How to Tackle Five Key Compliance Challenges
Compliance has always been an issue that affects companies, but events like the global financial crisis have raised the profile of governance in the finance industry and beyond.
Against this backdrop, creating a culture of compliance within your organisation is more crucial than ever. We've identified five challenges that every Chief Compliance Officer needs to overcome to achieve this goal.
Challenge 1: Engaging your staff with compliance training
Compliance 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 simply won’t be interested - and 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.
Challenge 2: Embedding compliance in your company culture
Learning is hard, but forgetting is easy. The real test of any learning programme is in how well people retain the knowledge they have learned.
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.
Challenge 3: Making 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 struggled with the content. Both cases may be red flags for non-compliance. It is also useful to see which questions or areas people are failing on. 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.
Challenge 4: Reducing the barriers to training
The risk landscape is constantly evolving and organisations need to keep pace with changing compliance needs. We are in the midst of change to governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) issues.
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 amount of time that 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.
Challenge 5: Making 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 2020, training should be inclusive. It goes back to the importance of engaging people by making it real to them.
Compliance affects companies of all sizes. It is the role of the Compliance Officer 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 in the appropriate ways.
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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