Want to win the battle of compliance in the war against regulation? Read this seven-point checklist, which will help you create a battle-ready plan towards mastering compliance in your business.
Let’s be honest – Compliance plays a crucial role in any business organisation, regardless of its size or industry. Achieving compliance necessitates a myriad of steps in between, like understanding the regulatory environment and compliance requirements, developing a compliance program, conducting regular audits, and training employees on policies and procedures.
In this article, we will reveal seven non-negotiable milestones to increase compliance within your organisation, using the “battle” analogy as a reference point.
- Know the “ins and outs” of regulations
When a commander sends his soldiers to battle, they must know the terrain, weather conditions and enemy manpower if they expect to win.
You have to do the same with your own battle with regulations. In your case, one of the first steps to achieving compliance is to thoroughly understand the regulatory environment and the compliance requirements that apply to your company. This depends on its size, industry, location, and more.
Research and analyse relevant laws, regulations, and standards in the region you operate in, whether it’s the EU, North America, or beyond. It’s important to keep up-to-date with regulatory changes and updates that may affect your compliance obligations. Seeking advice from legal professionals and industry experts can also help in developing an effective compliance strategy.
Additionally, it’s important to understand the consequences of non-compliance. Failing to comply with regulatory requirements can result in legal and financial penalties, damage to your organisation’s reputation, and even criminal charges in some cases. Therefore, it’s vital to prioritise compliance efforts and allocate resources accordingly to ensure that your organisation is meeting all necessary requirements.
- Develop a Foolproof Compliance Program
Going back to the commander analogy – to win the battle, they must have a plan of attack.
The same applies to your business.
Implementing a compliance program in your organisation is equivalent to your plan of attack. The compliance program – or “plan of attack” – should outline the policies and procedures that your organisation must follow to stay compliant. The program should also include measures to prevent, detect, and respond to any compliance violations. Once that is prepared, make sure the program is properly communicated to all employees and accessible at all times.
Additionally, it’s important to regularly review and update the compliance program to ensure it remains effective and relevant. This can be done through regular risk assessments and evaluations of the program’s performance.
By developing and maintaining a strong compliance program, your organisation can avoid costly penalties and reputational damage, while also promoting a culture of ethical behaviour and accountability.
- Train Your Employees
A commander can have the most foolproof plans, advanced weapons and numerical advantages, but if their soldiers are untrained, they are staring at inevitable defeat.
So, don’t neglect the training of employees.
In your context – Training employees on compliance policies and procedures is crucial in ensuring that they are aware of their obligations and can help detect and prevent compliance violations. Employees should know what is expected of them and the risks associated with non-compliance. Training programs should not be limited to new employees; all employees should receive regular training on changes to policies and procedures to ensure that they remain up-to-date. This will ensure they can continue detecting, preventing and defeating threats they face on the battlefield.
It is equally important to ensure that the training is effective and engaging. This can be achieved by using a variety of popular training methods, such as in-person workshops and interactive simulations. Try finding alternatives to the dull online courses that most will likely sim-read or skip. Additionally, quality training must allow employees to ask questions and provide feedback during the training sessions.
By providing effective training, companies can reduce the risk of compliance violations and keep their employees fully kitted against all manner of compliance risks and violations.
- Use Technology to Your Advantage
Imagine this. Your soldiers are outnumbered 2 to 1. But you have a fleet of fortified modern tanks with incredible firepower. Would your chances at victory change?
In the same way – embracing technology will only make the compliance battle easier for you. Advanced software like Sahal Verifai’s “compliance as a service” platform can help organisations verify customer identities and manage their data with more efficiency than ever before. Other compliance management software can be used to track compliance tasks, alert employees to compliance requirements, and generate compliance reports. The use of technology can also help automate processes, thereby reducing the risk of human error.
Additionally, the use of technology can improve communication and collaboration among employees involved in compliance monitoring and reporting, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Use technology as a “force multiplier” in your quest to win the battle of compliance.
- Keep Watch of Common Violations
If a commander isn’t keeping watch of deserters or saboteurs, the battle can quickly turn ugly.
In the same way, it is vital for your organisation to remain watchful of common compliance violations. Monitoring errors, violations and slips can help organisations understand where they need to re-focus their compliance efforts. Some common compliance violations include inadequate record-keeping, failure to conduct regular audits, and lack of employee training. And by doing the opposite of what’s included in this checklist!
Another common compliance violation is the failure to properly secure sensitive data. This can include not using strong passwords, not encrypting data, or not properly disposing of confidential information. Your company must implement strong security measures to protect sensitive data and regularly review and update its security protocols to stay ahead of potential threats.
- Build a Pro-Compliance Culture
A key ingredient of successful militaries is a culture that promotes the right behaviour. This is a lesson we can all learn from.
Building a culture of compliance within your organisation helps to ensure that all employees understand the importance of compliance and are committed to maintaining it. A culture of compliance requires not only effective policies and procedures but also leadership support and a commitment to ethical behaviour. When all employees are committed to compliance, it becomes an integral part of the organisational culture.
One way to build a culture of compliance is to provide regular training and education to employees. This can include training on relevant laws and regulations, as well as company policies and procedures. By providing ongoing education, employees are better equipped to identify potential compliance issues and take appropriate action. Additionally, training can help to reinforce the importance of compliance and the role that each employee plays in maintaining it.
- Measure and Analyse Results
As is common in successful militaries, every strategy and tactic is rigorously assessed to see if it’s delivering the results desired.
Measuring the effectiveness of your compliance program is essential to ensure that it remains effective and relevant. The effectiveness of a compliance program can be measured by assessing compliance metrics such as the number of non-compliance incidents, employee training scores, and audit results. Regular measurement of these metrics can help your business identify gaps in the system and adjust the compliance program as described in point 2, to ensure it remains effective in solving your problems.
By following these seven key milestones, your organisation will find itself better prepared against the myriad of risks that threaten compliance.
And ultimately, it’ll enjoy better results across the board, including improved reputation, customer uptake, retention and trust.