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11 Strategies To Turn Compliance Into Partnership

Corporate environments around the world have established compliance programs regarding employee workplace behavior. Unfortunately, a lot of employees have come to consider these arrangements negatively.

Your team may see compliance as a company being a type of Orwellian “Big Brother” looking over their shoulders constantly. A business needs to change this mindset if they want to have a more integrated and productive workplace.
How can a company shift its compliance function from a hated surveillance network into a true partnership? These 11 experts from Forbes Human Resources Council suggest several strategies that businesses can implement to make their compliance function less intimidating and reestablish trust within the company’s walls.

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1. Encourage Open Communication
How a compliance function is perceived is directly correlated to the culture and management style of the leadership. It is important to foster a work environment consisting of open and honest communication, which fosters trust and empowers employees. Management training on how to empower employees is critical to prevent micromanagement, while a policy regarding whistleblowing/compliance should also be established. – Natalie Heim, Domio

2. Build A Culture Of Commitment
Building a culture of commitment is a journey that begins with inspiring people with a purpose. The only way to sustain this commitment is to make leaders’ visible behaviors mirror the company’s core values. Upskilling people is good, but the only way to guard your culture is by holding leaders accountable for leading by example and practicing what they preach. – Iyad Uakoub, Skillz

3. Shift Your Mindset First
The first thing is to shift your mindset from compliance function to compliance business partner. That means actively seeking to understand the business and ensuring that compliance solutions are tailored and communicated in a way that solves these problems. Establishing the partnership prior to enforcing the rules also helps both parties feel that they’re working together rather than being watched. – Lynee Luque, Envoy
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4. Bring Employees Into The Conversation
Compliance is a necessary “what,” but organizations need employees to partner with leadership in demystifying the “why.” A compliance committee with employee involvement can create internal champions for policies that keep everyone safe and protected. Bring employees into the conversation to help co-create solutions and they can help bring others along. – Courtney Peterson, Sidwell Friends School

5. Actively Listen And Provide Feedback
Effective compliance management involves active listening and providing feedback to managers and employees that helps them navigate decisions before they become minefields. Our compliance leaders provide a safe environment where the exchange of questions and answers does not create an air of suspicion but rather a collegial and team-based one of making the best decisions possible. – Dale Moyer, Vyaire Medical

6. Help People Understand The ‘Why’
I think you have to help people understand the “why” behind the policies. Most compliance documents and statements are permutations (many times removed) of common-sense practices. If you can help people understand what the policies are there to do, and why they’re important, it goes a long way. – Elizabeth Roberts, eGenesis, Inc.

7. Explain The Consequences Of Non-Compliance
It’s crucial to build the awareness of consequences that can result from non-compliance within your workplace. HR has an important role in establishing an organization’s culture, and a critical part of being transparent with employees surrounding compliance functions is clearly illustrating the potential issues that can arise from violating compliance protocols. – Srikanth Karra, Mphasis.com

8. Share Compliance Needs Differently
While compliance is essential, to become a business partner, it’s time to communicate and share compliance needs differently. Instead of always being the first thing employees see or read, it should be the next thing. Share what the employee needs to know as it relates to their own personal interest (in layman’s terms, of course), and then have the in-depth compliance details as a second click. – Melissa Anzman, bettHR

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9. Make It A Shared Responsibility
Make compliance a shared responsibility by creating a cross-functional team led by HR, finance, legal, security and members from other critical business functions. While each of the members may have individual deliverables, creating a team destigmatizes compliance-related tasks, and encourages collaboration and awareness throughout the organization. – Jennifer Marszalek, Working Credit NFP

10. Provide Constant Compliance Training
The most effective way for leaders to get employee buy-in to their corporate compliance plan is by providing initial training during onboarding, as well as annual follow-up training. Employees are far more likely to follow company rules and procedures when they’re educated on how to stay compliant than they are when they’re reprimanded or punished for failing to do so. – John Feldmann, Insperity

11. Reframe It As A Necessary Checkpoint
Compliance is essential for most businesses as companies are required to adhere to external rules. Reframe compliance as a necessary checkpoint to ensure best practices. Big Brother personas are oppressive and intrusive. Compliance should be framed as transparent and helpful processes to maintain regulatory objectives, which guarantee fair markets and protect employees and investors. – Kelley Steven-Waiss, HERE Technologies

Jung Min-seo

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