An organisation’s purpose involves how to manage how their people behave by encouraging, sometimes even mandating, how work tasks need to be carried out and by whom. In my last post I asked ‘Why not use a wiki to develop policies?’. How would using a wiki to develop work in practice? Here are four ways to consider:
- You need to have the right culture which will encourage people to contribute and feel comfortable challenging what exists and being constructively critical.
- You need ground rules, or terms and conditions, or guidelines which set out clearly what the expected level of behaviour is for anyone using the wiki.
- Make sure the wiki is easy to create and edit as well as to read. Anyone who has used Wikipedia will know it is a very different experience if you want to create/edit an article compared with reading it!
- I recommend the person responsible for the policy adds a draft – something which makes sense but its structure and content is loose enough to encourage people to edit – and asks anyone interested to contribute. It is much easier to comment upon what exists than to start with a blank screen.
It is best to start with a policy that affects most or all people working in the organisation. Choosing a Human Resources policy best fits that aim. A policy on employee’s terms and conditions; holiday – how much and when it is taken; flexible working hours – shift patterns; and grading and pay rates. All of these are policies people will have a view on what they believe is appropriate and will help build up a policy that is accepted by most other people.
Why should your organisation take such a risk?
My answer is “Why not?” I believe there is very little to be risked if you pick your first policy to be one that has widespread interest and is not seen as being contentious.
One way to encourage stronger engagement with people within your organisation is to ask for their views and listen and act upon them. Giving people the opportunity to shape a policy which affects them means there is a stronger chance of buy-in to the final version and the impact it has.
When organisations treat their people as adults with a chance to express a view you will generally find it is taken seriously and the outcome is very good. This applies to blogging, micro blogging, feedback, and discussions that are moderated by the members of the group.
Here are three benefits to consider:
- It is probable that a better thought through policy will be developed that takes account of many more concerns and points than an expert or small project team could expect to include.
- It is likely to be completed in less time with less effort. And if it doesn’t work an organisation should be honest and explain why e.g. too few comments, too negative, and pledge to learn from the experience.
- Less time, effort, and costs will be spent policing the policy in future if everyone has had the opportunity to influence its development.
So, go on, why not use a wiki to develop a policy in your organisation?