When working with clients or teaching a master class, I am usually asked about the format that should be used for creating digital policies. Many organizations have an existing and prescribed format for corporate policies, since human resources, accounting or information technology have already introduced non-digital policies into the organization. Before creating a new format for digital policies, consider what is already in place within your organization and repurpose existing artifacts and processes to support the digital policy creation efforts.
If your organization doesn’t have a protocol for creating policies, or if the policy format is unnecessarily complex (e.g., the policy is a 3+ page document that nobody will ever read) consider breaking with tradition and following the format, below:
- Policy name
- Policy statement (What is it that digital workers should always or never do online?)
- Rationale (What is the reason the policy has been adopted and why it should be followed?)
- Source (Where does the policy originate, such as a law or regulation, or internal initiative?)
- Related standards (Are there standards that support the policy?)
Limiting the organization’s digital policies to 1 or 2 pages (2 pages being maximum) is a best practice that I highly recommend. This allows digital workers to quickly scan through the policy and extract the information that is applicable to their content creation and publishing activities.
Once you document the policy, remember that it should be stored in a central repository that all digital staff know about and can access. It is also best practice for the repository to be searchable and for the content to be stored in a native web format, not as PDFs or the native documents in which they were drafted for approval within the organization.