6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Consistency is Critical

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Step 4: Check for Consistency

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is a tale built on inconsistencies. In Wonderland, nothing is quite what it seems to be, and nothing remains the same for very long. Even Alice herself undergoes changes—the poor girl can’t keep from growing and shrinking. All the inconsistencies contribute to the story’s wonderfully disorienting “through the looking glass” feel. They help make Alice the timeless classic that it is.

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Recent comment in this post
Rehan Makki
Nice one.
Saturday, 23 June 2018 13:59
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6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Knowing Your Audience

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Cutting your way through the tangle of today’s compliance regulations is like hacking a path through a jungle. Finding your way is challenging, but we’ve developed a route that can lead you to success.

Last week we listed key features of successful compliance documentation for you to keep in mind when evaluating your documents. This week, the discussion continues as we introduce the first in a series of 6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation.

Step 1: Understand the Needs of Your Audience(s)

“One size fits all” is great for baseball caps, but it usually doesn’t work for compliance documents. Your compliance documentation can—and probably will—fail if you insist on writing it using a “one size fits all” approach that doesn’t take into account the needs of different audiences. If your goal is to create clear, effective documentation, “one size fits all” can be a very bad idea.

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7 features of successful compliance documentation

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Auditors and industry experts agree that poor documentation is a root cause of non-compliance. When auditors can’t easily find and understand the information they need in your documentation, or see that the documentation doesn’t match up with actual practices, the consequences range from the headaches of longer, costlier audit processes to major catastrophes like fines, shut-downs or even litigation.

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Capturing your organization’s mission-critical knowledge: Organizing, Reviewing, and Deploying your content

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It’s time to get organized

In our last entry, we shared a knowledge capture strategy that involved identifying “buckets” for your organization’s processes, and filling them with information. Now that you’ve filled your buckets, the next step is for you to get all that content organized and structured so that your audiences will be able to quickly and easily find the information they need, and understand it and use it effectively.

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Capture your organization’s mission-critical knowledge—top down and bottom up

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Start with the “top-down” phase

Use a top-down approach to begin capturing your organization’s mission-critical knowledge. The idea is to look at your processes from the proverbial 30,000 foot level. Don’t worry about the details, at least for now—your goal is to gain a general understanding of each process.

Hold a group capture session

Hold a group capture session that includes every employee who contributes to the task or process. Getting this group together will work better than conducting a series of individual interviews, because you’ll be able to quickly build concensus. Individual interviews usually result in gathering a lot of different viewpoints, and reconciling those viewpoints can cost you a lot of time.

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“Turn in your ID card, but before you go….”

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Ask any manager—they’ll tell you that firing an employee is by far the most difficult and unrewarding aspect of being a boss. Anyone who’s ever had to “let somebody go” will confirm that meeting with a worker to terminate their employment is, at best, an awkward and unpleasant event. Such a meeting can easily become ugly and painful for all concerned. 

Even when the employee being terminated is able to keep their emotions in check, they’re almost certain to be unhappy and upset. Clearly, a meeting like this is a less-than-optimal time for you to ask, “Say…before Security escorts you out of the building? Would you mind showing me exactly how you reconcile that tricky daily utilization report?”

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Knowledge capture: Identifying your organization’s mission-critical knowledge

Where’s all the know-how going?

“Sorry, I’m not sure how you do that.  Ask Bill in IT, he knows… never mind, I forgot that he retired last month. No, don’t bother with the manual. It hasn’t been updated since 2008, and we’re doing things a lot differently now. Maybe Jen can help you, but she’s out at the other office today: she’s been really busy since Bill left.” 

You’ve probably heard at least a few conversations like this, maybe you’ve even participated in one. They’re taking place nearly everywhere, as increasing numbers of baby boomers leave the workforce. And they’re leaving in record numbers. We recently read an article in the business news describing how Putnam Investments, a major provider of retirement fund management services, is hiring additional sales and service personnel to meet the needs of the growing retirement market. 

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New Site, New Blog

The Information Mapping team is happy to announce the launch of both a new website and blog! The goal of this blog is to provide you with valuable insights every week.Topics will include Understanding the Information Mapping Method, FS Pro Tips & Tricks, Success Stories, and much more.There are many ways to subscribe. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or on Linkedin. Pick your favorite and sign up right now! We’ll keep things short, sweet, and to the point- but jam packed with valuable information.

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