By Norman Ford
Compliance is often reduced to a check-box mentality; one where behaviour is dictated by fear of consequence and punishment, rather than a real desire to utilize compliance as a means of furthering and achieving desired business outcomes.
By viewing it this way, as chore, a requirement rather than a benefit filled with potential and promise, companies are missing out and not reaping the rewards readily available when compliance works in synchronicity with the organization’s business strategy.
We’ve been in the business of compliance for a long time now. Lately we’ve noticed that when we speak with our clients about their compliance training programs and how, when done well, they can produce a company culture where compliance works with, rather than against, the very people and organization it is trying to protect, certain themes repeatedly appear.
They fall into 6 categories: alignment, a risk based approach, blending, customizing, workplace application and smooth, seamless integration.
Together they perfectly establish a framework of best practices upon which every organization can plan and execute their compliance journey.
To help everyone achieve this seemingly elusive, but actually very attainable, goal we want to discuss each and use real-world examples to demonstrate how each can be applied to you organization.
There is no specific ranking to the six, so I thought today we’d begin with the subject of alignment, a difficult area for many and one often overlooked in discussions around compliance.
Theme 1 – Alignment
Compliance can and will only function successfully if it is in sync with the values and culture of the organization and employees its serves. But if companies ensure compliance is working with rather than in opposition to core values, everyone benefits.
Real world example
A client, a large environmental services provider, realized that while safety was a core company value, this was not reflected in their people development and training programs. Once they addressed this, the results were overwhelming.
Within a short time they achieved:
95% Completion rate for Compliance training
- Recordable Injury Rate
- Zero Loss Time Injury – unheard of in the industry
So what did they do to achieve this?
They began by getting each manager more involved in the reporting, analysing of data and determining how it related to the value of safety. Then they worked with all critical stakeholders to ensure efforts were supported and seen not as a HR, but rather a company-wide initiative. To promote a culture of learning, they developed an in-house learning system with a single sign for ease of access, made sure all training was mobile-friendly, got CEO buy-in and importantly built partnerships within the organization. These in turn created new programs that now had a focus on this aspect of their company, but rather than seeing compliance as something separate, now it was part of the whole picture.
Companies can view the creation of a compliance culture as an unnecessary expense that rarely produces any return on investment. This perception is heightened when companies spend large sums of money on compliance programs that are not well planned and subsequently produce disappointing results. Too often the training does not directly address high risk areas or business goals, in other words compliance and the business are not in-sync. It is crucial that compliance training is minimized for lower risk areas or low-priority and maximised for high risk and high-priority business goals.
Companies who effectively merge compliance with business strategy achieve noticeable and dramatic results.
Next up – a risk-based approach to compliance.
Norman Ford is the VP of Operations at Compliance Solutions for Skillsoft.