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This article shares some essential guidelines for policy development and implementation, and some suggestions on where to look for support.

Ask Employees

One crucial aspect of policy development is to ask employees for their input. Companies can tailor policies to fit their needs and create buy-in by consulting with employees. When people feel a part of the process, they are more likely to understand and implement the policy.

Ask Experts

Consulting with experts, such as human resources professionals, policy consultants, legal advisors, or occupational health and safety specialists, can provide valuable insights into developing compliant and best practice policies and supporting policy implementation.

Be Clear

Another crucial aspect of policy development is writing policies in clear and concise language accessible to everyone. Avoid using complicated jargon and unnecessary phrasing; clear language makes policies easier to understand and more likely to be absorbed into the culture. Consider translating your policies into different languages to support employees who speak multiple languages. Making workplace documents accessible is an important piece of equity and inclusion.


Being strategic about how and when policies are communicated is also essential. For example, consider reviewing key policy points during safety meetings, holding training sessions throughout the season, and posting bullet points on safety bulletin boards.

When posting on safety bulletin boards, remember that not everyone will read a dense five-page policy while sipping their morning coffee. Consider creating more engaging, condensed infographics that get the same information across.

Review and Update

Policies should be reviewed and updated regularly. Policies are living, breathing documents meant to be engaged with and grow as companies do. Therefore, companies must ensure policies meet best practices and regulations and act in their employees' best interests. A great time to review policies is when they need to be consulted. Here is an example:

There has been an issue in your company with substance use. After the issue has been resolved, you should review the applicable policies (there may be more than one to look at) and determine whether they supported the company during the issue and whether they are still meeting best practices and regulations. An excellent place for this to happen is on the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

Looking For Support?

There are several places to look for support when developing and implementing policies.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a resource on Health and Safety policy development and implementation.

WorkSafeBC offers hazard identification and risk assessment, workplace safety training, occupational health and safety regulations, and workplace wellness programs. This link describes WorkSafeBC’s approach to policy development.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, reaching out to professionals can help take your policies, and thus your company culture, to the next level.


In conclusion, focusing on policies and ensuring they are being realized and understood is crucial in creating the culture companies want to build and that employees want to be a part of.

When developing meaningful policies, it is crucial to make sure they are blended into the day-to-day environment so they don't become dusty pieces of paper inside a filing cabinet no one sees or engages with ever.

In my experience with policy, I've noticed there is "the written policy" and then there is the "what-actually-happens policy"; they are often different.

To ensure they are the same:

  • Include workers when reviewing or updating policies, this involvement creates buy-in and knowledge that will ripple throughout the organization, leading to culture change.

  • Consult with experts.

  • Write policies in clear, easy-to-understand language, and consider translations.

  • Post policies in easy-to-see places, use bullet points and be concise.

  • Discuss policies more than once to remind employees what the policies are and why they are essential.

  • Review, review, update, update - these are living breathing documents that expand and grow just like humans do. Don't let them get dusty!


Policy Building Guidelines, Tools, & Resources

In my experience, I've noticed there is the written policy and then there is what actually happens; they are often different.

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