, exhibited no formal corporate policy structure, and were often not well thought out. As a result, the HR community had difficulty enforcing policy, the employee community had difficulty understanding and accessing policy, and the interpretations were often made as one-off circumstances necessitated. Coupled with these challenges, the intranet infrastructure was less than optimal and needed updating.

The Solution

The problem required a blue-sky approach. Management determined that existing documentation did not meet the needs of the user base and that a fresh start was necessary. A concise, easy to use HR policy framework was needed.

The Intellilink led team used a 4-step process to review, revise, develop a governance structure, and then institute the changes. Starting with over 130 documents, the final framework consisted of 25 highly targeted and supported policies.

Review Existing Documentation

Using the existing documentation, Intellilink led a comprehensive review effort. The team was able to quickly determine which ‘policies’ would be edited, which would be deleted, and which needed to be newly drafted. Using this structure, the team could maximize subject matter expert effort and phase the revision work appropriately. Each document was reviewed, named, and added to a matrix where it would be labeled for edit, delete, rewrite, or new draft. These labels would drive the activity of the team and SMEs, while keeping a history of the previous framework to enable proper user communication regarding changes and deletions. Function specific (Comp, Business Partners, Recruiting, Legal, etc.) SME groups were assigned to each policy to serve as the revision approval teams.

Intellilink led external research to identify gaps in the current policy structure and to identify industry best practices for HR policy frameworks.

Revise and Draft New Policy

Each policy went through a rigorous process for revision and approval. A first draft policy was created and sent for SME review and feedback. The team collected the feedback, consolidated the commentary into a second draft which was forwarded back out to the team of SMEs. Intellilink facilitated work sessions with the SMEs to collaborate and brainstorm on the appropriate language, structure, roles and responsibilities, and supporting material needs (practices and procedures). After consensus, a third and final draft was sent to HR Management for review. Final HR Management and internal compliance sign-off meant the policy was ready for posting.

Define Governance Structure

Identifying the policy owners allowed Intellilink to create a governance model which made clear the change and escalation paths for maintaining the HR policy framework and the individual policies effectiveness. Aside from a yearly review, policy updates and new policies are to be drafted based on business need, regulatory change, or industry directive. Continual feedback is provided to the PMO and Compliance teams as consideration for policy updates.

Rollout and Change Management

For each policy grouping, a structured rollout strategy and change management plan was developed. The communications were handled through intranet updates and email campaigns. The change plan addressed overall employee change needs, manager specific needs, and HR function needs. Training was customized by function and rolled out in a prioritized manner – major changes (recruiting and staffing) first, then minor changes (performance management). The training culminated with all-management training via a web presentation.

With the new HR Policy Framework and governance structure policy, interpretations will be consistent and based in objectivity.a