Are your policy and procedure manuals more like dry, dusty tomes or living, breathing tour guides? Does everyone at your company have access to view the documents (at least those sections relevant to their position) or are they difficult to find? Do you relish the idea of reviewing them with a fine-tooth comb or…not so much? If you have a less-than-enthused sentiment about writing or reading policies and procedures, you certainly are not alone!
In this article, we want to invite you to invigorate your approach. What if policies and procedures could be an active, flowing wellspring for your business, frequently visited and turned to regularly by all? If your company is already there, kudos! If not, read on for what is hopefully a little inspiration.
Protection in Documentation
As Attorney Lauren Valenzuela mentioned in her article, “The Importance of Well-Designed Policies and Procedures in Preparation of Regulation F,” policies and procedures will now be more than ever a critical component in defense strategy. It’s important that all employees responsible for following the documentation— not just those writing or maintaining it— understand that many of the specifications contained in the documents have a basis in laws, regulations, and best practices pertinent to the whole industry. Understanding this as well as the potential impact caused by deviations from the policies and procedures as they are written is just as critical as having the documents in place.
Bringing the documents to life starts with keeping them current and accessible (with standardized revision controls/protections in place). From there, make sure that daily work instructions are thorough and correctly aligned with the policies and procedures. If flowing from regulations and best practices should be strong policies and procedures, then flowing from policies and procedures should be strong work instructions and from strong work instructions should be employees who understand the reasons behind the instructions. Otherwise, it becomes easy to overlook or minimize a seemingly small detail that could actually become a crucial detail in client satisfaction or future defense strategy.
If employees are the boots on the ground to making policies and procedures come alive, training will be more important than ever. In addition to detailed work instructions, a consistent training strategy is key. Implementing Reg F well includes making sure current and future employees are adequately equipped with the information and understanding necessary to be an asset to the company’s risk-mitigating posture and not an unintentional liability. Given that the risk is often most exposed at the level of those working directly with consumers, company-wide compliance training is paramount.
If you’re not already routinely self-auditing to prepare for external audits and ensure compliance with ongoing and new requirements, 2022 is the time to start. Once policies, procedures, and work instructions are current and well understood, it’s time to design an internal audit schedule and system to deploy across teams. This will help keep everyone on the same page and hopefully ahead of the curve to catch and remediate any issues proactively.
Make it Interesting
For a team approach, thorough and applicable hands-on training, and ongoing review, we humbly propose a party. That’s right, dress it up and make it fun. Breathe some fresh air into those compliance quizzes (maybe Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune-style?) Whatever your take on it, the point is— make the time to take the time and make it engaging, because it matters. Happy New Year, and happy training!
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About Receivables Info
The Receivables Info team is led by receivables management industry veterans who wanted to create a website for the industry, by the industry. Their goal is to provide a voice to high-quality debt buyers, collection agencies, law firms, and industry veterans to share information about their businesses and their place within the marketplace and the community. The website provides relevant news alerts, articles, videos, and other receivables-related information to industry partners and colleagues around the industry and the globe. Receivables Info is also home to financial education resources for consumers through series like Money Chat.
The information contained in this article is meant to serve as general guidance for entry-level to mid-level ARM industry professionals and is not meant to serve as comprehensive business, legal, or financial advice.