Communicating your compliance strategy can be a critical problem when operationalizing compliance, because operationalizing compliance is usually perceived as a top-down exercise. The reality is that the employee base that must execute the compliance strategy is often not considered. Even when there are comments from employees on compliance initiatives, they are often derisively characterized as “push-back” and not taken into account in moving the compliance effort forward.
It can be difficult for an employee base to implement a strategy that they do not understand—even with a company-wide training rollout, followed by e-mails from headquarters and periodic reports back on results. There are too few communications, and most are one-way. Companies need to make sure they have robust communication, and the tips below can help with that effort.
(1) Work with the HR department to come up with appropriate financial incentives. A bonus can send a powerful message to employees that the company takes compliance seriously. There is nothing like putting your money where your mouth is for people to stand up and take notice.
(2) Make HR part of the interview process. More than conducting ongoing assessments of employees for promotion into leadership positions, HR can assist on the ground floor. HR can take the lead in asking questions around compliance and ethics in the interview process. Studies have suggested that Gen Y & Xers appreciate such inquiries and want to work for companies that make such business ethics a part of the discussion. By having the discussion during the interview process, you not only set expectations, you also begin the training process on compliance.
(3) Above all, you need to get out and tell the compliance story. It is often said that you have to repeat something at least 10 times for an organization to fully internalize it. If there is a disconnect between your compliance strategy and how your employee base is implementing or even interpreting that strategy, get out of the office and go out to the field. But you need to do more than simply talk—you need to listen. This will help to align your company’s compliance strategy with both the delivery and in the field.