Implementing New Guidelines for Your Journal

Sometimes, implementing new guidelines can be tricky. You might have staff that have been trained to do things a certain way, and now you need to change that. This might result in a period of time where errors occur. Worse yet, you might have a situation where employees don’t want to implement new changes for any number of reasons.

Change can be frightening, so it’s important for you to clearly communicate with your team. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to implement new screening guidelines or making changes to the way that employees check in and out of the office, make sure you explain the changes.

Why do you need to implement new guidelines?

There can be a number of different reasons why you need new guidelines. Usually though, the most common answer is a variation of the same answer:

“Our needs are not being effectively met by current guidelines”.

In these cases, failure to change guidelines can cost time or other resources. It could also have major negative impacts on your journal and its reputation. Let’s consider two different situations that might demand implementing new guidelines:

  1. Replacing an existing workflow;
  2. Avoiding a previously unknown issue.

Replacing an existing workflow

Workflows often need to change over time. Something that works for a team of 5 doesn’t usually work for a company of 15,000 employees. So over time, things that “used to work” might need to be replaced, and might include things like implementing new guidelines. Workflows can become ineffective due to the success of your journal.

When you first start your journal, and you are handling a low volume of papers, you might find that a simple Excel spreadsheet is good enough to keep track of your English editing team. Over time, using a spreadsheet might become onerous. Your team might be spending hours trying to keep the document up to date.

While a journal management system can be a powerful tool to save time in situations like this, it might not always be the best fit for your journal at the time.

When a workflow is causing problems, it’s time to examine that workflow.

Avoiding a previously unknown issue

Sometimes, changes to the way that your journal does things isn’t related to efficiency. Sometimes, changes are needed for other reasons.

If a flaw in the workflow is detected, this might cost you time and money. Making changes to the way things are done can help to correct this. Small and big companies often have very different views of clocking in and out of work. When your team is 5 people, taking 10 minutes longer on a break, or leaving 20 minutes earlier might happen.

After all, it’s only 20 minutes.

When one person does this, it’s the sort of thing that can simply not have an impact. When you have a staff of 1000 people, this can wind up being dozens of hours that just disappear. The bigger your journal gets, the more likely it is you’ll want to install some form of check-in system to make sure that employees are putting in the hours that they’re supposed to put in.

Implementing new guidelines and flexibility

Remember, implementing a new system doesn’t mean that you have to be inflexible. You can still make allowances, but you need to make sure that “allowances” don’t become “the norm”. Being an understanding manager is important for the morale of your departments, but you still have targets to hit.

Losing dozens or hundreds of hours of work because staff feel that attendance isn’t a strict requirement isn’t good.

Cases like this are examples of why you want to consider flexibility in the way you implement these changes.

Communicate why you’re implementing new guidelines

Communication with your team is important. Generally, the best way to get results from your team is to explain to them why changes are needed.

Your staff will understand changes and are likely to adopt changes quickly if they’re told why these are important. Not explaining changes might result in a slower uptake of change. Remember, the longer that it takes for new guidelines to be implemented, the more confusion might arise throughout the process.

While minor changes can still be explained, sometimes changes are made for critical reasons. Email might need to be adopted because employees were not being sufficiently polite, for example. In this case, full compliance should be achieved as soon as possible. The longer it takes, the more likely it is that an author will be inadvertently offended. Worse yet, they might take to social media to tell people about their experience.

Your team will understand the importance of things if you tell them.

How to communicate guideline changes

How you communicate new guidelines can change on a case by case basis. If your managers will be handling the bulk of the communication, a meeting where they can ask questions is helpful. If you need to tell 500 people about expected changes, a clear and concise email might be better.

Implementing new guidelines might be minor issues, but they also could be critical. Knowing how best to communicate each is important.

Time lines for implementing new guidelines

Once you’ve decided what the new guidelines need to be, you need to establish a clear time line for them to be implemented. Be realistic. Don’t expect adoption of all changes to be immediate—some things take longer to implement. Having a time line is critical to ensure that you can then start to address non-compliance. There are lots of different ways to address this, but in the vast majority of cases, a brief conversation or email can solve this.

Make sure that you allow for enough time for changes to be adopted.

Remember, communicating with your team is critical to the success of your journal.

D.J. McPhee
18 March 2024Posted inOperational Tasks
Post authorD.J. McPhee