Across almost all sectors in business, from financial and energy to pharma, we can see the impact of increased regulation and sanctions.
How can you improve compliance in your business?
For companies to ensure they comply with these regulations, they must adopt a level of compliance management, which will inevitably form the basis of a firm's reputation management.
Think about it - by staying compliant with regulatory standards, your company's reputation is bound to soar! So, where do you start?
It comes as no surprise that disciplinary action and fines should be a last resort when all other measures have failed. But, you can enforce many other things in your business before being forced to reach that point of last resort.
Top 10 ways to boost compliance in your firm
1. Know your remit and your compliance universe
Be clear about what you have to comply with (e.g. financial, legal, IT, information security, environment, regulatory, product, stewardship, etc.), what things are non-negotiable, and what your exact role is.
2. Match interventions to the compliance levels
There may be different compliance expectations at the company, department and individual level. Some people comply right away, whereas others only comply when faced with the threat of legal action.
Know where your team or department sits on the compliance spectrum and plan interventions accordingly to ensure future compliance.
3. Build relationships
The 'perfect' compliance model is where everyone works together, and no one person is held responsible for compliance.
This can only be done if there are effective relationships between departments and the supply chain, with clearly defined responsibilities from a central command.
4. Harness regulatory technology
Instead of having a patchwork of different systems to manage compliance, get RegTech tools to do the legwork for you. They bring everything together in one place, help to streamline processes, prevent duplication and simplify compliance.
5. Know your business
How well do you really understand your business - its processes, supply chain, production, marketing or the 'end product'? You can't 'do' compliance if you don't 'get' the business.
What's more, if you are responsible for compliance in parts of the business you don't understand or have no experience of, then reach out and create ownership with those who can help and might have the answer.
6. Speak your employees' language
Review all of your compliance documentation (e.g., policies, processes, procedures, manuals and handbooks).
Do they speak the same language as the readers? Or were they written by the legal team who don't understand their practical use? Do they really make sense to those who need to comply?
Compliance demands clarity, so be sure to keep it simple!
7. Follow industry standards
Is compliance decentralised to local offices or regions where you work? If so, how confident are you that global standards are being met?
Use industry standards to ensure that all processes and systems are developed and implemented correctly to recognised and consistent standards.
8. Learn from past mistakes
If mistakes occur, consider changing your regimes or rules, especially if it seems that they aren't working.
Avoid repeating mistakes by tweaking or rewriting the rules when you need to.
9. Regularly monitor and review
Gaps and new vulnerabilities can emerge as firms grow, expand, and merge with others. TalkTalk's huge data breach in 2015 was largely resulted from failing to plug weaknesses in Tiscali's website post-merger, giving hackers an easy route in.
By placing compliance centre-stage and keeping it top of mind, you can identify any gaps which increase the compliance risk.
10. Continuously improve
Looking for more compliance insights?
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To help you navigate the compliance landscape, we have collated searchable glossaries of key terms and definitions across complex topics, including GDPR, Equality, Financial Crime and SMCR. We also track the biggest compliance fines, explaining what drives them and how to avoid them.
You can follow our ongoing YouGov research into compliance issues, attitudes and risk perceptions in the UK workplace through our Compliance Insights blogs.
Last but not least, we have 70+ free compliance training aids, including assessments, best practice guides, checklists, desk-aids, eBooks, games, handouts, posters, training presentations and even e-learning modules!
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