Compliance can be difficult to visualize. People tend to think of it in terms of checklists, clipboards and stacks of paper, or as an extensive and largely invisible web that connects various abstract organizational concepts. Just perform an image search for the word “compliance” and you’ll see what I mean, as well as a slew of word clouds, puzzle pieces and road signs.
It’s a lot of metaphors without a whole lot of meaning—not exactly helpful for someone who doesn’t already grasp the subject.
OCEG’s “Balance Your Compliance Program” Infographic
One of the reasons I love the Open Compliance and Ethics Group is their ability to distill heady compliance topics into images anyone can understand. Their latest GRC Illustrated infographic, which you can find online or in the August issue of Compliance Week, beautifully illustrates how an integrated compliance system that balances the creation and management of policies helps organizations better resolve regulatory issues.
Let’s walk through this infographic step by step.
Step 1: Identify Relevant Regulations
A balanced workforce compliance program starts with a solid strategy—which itself is designed around relevant regulations. As the CFPB and other agencies promulgate new laws and rules, it’s up to compliance managers to update their organizations’ policies in light of these changes.
Step 2: Assess Risks
- “What haven’t we accounted for?”
- “What challenges stand in the way of implementing our strategy?”
- “What are the consequences of noncompliance—in terms of fines, damage to our reputation and negative perception among our customers?”
Compliance officers, HR managers, in-house counsel, CFOs and others tasked with policy development must answer these questions in order to assess risks.
Step 3: Policy Development
Next, it’s time to sit down and actually create the compliance policy. This includes looking at capabilities and criteria to determine scope and resource requirements, as well as drafting and updating the corresponding documentation.
Step 4: Define and Assign Roles to Employees
A policy won’t accomplish much on its own. Employees need to carry out that policy to ensure compliance remains an ongoing aspect of doing business. Roles clarify each employee’s responsibilities, making compliance easy to execute and track.
Step 5: Develop Activity-Based Compliance Plans
Every employee gets assigned activities based on their role in the organization. What happens when a role changes? A balanced compliance system automatically pushes a new plan out to that role.
Step 6: Track Plan Execution and Report Issues
Visibility is vital for ongoing compliance. By tracking plan execution, companies can not only record each employee’s progress, but address obstacles and issues as they arise and circulate reports.
The Basis Is Integration
From Step 1 to Step 6, a balanced workforce compliance system is subject to organizational oversight, which emphasizes issue management. When a company’s leadership can oversee every component of its compliance program, leadership gains accessible and comprehensive data. As a result, root causes get identified quickly and issues get resolved promptly.
Bonus: 8 Benefits of Automated Compliance Execution
More often than not, balanced workforce compliance systems are also automated compliance systems. Take a look at the benefits of automation to see why.
- is proactive—not reactive
- allows for the efficient application of resources
- empowers your organization with a strong audit trail and organized data
- provides better real-time reporting than manual compliance
- creates a throughline from direct communication to issue management
- manages the compliance lifecycle in full
- integrates with HR management, policy and training systems
- is nimble, flexible, and responsive
The infographic shown in this blog post is part of the most recent GRC Illustrated, which also includes an article about workforce compliance in the gig economy and a roundtable interview with Complí CEO Rob Warmack. For a limited time, you can access it all for free at oceg.org.