How to be an Effective Chief Compliance Officer

Posted by

Samantha Martin-Woodgate

on 09 Aug 2022

Chief Compliance Officers are responsible for promoting a company's ethical conduct. This task involves overcoming some key challenges.

How to be an Effective Chief Compliance Officer

Times of crisis, like the recent pandemic, will highlight any deficiencies in your company culture, including those related to compliance. We've identified the five challenges you need to conquer, as a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), to create a compliance culture.

Steps to becoming an effective CCO

1. Embed compliance into your company culture

2. Make compliance management more efficient

3. Reduce the barriers to training

4. Engage your staff with compliance training

5. Make training inclusive to everybody

CCOs are responsible for establishing standards and implementing policies and procedures that prevent non-compliance. To be effective in your role, it is essential to communicate clearly and have the respect of other employees in the company.

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1. Embed compliance into your company culture

Learning is hard, but forgetting is easy. The real test of any learning programme is how well people retain their knowledge.

The reality is that poor training can lead to unintentional non-compliance. As we discussed in the previous section, whether people retain the knowledge they gain from the training will come down to the extent to which the topics are tailored to the specific employee and provide meaningful impacts.

Beyond the training itself, there are other ways in which a firm can support its staff in being compliant. Applications like a Gifts and Hospitality Register make life simpler for employees and their approving manager by making it easy to record gifts and hospitality, streamline the approvals workflow, and flag up potential issues and suspicious activity. Similarly, conflict of interest forms can be sent out annually and recorded.

Free Compliance Culture eBook

2. Make compliance management more efficient

The compliance officer's work doesn't end with just delivering the training courses. They have to monitor employees' progress and the effectiveness of their training programmes continually. They also have to be alert to 'red flags' - those individuals who could present a risk.

Measuring how long it takes for people to complete the training can also provide useful insights. If someone whizzes through exceptionally quickly, you might question how much attention they were paying. Equally, if it takes someone a suspiciously long time to complete, this may signal that they struggle with the content.

Both cases may be red flags for non-compliance. It is also useful to see which questions or areas people fail. This may indicate a weakness in the training programme that needs addressing and may even prompt the compliance function to do a face-to-face training session on that particular area.

Learning Styles Self-Assessment

3. Reduce the barriers to training

The risk landscape is constantly evolving, and organisations must keep pace with changing compliance needs. We are amidst a sea change in governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) priorities.

The reality is that as new training needs and priorities emerge, firms need to be ready with appropriate training programmes to get their staff up to speed.

This means that it's important to carefully consider which training platform you choose, as this will affect the time you have to spend updating the training material as necessary. Ensuring that employees are receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information is essential.

Digital systems are far easier to update than manual training programmes, and the on-demand nature of an LMS means that everyone can access up-to-date information immediately. However, it's important to consider how easily your chosen platform allows content to be updated.

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4. Engage your staff with compliance training

Training fatigue is a problem that many companies face. The biggest challenge in engaging employees with compliance training is that compliance is not their job.

The secret to engaging people with compliance training is to make the content applicable to their role. Otherwise, they won't be interested - why would they be unless they see how it applies to them?

Employees need practical examples that show them what their responsibilities are from a personal perspective. It is not their job to know the names of every law or act. The relatability of the training to the role is essential. As soon as staff see how it relates to their job, they will naturally become engaged.

To drive engagement in refresher courses, you can align them with events in the news. In that way, staff feel like they are 'doing their bit' towards a greater goal. A good example would be awareness days related to gender equality, fire safety and cyber security.

Free Compliance Engagement Webinar

5. Make training inclusive to everybody

If we want to achieve 100% compliance, it goes without saying that the training needs to be accessible to everyone. This includes employees with visual or hearing impairments or learning difficulties. However, it also needs to be inclusive, and that's something different.

Making training inclusive means allowing people to see examples of themselves in the content. Not every employee is a straight, white, single male or female, and nor are they all able-bodied. In the 2020s, training should be inclusive. It goes back to the importance of engaging people by making it real to them.

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Compliance affects companies of all sizes. It is the role of the CCO to ensure that the appropriate behaviours are understood by all staff and embedded in the company culture. In an increasingly regulated world, this is more important than ever.

Learning Management Systems support Compliance Officers in their quest for 100% compliance. However, this is only half of the story. You can only achieve 100% compliance attainment if all staff - not just 90% or 95% - are engaged with the training and supported to behave appropriately.

This can only be achieved by making the training personalised and relevant to not just your company as a whole but to the role of each individual in the business. Equally important is ensuring that you have the appropriate training materials to respond to evolving challenges and that all material is accurate, up-to-date and current.

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Looking for more compliance insights?

We have created a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) roadmap to help you plan and execute compliance in your organisation.

Our best-selling Compliance Essentials Library and award-winning LMS provide a one-stop compliance training solution, including compliance refresher courses.

And our searchable compliance glossaries explain key terms and regularly report on learnings from the largest compliance fines resulting from regulatory breaches.

We also have 100+ free compliance training aids, including assessments, best practice guides, checklists, desk aids, eBooks, games, posters, training presentations and even e-learning modules!

If you'd like to stay up to date with compliance learning best practices, industry insights and key trends across regulatory compliance, digital learning, EdTech and RegTech news, subscribe to the Skillcast Compliance Bulletin.

Last but not least, you can interact in person with thought leaders and your peers at one of our popular live webinars and face-to-face events.

If you've any questions or concerns about compliance or e-learning, please get in touch.

We're happy to help!

Compliance Audit Checklist

Compliance audits systematically examine organisations' activities to determine whether they meet all applicable legal requirements and corporate policies.

Here, we explain the key steps to completing a compliance audit to identify any gaps in compliance and suggest corrective actions.

Download your free audit checklist