We will support you to create effective policies and procedures related to technology. Here are a few tips on how to develop them for your organization.
Tips on building technology-related policies and procedures
It’s a good idea to review your present policy and procedure manual anytime you change the services you deliver or how your agency does its work. As you move to integrate technology into your service delivery portfolio, it is important to ensure that you have policies and procedures to frame this work (which will likely be new policies and procedures) and that relevant existing policies and procedures are updated to reflect your use of technology.
Understand the technology
Understand the technology terms that you may use in your policy and procedures manual. Provide a glossary for those terms within your policy and procedures so that everyone –staff, Board, volunteers, clients — is on the same page.
Practice makes policy
As with any new programming/operational initiative in an organization, you may not know all of the pieces to the policy puzzle when you adopt a new technology tool. Start with a practice, learn from that practice and then build it into a policy and the procedures needed to support the policy.
Train, train, train
Whatever you do in terms of policy and procedure development, you should plan for ongoing staff training to ensure everyone is up to speed with your organization’s framework for using technology for the delivery of services or for interagency communication. The training should address the policies and procedures as well as operational protocols and skills development such as, in particular, counselling and communication techniques to assist in:
- establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries between frontline staff and clients
- what to do when a client stops responding in an online conversation
- responding to complex emotions that may arise during an online conversation
- handling an online disclosure that indicates the support seeker is in immediate danger
- ending an online conversation appropriately
Personal devices for work
Challenges arise when staff use their personal devices for work, particularly for communicating with clients, including staff safety and privacy, client safety and privacy, setting and maintaining appropriate work/personal boundaries for staff and accessibility issues for staff who choose not to or cannot afford to have electronic devices. We encourage you to have discussions about these challenges within your organization, including with your Board of Directors, so you can move forward in whatever direction you have decided on feeling confident that you have organizational agreement and the necessary policies and procedures as well as practices in place.
Whether a staff member is using a personal or work phone, the principles are the same.
If your staff are required to use their personal devices for work, this requirement should appear in any job postings and all position descriptions.
Provided by Pamela Cross
Member of the PRIMAL GLOW Communications Consulting Team