Whether they are a multinational or a startup, all companies have to deal with compliance issues. According to a survey conducted by The Risk Advisory Group among more than 200 compliance professionals, 83 percent believed that compliance had become more complex in the last two years. Some of these complexities include increasing global standards, rising costs of fines, and increased scrutiny. The problem is that small and mid-sized organizations are under the impression that they don’t have the resources to launch a best practice compliance program.
High-quality compliance programs aren’t just compliant, but they make sure that the standards become part of the DNA of the organization. If you’re looking to implement a compliance program or update your existing one, make sure you include the items listed below. An extended version can be found in the report, “Principles and Practices of High-Quality Ethics & Compliance Programs”
1. Ethics and compliance must be part of your business strategy.
Successful compliance are designed to complement and support the organization’s mission and values. The person responsible for the program has a visible presence and communicates the message that compliance and ethical conduct have a high priority for the organization. This same person is also involved in high-level strategic discussions and is asked to contribute to ensure that decision-making and compliance are aligned.
2. Compliance risks aren’t just identified; they’re also managed and mitigated.
Risk assessments are the foundation of any high-quality program. Employees are aware of the company’s risks, so they know how to respond during such situations. This includes making sure policies are easily accessible and employees know who to reach if they have concerns.
3. The organization creates a compliance based culture from the top-down.
Employees get involved in risky situations when they’re under pressure or wrongly believe the company’s objectives allow them to do so. Successful compliance programs ensure that all employees actively participate, regardless of their seniority. Leaders are expected to adhere to the organization’s values and play a visible role in ethics and compliance activities. For example, the CEO should make it a point to discuss compliance during meetings with executives of the organization. Managers should discuss and report any failures in meetings with their teams. Management makes sure employees are equipped with the tools to deal with situations that may arise.
4. The organization appreciates when wrongdoing is reported.
The biggest risk is when employees are unwilling or unable to make the company aware of their knowledge that some wrongdoing is taking place. If employees notice that the company doesn’t respond when someone detects misconduct, they’re not motivated to take action if they notice it happening. Company leaders should encourage on establishing a culture that encourages others to speak up. Successful programs create an environment where issues can be openly raised long before they become misconduct. Employees are equipped with the skills they need to act in alignment with the organization’s values, even in stressful and uncomfortable situations.
5. When wrongdoing occurs the organization holds itself accountable.
In this digital age, organizations can quickly spread and escalate into public matters. While an organization may have a Compliance Officer, ultimately leaders at all levels are accountable for identifying and minimizing risks in the day-to-day operations. The company should make it clear that individuals who violate the company’s values and the law will be punished.
Designing and implementing a compliance program requires a lot of time, resources, and devotion that doesn’t directly impact the bottom line. A successful compliance program means that all in the organization are dedicated to doing the right thing – even when no one’s watching.
Because compliance is a time-consuming task, Legisway has developed a module that helps legal departments to manage their regulatory compliance requirements, policies and deadlines.