What’s Draining the Life from Your Compliance Program?
Let’s take a look at your Compliance Program…a good close look. My guess is there are a host of annoyances that are slowly draining the life out of it. Taken individually, they’re mundane enough to want to hit the snooze button. “I’ll take care of this after I put out this fire…after I get a cup of coffee…after I get back from vacation.”
Looking holistically across your program, this comprehensive list of energy drainers and the toll they’re taking on your organization are enough to make you want to take action.
We’ve found that these frustrations, time wasters, and annoyances tend to fall into three main categories. Workforce Drains, Policy Drains, and Infrastructure Drains. Let’s see how many of these are hiding in your organization.
Apathy: The biggest killer of Compliance Programs.
“I can’t be bothered to….” It’s your workforce’s natural reaction to your program. The knee jerk reaction to apathy on the compliance team’s side is to ramp up volume and frequency, in reality to nag even more than you did before. But that doesn’t get to the root of why apathy around your Compliance Program sets in in the first place.
When you break it down, it makes sense why apathy creeps in. Your workforce is most likely quite dynamic…with a wide range of ages, locations, job types. For companies with high turnover, you’ve got a steady stream of new faces that aren’t yet ingrained in the company culture. Your workforce has different interests, different ways of consuming information, different learning styles. If you’re not taking this into consideration as you’re building your Compliance Program, you’re not going to “get through.” Ask yourself these questions:
How do you get the word out?
Are your messages scatter shot across your whole organization, or are you targeting the right message at the right time. And how do you know that your messages are making it through…that they’re read and understood?
Are you teaching people in the way they want to learn?
Think of how millennials consume information as opposed to baby boomers. It’s quite different. If you’re sharing your information or delivering compliance training only one way (like say, printed out in a packet)…you’re losing a huge portion of your audience.
Are you tapping into your corporate culture?
An effective Compliance Program weaves into the cultural fabric and doesn’t just bolt on top of your workforce’s day-to-day activities. Are you a weaver or a bolter?
If you want your organization to truly embrace ethical behaviors, you need to make certain that the actions you want your people to take are easy to understand, easy to access, and easy to do. A policy that’s as thick as a phone book is not helping you reach your goals.
Are you guessing at what your policies should contain and hoping it’s right?
Or, are you leaning on professionals with in-depth knowledge of the subject?
Are your policies stuck in a binder collecting dust, or buried out on SharePoint?
A static policy is not truly a policy. Unless it’s shared out and embraced by your workforce, your policy is just a pile of words.
Are you speaking in jargon and legalese? Are your policies easy to digest and easy to act upon?
Policies written in plain English and broken into bite-sized chunks are much more effective at helping people understand the actions you’d like them to take.
Remember, we’re fighting workforce apathy, and we’ll need as much ammunition as we can muster to overcome it. If we don’t take consistent, concerted steps to make it as easy as possible for people understand what they should be doing, we’ll never be able to break through.
It takes time and focus to build a Compliance Program that weaves into your organization’s daily activities. Every inefficiency within your program saps your ability to do just that. Looking at your day to day activities, how many of these activities are manual busywork? And more pointedly, how much chewing gum and duct tape are you using to hold your program together? A couple key questions to ask:
Are you in spreadsheet hell?
Count ‘em up…how many are you using to track your programs? What happens if you accidentally delete one cell or incorrectly enter data into one row? Garbage in, garbage out.
Is everything left to rot in SharePoint?
SharePoint has its’ benefits, but it’s a clunky way to dynamically share policies and procedures and track compliance.
Are you spending an enormous amount of time pulling together reports?
Reporting is incredibly important, not just for monitoring your program’s health and effectiveness, but also for the inevitable audit. When you’re managing programs using manual processes, reporting eats up precious time that you could be spending in other areas.
Does your reporting help you find the holes and gaps in your program?
You’re spending an enormous amount of time pulling together this information. It’s helping your program improve and making you smarter, right?
Chewing gum and duct tape works well if you’re a TV hero, but for those of us in real life, running an efficient program involves a bit more. While apathy may be the biggest program killer, infrastructure issues are the biggest time wasters.
Pulling it all together
Ok, how did you do? Are you at 100% energy efficiency, or do you have a host of issues draining the life out of your program? It’s quite eye-opening to look across your whole program. We’ll be continuing this conversation over the next two weeks, so stay tuned.
Next week, we’ll dive into the consequences of not taking action to clear up these drains, in case you need more persuading (or need more ammunition to sway others).
And we’ll round it out by discussing what a healthy, vibrant Compliance Program looks like, as well as the tactical steps you can take to bring your Compliance Program to life.