How to Evaluate Policies & Procedures
Evaluating new organizational policies and procedures assesses the implementation of these new measures, as well as whether they achieve the objectives or alleviated the issues that led to their formulation. Policy evaluation is an important activity for businesses and non-profit organisations. Evaluations should occur on a regular basis, soon enough to intervene in any problems that may arise, but after the new procedures have had time to work. Evaluators of policies and procedures should solicit feedback from the target audience and from the personnel charged with implementing these new actions.
Establish the context for the evaluation by summarising any issues or problems that resulted in the adoption of new policies and procedures. State the goals and objectives these new policies are intended to accomplish. In addition, identify the target population of the new policies, as well as any populations, inside or outside of the organisation, that may be affected by the changes. New policies and procedures have unintended consequences, and an evaluation should take these into consideration.
Construct appropriate performance measures for determining the extent to which the policies and procedures being examined have achieved their intended goals. Remember to develop measures for assessing the efficiency with which new procedures are achieving results. For example, a new policy designed to ship customer orders more quickly should include a measure of the time required to process such orders.
Monitor the implementation of the new policies and procedures by soliciting feedback from the personnel responsible for implementation. You can achieve this through personal interviews, questionnaires, direct observation of their work or a combination of these.
Measure the effects of the policies and procedures being evaluated. Determine if the reason for the new policies still exists and the extent to which it has been affected. Consider changes in target populations and outcomes. To use the previous example, the person(s) in charge of evaluation should determine if customer orders are being shipped faster and if customers express greater satisfaction with service received.
Conduct follow-up evaluations at regular intervals--at least once a year is a useful guideline--to ensure fidelity of implementation and consistent favourable impact. Problems observed in these subsequent evaluations or unfavourable impacts may indicate a need for policy changes or revised procedures.
- Satisfaction or lack of complaint by target populations and implementation personnel is a valid, but insufficient, measure for evaluating new policies and procedures. While customer or implementer satisfaction may indicate improvements, it may merely signify failure to implement new procedures.