When new procedures are sent out via email, it seems as if they are not read and when the employees get points taken off in an audit they act like they do not know about the new procedure.

We cannot stop and have an in-person meeting every time something changes. Some people are able to read the new procedure and ask questions if they don't understand, while others either don't read it or don't want to ask for help if they don't understand.

What can I do to ensure that my team is getting what they need without having to do meetings for every little procedure change?

I work in an environment where you have to be able to think on your own and ask the appropriate questions. Procedure changes are updated a few times a week to be more efficient or when necessary due to product changes.

Do you think we need to stop what we are doing and have a quick meeting every time something changes in the work flow?

By documenting the change and emailing it out, it should be read and followed. Having a meeting to read the procedures out loud might be helpful, but really not practical.

I work in the Insurance industry. Ever so often new guidelines set by the DOI for each state, forces us to adapt and request different forms from clients, make different system enhancements etc. I wouldn't say every week there is a change, but at least twice a month.

It could be a few times a week, usually not that many. Not sure why the amount is so important. My concerns involved the employees not reading the emails or not asking for help when they don't comprehend what they read.

I have heard everyone loud and clear! My boss and I have a plan to help with training, which includes quizzes with prizes, quick morning meetings, I might even send out a summary type newsletter, weekly to go over all changes, company info upcoming events, birthdays, some fun facts. I am going about this problem in a whole new way and look forward to some positive changes in my department.

  • 12
    The current answers focus on what to do when people don't follow the procedure, but nobody is answering why people aren't asking for help. I don't think anyone can know that, but there may be things about your organization that make asking for help seem unattractive to some. Might an employee think that asking for help would be perceived as a sign of inability? Are they worried about the time it would take to stop and ask for help? Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 17:10
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    How many extraneous emails are people getting? My employer (a US gov agency) sends out so many useless emails (and often multiple copies of the same ones) that useful, necessary info gets lost in the shuffle. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 17:23
  • 1
    How long are these e-mails, and how much time does the company allot for people to spend reading them and studying them and considering the consequences to their work?
    – jpmc26
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 4:01
  • Is the current work about following procedures or to actually add value to the company? Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 9:08
  • 1
    Is it possible that your employees are overworked? Adapting to a change in procedures or policies takes time and effort, and if your workers are already stretched thin... well, that's one possible explanation for what's happening. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 14:49

14 Answers 14


They aren't children and shouldn't be treated as such. I'll assume that you're the manager or have the ear of someone who is.

Hold them accountable. It's really not any more complicated than that. You simply state that fact. They will be held accountable for procedure changes that are sent through email.

Unfortunately, someone won't take you seriously and will have to suffer some consequences. There's always one. But they will soon get the point and adapt.

Here's the thing. People do adapt. And they need to adapt. Trust them to adapt but give them what they need which is a lesson in how serious you are.

One additional thing you can do is until they start abiding by the procedure changes, require each of them to reply to you on the emails that detail the changes that they've read it and whether they have any questions. Then they have no excuses. In fact, that's how I would begin holding them accountable.

Look at it like growing pains. They're not taking things seriously or they would be complying already. They just need a little push in the right direction.

  • 83
    According to the TC, procedures are changed multiple times in a week. It's unclear what industry we're talking about but I can't think of this being reasonable where you have to constantly check and acknowledge new procedures. To me, if they update their procedures so many times, they should expect some folks will not be able to keep up with it. If we're talking about once a month, then I would agree about accountability.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 14:15
  • 11
    This isn't a discussion of whether the policies are reasonable or not or whether they come too frequently. The fact is that the business makes the changes and employees are responsible for knowing them. If they find it reasonable or not, they can discuss that with their employer. I'm just answering to deal with the question that was asked.
    – Chris E
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 15:52
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    @ChristopherEstep True but at some point it becomes way too bureaucratic to even make a informed choice. Judging by what the TC said, you're basically saying "let's create new procedures to acknowledge the many updated procedures." Basically creating new procedures to follow on top of constantly changing procedures. At some point workers are just going to ignore it. Why couldn't it work in the opposite end? Maybe management is putting too much burden on the workers.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 15:58
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    @Marie In your comment from 4 hours ago you talked about multiple times a week.
    – Mast
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:52
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    @Marie The amount is important because we think you assume they don't understand. If the amount is too high, there's a good chance they simply can't be bothered with remembering them or a plethora of other reasons why they don't use them.
    – Mast
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 9:17

What can I do to ensure that my team is getting what they need without having to do meetings for every little procedure change?


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

George Bernard Shaw

Without having specifics on the proceedure changes or the industry you are referring to, I'll keep my answer open-ended.

1) Overhaul the emails:

  • Outline the procedure changes clearly and as detailed as needed.
  • Communicate these changes as auditable (consequence)
  • Explain the purpose of the change and the downstream effects. The Why of these changes is how you'll convince them.
  • Provide which resources are available to answer questions, Ie yourself.

Note: if you can't do all of the above via email, or if the email create more questions than clarity, you need to have meetings.

  • Maintain a consistent Subject Line for all procedure updates.
  • Track emails to determine who's actually opened them.
  • Link to a tertiary list of current procedures (master cheat sheet)
  • provide job-aids for more complicated changes (emails can't replace training)
  • If these changes are frequent, would be helpful to build a template, and send out the emails at expected time of day/week/month. You want a culture of "did you see this week's process fix?"
  • ensure that the mailing list consists of those who need to be on it.

2) Assuming that your email communications are perfect:

Determine why people aren't opening/reading them.

  • 'Corporate spam' can be a problem in larger institutions, if you are getting 50 important update emails, that aren't really important. the 2 that actually are will get buried.
  • Ensure that the people who need to read these emails have enough time in their workload to do so. If answering emails is a % of their job, help facilitate their time management.

Determine Why people aren't implementing the Procedure changes.

  • if the issue is cultural apathy, this is a different path entirely
  • Do the employees not see the value of the change in procedure? is there actual value added?
  • If the newest proceedure change contradicts the previous one, the constant waffling can be demoralizing.
  • Is the overall procedure(s) at this moment in time clearly defined from end-to-end. If the team doesn't have a clue what they are doing, changing an aspect of it won't be of any help. I can imagine that having a proceedure consisting of a string of emails, being very hard follow compared to an official document.

Ask your team for advice, or have them find a solution to the specific issue.

  • Ask your team how best to communicate these changes, perhaps there is a better forum than either an email or meeting.
  • Let them brainstorm initiatives to solidify the current procedure while amalgamating changes.

3) Procedure vs understanding cause/effect

you have to be able to think on your own and ask the appropriate questions

There is purpose behind proceedure. Everything that is being done is being done for a reason, and should have real-world consequences.

If these proceedure changes are no more than corporate legislation, perhaps it's time to question the system as a whole. These constant updates are frustrating to someone who has a day-to-day task surrounding them, especially if they aren't tangibly improving proceedure. Audits don't exist to employ auditors.

How does changing a dictated proceedure under penalty of audit ensure that the team is working to improve the processes they are involved with? Help the team understand the larger picture, think outside the procedure, and they will show you where the audit points should be.

  • 10
    Emailing procedure changes at fixed times would be a good improvement if at all possible. If these are changing weekly perhaps they could send them all at the same time, e.g. Thursday 10am when everyone is still awake. So employees will be expecting the email. This, the not constantly sending new changes, would also give everyone enough time to process it.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 17:17
  • 1
    @NateDiamond There tools that can be used to track read rate of communications, ie google sheets, or check box documents. Doing so creates another level of bureaucracy that should be avoided. An email from management should be deemed important. Period. In my experience these tools often mean that someone has to follow up tracking those who haven't 'confirmed'. This puts the responsibility on the sender, which is less than ideal. If a person didn't read my initial email, what are the chances they will read, 'read my email' emails. The recipients should be managing their inboxes, and accountable
    – R Star
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:24
  • 2
    @RStar Absolutely the responsibility should be on the receiver of the communication. That being said, from a business perspective if the cost of administering such as system is less than the cost of the damages of catching employees missing communications, then it's a profitable venture. Those who are not managing their inboxes should definitely be accountable, that I'm not arguing. The question is whether or not it's worth it to hold them accountable pre-damage or post-damage. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:37
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    In addition to Daniel's suggestion of sending it at a consistent time, a thing the communications folks started doing at my job is to call out items that employees need to act on right at the top of the email with links directly to the section discussing it. This should help if the procedure changes are being sent along with other information. If they are sent in a separate email, a consistent subject line (ex. "Weekly Procedure Update") should help.
    – BSMP
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:45
  • 9
    @Daniel: I had the same idea. The inconsistency is fraught with peril. A weekly e-mail that is always sent (even to say: no change this week) and is always sent at the same time will come to be expected by the employees. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 13:27

I will take a counter-part to existing answers by starting with a simple fact about myself: I never remember procedures. No matter the way they are written, no matter the constant stream of updates, I never remember procedures. The only way I have to follow a procedure is to read it as I go; fortunately, in my daily job, I have to use them infrequently enough that this does not significantly slow me down...

Did I mention I was a software engineer? I should have. If there is one lesson this has taught me it is that:

  • humans are very good at thinking out of the box, much less at following procedures (even in written form, they sometimes accidentally mess a step or skip it)
  • computers are very good at following procedures, much less at thinking out of the box

You stated in a comment:

I work in the Insurance industry. Ever so often new guidelines set by the DOI for each state, forces us to adapt and request different forms from clients, make different system enhancements etc. I wouldn't say every week there is a change, but at least twice a month.

Is there no way to let a computer handle what is the list of forms to be asked to a client, taking into account all the pesky details?

Then, instead of having to send e-mails to everyone any time this changes you would just update the program to start requiring new forms. Even better, if there is a date and time from which the change is effective, the date and time can be programmed right in so that the switch occurs at exactly the right time.

There are many ways to envisage fully automated or semi automated solutions, but the point is the same: instead of expecting employees to always stay on top of current changes, and punctiliously follow every single little change, use a computer to either display the procedures/list of forms, and/or cross-check that the employee didn't forget anything.

Given how good computers are at punctiliously following procedures, this should boost your audit ratings in the stratosphere. Even better, if you contract out the software and its maintenance (update of regulations), you can set up the correctness bar so that if the audit reveals the program made a mistake you can blame the provider company.

  • 2
    Man, I would love to have someone on my team who can't remember procedures and therefore always has to take the trouble to write them down. People like myself who (think we) can remember procedures are the bane of my life :-) Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 14:10
  • 1
    @SteveJessop: I'd rather be able to script them :D Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 15:35
  • 3
    It doesn't even need to be an automated solution at all. They could have a list (either on paper or a Google Doc or whatever) that indexes the current version of the constantly changing forms and procedures. Put each edition of the cheat sheet out on different colored paper so the current version is more clear ("hey Bob, green is last week's edition, you need the blue one"). Then all employees can refer to that list constantly as they do their job. Humans are bad at "turn the blue knob this week," "now turn the red knob," "now it's a green button" type of instructions. Give them a list. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 21:23
  • 18
    Nobody should have to remember all the procedures, or have to wade through the last few months' to check if a procedure has changed. They should always be readily available - and up-to-date - on the corporate network. Want to know how to purchase a Widget from Supplier A on a Thursday? Just search for the procedure, then follow what it tells you to do on the screen.
    – Simon B
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 22:11
  • 1
    Yes. What they really need just good IT consulting in place.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:06

Updating procedures by email doesn't work, full stop.

We cannot stop and have an in-person meeting every time something changes.

In that case I strongly suggest that it isn't worth to make the change in the first place. Having a meeting to announce changes may take 2-3 minutes more than just sending an email, if you can't spend the time for the meeting the change is not important. Your employees get that, and treat such changes like they are not important.

To implement new procedures, you need to treat your employees like adults and hold them accountable, but you yourself need to behave like an adult too. Every change to procedures is overhead for you and for your employees as well. Proper communication is important, so just sending an email is not acceptable. The procedures also need to respect the employees time, so no changing of procedures just for the sake of change - otherwise you send the signal that working and helping the company is less important than following random ever-changing rules.

EDIT: If the requirements change extremely often e.g. "if user from state X, new procedure is to also make them fill form Y", then you don't make each requirement a procedure. Instead you just make a single procedure to follow the requirements: "on new application, look up the current required forms by state on intranet://requirements.html, and send the corresponding forms to applicant".

  • 1
    No need to call out your edits. Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 14:57
  • 1
    @DanHenderson it's result of not reflexted in Q information from maria comments, and it significantly changes key of his answer. I find it nice, that he noticed that with edit tag.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:50
  • 2
    @DanHenderson I usually call out my edits if they change content and I previously received upvotes for the original content.
    – Peter
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 20:21

Absolutely not what you want to hear, but I firmly believe in Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools. In this case, your emails.

By all means, send the emails, but set aside 30 minutes a week to meet in person with your team to discuss them. There is absolutely no replacement for face to face interaction with the people you work with.

Sound crazy? Yeah... I know, but I meet with my team for 15 minutes every morning and we're way more in sync than you could believe. Each and every day information is disseminated through the team and everyone knows exactly what is expected out of every team member. Every. Day.

Piling process on process and tools on top of tools isn't going to solve your problem. Communicating in the most effective manner, face to face, might though.

  • 3
    I would say 30 minutes to meet the team every time the procedures change - its easy to send an email, and that's why bosses do it. But if the boss has to actually plan a meeting to describe the change, then the procedure changes suddenly aren't as important as they used to appear to be... strange that.
    – gbjbaanb
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 7:57

Procedures change are updated a few times a week to be more efficient

Employees are probably encountering a sense of diminished importance for the procedures due to the high volume of procedural changes. In essence, procedures change so often that the new rules seem less important individually.

In general, even a good procedure change has an initial cost in efficiency during an adjustment period. As you change procedures more often, that initial cost can overwhelm the benefit of the changes.

I would address both of these problems by limiting procedure changes to once a week wherever possible, so that it is part of the weekly startup routine. When the changes are bundled, and delivered on a schedule, they will seem more important and less intrusive.

Procedure changes that must happen immediately will naturally get more attention because there will be fewer unexpected changes in the inbox. If a procedure change is required in the middle of the week, try to send it around the same time of day, only once per day.

  • 2
    Good answer, but once a week? How about once a year, or at most once a quarter? People shouldn't have to be constantly changing what they are doing.
    – Warren Dew
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 2:21
  • @WarrenDew yes that is. If you read comments in accepted answer, you will see this is actually not working procedures, but regulations which have to be accommodated. Looks like work is the same, just result have to be different and what have be done is already described somewhere. It's more question of organization of information.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 14:55
  • @WarrenDew If OP can actually control that, certainly. It sounds like these are dictated from outside the department and, in some cases, from outside the business. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 16:37

A lot of good answer already on the list. But I will give my 2 cents from the lower perspective ( I am not a manager ). Ask your team member the simple question.

"Hey you missed acknowledging this procedure change (in result points were deducted during audit), what can we do to ensure the next change notification will be noted?"

and listen to their input. An accommodating manager will ensure an employee loyalty.

The lack of employee "not taking things seriously" is the manager's responsibility to ask "WHY?"

we the employee not "taking things seriously" is not intentional. but it is due to lack of leadership.

Explain to your team member why procedure are being updated often, share your growing pain with them.


Here is a shocker: they are asking for help. If procedures that can result in failing audits change multiple times per week, then as an employee I have two options:

  • develop a method of making sure that every time I start a procedure I have taken time to verify that my procedure book is current.
  • gamble that my most recent set of documents is close enough.

It looks like some of the employees have picked the second option.

Now is the time for management to acknowledge that the email system for distributing critical changes is fatally flawed. So management has to find a way that employees can always pull-up the current official procedure. There are industries where they have to have the latest procedures followed: think nuclear power plants.

  • 1
    I have heard everyone loud and clear! My boss and I have a plan to help with training, which includes quizzes with prizes, quick morning meetings, I might even send out a summary type newsletter , weekly to go over all changes, company info upcoming events, birthdays.. some fun facts. I am going about this problem in a whole new way and look forward to some positive changes in my department.
    – Marie
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 2:42
  • 6
    News letters and parties can be used to encourage them to follow the new procedure. But the new procedure is to develop a 100% way that all employees can refer to the officially updated set of rules, without having to use email updates. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 11:26
  • 4
    Exactly. It's not about prizes or celebrating birthdays. Give them the tools they need to do their jobs better. Human beings are bad at remembering a constantly changing set of detailed rules (there are entire video games, such as Papers Please, based on this fact). Humans are much better at going down the most recent version of a checklist. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 21:26
  • 1
    Company newsletters are not fun or interesting.
    – anomaly
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 6:33
  • 1
    Yes, it's the working aids. Redirect whatever energy you're directing toward the Fun Newsletter to making sure they always have the right working aids.
    – brian_o
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:25

What you need is a web/wiki page, that is permanently updated.

Left side shows current procedures, the right side shows a list of all changes, the newest on top. Each change is just a short version "use 95°C instead 93°C when cooking substrate", and when you click on it, you get the full version that explains the whys.

Let people check that page 2-3 times a week to stay up to date. You can also do a random quiz from time to time if that is appropriate, there are apps for that.

  • +1 for the definite reference AND the list of updates; however instead of expecting people to come and read I would have a new e-mail in their mailbox on Monday morning when they arrive summarizing all the new changes applicable from today onwards. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 13:29
  • 1
    +1000 While it may or may not be viable from an organizational standpoint to change, the clear culprit here is the communication method, not the employees. If in-person updates are not viable, a network based solution that can filter out all the obviously less-relevant material is much preferred. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 22:46
  • @MatthieuM. They do not have read them all, they just open them morning, scan visually by topics if there are some changes for that type work they have to do today or right now. Do that for each new type of of todays work.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:21

It seems as if they are not read and when they get points taken off in an audit they act like they do not know about the new procedure

Face it the emails are not working. With all the emails I get managing new procedures on an email by email basis would difficult. I get some people will make it a priority and comply. For others making them acknowledge they got the email and read is not going to fix it. When they fail the audit are they claiming they never got the email?

Have a couple mid level workers review a procedure before it goes out to make sure it makes sense to them. Maybe the person that had the worse audit get to be on the review team.

For me I would want an application that had all the procedure organized by topic / flow. And another section with all new / changed procedures ordered by date with more recent first. I would would a want check box that I can mark it as read.

I know it may seem like overkill but form a team and task them with improving procedure compliance.

First you need to educate people on the purpose and importance of procedures.

Second look for best way to distribute updates.

Third you need to have an internal program for measuring compliance.

  • I was about to answer in regards to your 3rd point. If it is really that important consider using compliance software. Something like metacompliance. If that one work like it used to then users would be forced to read and acknowledge policy information before they could use their computers. It would make the users more accountable and remove the excuses.
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 16:06
  • 2
    @Matt This should be implemented only as a last resort. Top-down heavy handed approaches like this are usually less successful than convincing the employees why these emails are important.
    – R Star
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:33
  • @RStar You would categorize this as "Top-down heavy handed approach"?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:36
  • @RStar That very much depends on the nature of the business and the policies that need to be enforced. Size can play a large factor as well. I think here Mostly just to increase awareness and accountability. It might be considered heavy handed yes. I have not had that impression in my experience. It is not a sure fired solution but something to consider.
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:46
  • @Matt military, rocket science - yes possible use cases (not sure best trough) Maria say's she works in insurance, not sure how much error costs here, and how serious are consequences. You may read comments in accepted answer.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:16

Not all workers are created the same, some will be quick to adapt to new policies and procedures and some......wont. Having procedures change multiple times a week is only going to make it harder for those that cant adapt as quickly. Instead of such frequent changes would it be possible to instead have new procedures come out every other week? In a optimal world, you would be able to email out the new procedure on Wednesday and have a brief meeting to go over them on Friday. That way they have two days to read and think about any questions they have before the new procedure goes into place starting the next Monday.


The most reliable way to get people to do things in a certain way is to make that way easy and obvious, and make it hard to do (or even think to do) otherwise.

This means you don't just tell them to change — you have to have a hook in the way they do things, and change that so they do the right thing automatically.

As a simple example, rather than tell them that the procedure for doing task T is

  • Do X, then Y, then Z

you create a list L, put X, Y, and Z on the list, and then tell them the procedure is

  • Call up check list L and follow the steps there

Then, to ensure there aren't obstacles that would tempt employees to just memorize the steps, you ensure that the list is easy to find and access, with a minimum of frustration involved that would tempt them to just memorize the steps and perform them without reference to L.

To further tempt people into doing the right thing, you don't make L a simple list, you add information and tools (or references to such) that help people carry out the individual steps X, Y, and Z.

Or even go all the way and make a tool that assists people in carrying out task T that works and is convenient to use — once you get people hooked on the idea that "you use tool L to do task T" and tool L is actually usable, they would rarely even consider doing it any other way.

And now, when the procedures change, you just update L.

  • 1
    without reflecting changes, just instruction will not work, they will think they know(memorizing). Not so easy, although right direction.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:46
  • 2
    I came here to answer "use checklists". That is exactly how the aviation industry does it.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 10:56

The (very good) answers so far assume that the employees are enthusiastic professionals.

I will take the example of employees who firstly care about their well-being.

  • are they punished (fired, hit on pay) if they do not follow the procedures?
  • are these procedures positive to them (less work, simpler work, more interesting work, recognition)?
  • are these procedures good "bottom-coverers" (if they use them they will be free from consequences elsewhere)?

If there is not at least one yes answer then you will have a hard time to have them implemented -- if the employees are not the ideal enthusiastic professional we would like everyone (including ourselves) to be.

The solution in that case it to find a way for at least one yes.

  • Can you squeeze stone to get water, yes. Have you, no. Any sort of punishment, which they already have as I understood, without understanding real roots of problem will not work as good as expected. If you squeeze water, it have path to flow, somewhere, or it makes task very hard. As time of slavery is gone, in most places, you can't squeeze peoples to death and selecting only survivors. I do not think you meant than, it's hyperbola. In any punishment way, there have to be defined, before you go that way, a stop line, where you say it's not efficient. And for them it's probably now.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 15:38
  • @MolbOrg: I do not really get where you are going to. What slavery has to do in all of that? Or squeezing people to death?
    – WoJ
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 12:47
  • This is from concept of stop line. In some cases, there are natural boundaries for action. When stop line is't defined in absolute value, but defined relatively, as example we have to push a little harder. When this a little did not helped as we like, and we assumed for our selfs that system is perfect, we have only choose push more. Eventually at some point something may crack and we succeeded, or we reach natural boundary. If we push big rock probably we will reach limit, if something with wheels probably we will succeed at some extend. Result depends how good starting system was.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 13:34
  • I observed for long enough time, how management tries to push rocks, instead of thinking, and I'm very outraged with such cases. We talking about humans, we have to be more careful, and invest our efforts to thinking first. Humans are naturally social creatures, they naturally have team association in mind. Using that is't not even exploiting, but giving what human need. Very few percentage have troubles intended. Most people don't. I had hard time to explain that in RL, but it worked for me.
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 13:34

So far I haven't seen a real answer here, and I've seen a very nicely working system in the company I once worked for. It's called

Governed documentation.

It works like this: you setup a system where all your guidelines are stored in a PDF file (or similar) and every employee has her own access account.

Every instruction/regulation/procedure document has a unique identification, a name, contents (the file) and a in-effect bit (is or is not in effect. Naturally this can be developed into effect time span or whatever).

Every document in the system is mandatory and regulatory for all users it's been assigned to. Every user is informed when a new document is published and assigned to her, prior to the document becoming effective.

Every user has to confirm via a form that she has read the new document (which means, all effective documents, one by one) assigned to her.

It can be thus officially determined whether the coworker in question has officially read the document or not, and corresponding (manageria, disciplinar) action may be taken when necessary (document in effect and not yet read by your subordinate, for example).

The best thing about it is that I as an employee had the possibility, everytime I felt necessary, to check which documents are in effect, which have been superseded with others etc. It works for both management and employees and is a real help.

Note: such system is used very successfully, for example, in software engineering for tracking issues. It is necessary because all the phone calls and emails end up totally paralyzing people who have other, more important things to do, than to organize a mess of information and doing unnecessary bookkeeping. I can imagine such a system will pay itself very quickly in your environment by improving overall efficiency and removing a big pain in the butt for many of your coworkers.

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