Several nonprofits working alongside immigrant and refugees in Aurora and the east Denver Metro came together to synergistically approach their work and increase their impact.  These various organizations met and discussed overlapping constituents, missions and visions, and goals and objectives.  The result: The Aurora Welcome Center (AWC).


AWC Website pic

The Aurora Welcome Center.


Now that the agencies are in one place, they are working on becoming leaders in co-location best practices.  A growth edge has been that of policy and procedures.

Ew—boring.  But maybe not.

Let’s look at some of their best practices and then ways to make organizational policy useful in practice.

Formalizing Co-Locating: Policy

Team members from the Aurora Welcome Center are working to formalize policies to foster optimal shared space collaboration among tenants.  Some of their best practices have included staff informed policies, systems that allow for regular feedback from all members, and ways to incorporate ongoing feedback back into policy and procedures.  Some of the challenges have included “selling” the policies and fostering buy in.  Nothing new there.

We’ve all seen the policy and procedure handbook.  And then we’ve all forgotten about it.

Policy Made Easy

Since policies are vital and in place for a reason, they are best leveraged when they are understood and remembered.  Here are some quick tips to help your org policies stick with your team.

Synthesize Info: Simple is better.  While the actual policy and procedures manual may need to be detailed, long, and within [insert governing agency here] compliance, the delivery of the information should be easy to understand and remember.

  • Choose key words or phrases that matter most.
  • Use these key words and phrases in trainings, company PowerPoint’s, presentations, flyers, and building signage.Don’t be afraid to repeat. Repetition is good here.

    Signage for Kitchem

    An Example of Visually Appealing Signage.

Make It Visually Appealing: Good design transmits messages faster and makes them stick longer.  The following websites provide user-friendly templates for making graphically appealing designs.  And they are free.

Make It relevant:  Think of team member needs or roles within the organization, organizational direction, and generating an ongoing connection between the two.  Some policies regarding tidy shared spaces may not need a long explanation.  Others, such as those promoting a specific organizational culture or a spirit of collaboration may be more abstract.  Bringing it into context and making clear the relevance to the person and the broader organization is also a way of creating shared meaning.

As you are prom

oting policy, ask yourself:
How do these policies support team members in getting their job done?  Explain how so.
How do they serve to move the mission forward?  Make that clear.

For example, you might promote how effective collaboration is a cornerstone how we achieve our mission and vision.

Common phrases to facilitate shared meaning could include:

Such and such policy…

  • is in place because it is the way by which we deliver on our mission.
  • matters as it supports us in meeting the vision we are all working toward.
  • aligns with our shared values as an organization.