What Does It Take To Build A Culture Of Compliance?
Businesses need to remain compliant with the law to reduce their risk of litigation and improve the quality of their services. But remaining compliant is challenging. The law is incredibly complex, and firms run the constant risk of doing something they shouldn’t.
The trick here is to build a culture of compliance. This way, leaders can ensure that everyone in their firm is working towards the same goal.
However, building a compliance culture is challenging. Teams often have entrenched views. And many may not want to follow the law. A lot of regulations are politically-motivated and have nothing to do with safety, wellbeing, or the environment.
In this post, we take a look at some of the ways you can build a compliance culture in your organization and reduce the risks that you face. Being compliant is about more than just following the letter of the law. It’s also about remaining within the spirit of it, too.
Make Sure That Compliance Is Something That Comes From The Top
Compliance won’t happen unless you set the tone from the top. If you are personally indifferent to compliance, then that sentiment will filter down through the rest of your team and, before you know it, you’ll be breaking rules all over the place.
Therefore, you’ll need to provide personal oversight of the compliance culture in your organization. It’s your job to determine your compliance strategy and instill its importance in your company’s leaders. You want people on your team who embody the best practices and behaviors that compliance requires.
If managers don’t follow compliance rules in their own behavior, discipline or fire them. Set an example to the rest of the team of why following regulations and procedures are so important. Make it clear that jobs are on the line.
Bring Employees Into The Fold
The next step is to bring employees into the fold and create a groundswell of opinion that compliance matters. If onboarding workers, talk to them about your compliance policies from the start and why they matter. Point out how everyone on the team prioritizes compliance.
Make it clear that ethics are the real value in your organization. Because you conduct yourself with integrity, you are more likely to succeed than your competitors.
Don’t underestimate the value of education. Online GDPR training can instruct employees on why compliance is so important, motivating them to operate in a compliant manner long-term. Once they have a reason to follow the rules, they are much more likely to do so.
Get Compliance Teams To Guide, Not Dictate
Companies often view compliance teams as people who ride in and fix issues once they get out of hand. And while that is certainly a part of their role, they are also valuable guides, showing firms the path forwards.
You’ll need to be careful when developing the compliance arm of your business. There is a tendency for other departments to view it as a safety net: something they can rely on if they get into trouble.
This approach, though, is dangerous because it opens the firm up to reputation and litigation. Ideally, you want to prevent this from happening by using your compliance team as a guide for the rest of your enterprise. They can use their knowledge to avoid operational issues and bypass the dangers of official audits.
Make Company Processes Clear
You could have the best compliance culture in the world, but if company processes aren’t clear, workers won’t know what to do on the ground. They may want to stay within the spirit and letter of the law but can’t because they don’t have any protocols to follow.
Naturally, you don’t want to make your protocols too stringent. That can be just as bad as not having enough of them. However, at the same time, you’ll want to make sure that there are some guides that workers can follow, particularly if they are still getting to grips with the compliance landscape.
Putting a compliance framework in place helps you to embed the right behaviors. Over time, being compliant becomes reflexive and second nature for many employees. They start doing it automatically, without really thinking about it.
Use Technology To Enhance Your Compliance
Technology is a fabulous resource for improving compliance in businesses because of its ability to amass data and leverage it for insight. Technology also helps firms track employees, particularly those working remotely, giving it tremendous insight into what they are doing.
Because of this, leveraging technology should be one of your priorities. You can use it in practically any arena of your business to boost compliance and ensure that things are being done by the book.
For instance, supply chain compliance can be challenging. Keeping track of what third-party suppliers are doing isn’t always easy. However, technology provides a helpful solution. Today, there are plenty of tools that make it easy, if not trivial, to track packages, see where they’ve been, and where they are going.
There are also better tools for monitoring what employees are saying and doing. Internal email systems can flag inappropriate behavior and add that to an inventory of evidence to use at an employment tribunal.
You can also use technology for “virtual water cooler chats.” These are check-ins with employees to get the latest on what they are doing and the progress they are making.
Make Compliance Relatable
In many cases, compliance can feel like somebody else’s problem. Many frontline employees assume that firms are taking care of regulatory issues for them, without considering their personal role.
Because of this, leaders need to find ways to make compliance more relatable. Firms should tell workers practical steps that they can take to improve their personal compliance rating. This could involve changing the way they address employees, operating according to different standards, or sharing real-life stories that bring compliance issues to life.
While doing this, make sure that your door is open to discuss compliance issues whenever the need arises. Employees should feel confident about approaching you when it involves remaining within the law.