Are your Comms in an Email Rut? - 20 Alternatives to Pique Employee Interest

Ding. Ding. Ding. Email. Email. Email… For many compliance professionals, communication takes place only one way – via email. It’s estimated that the average employee receives 121 emails per day. While email can be a valuable way to communicate en masse about compliance policies and requirements, it’s not always the best way to communicate. What else can you do?

There are a variety of great ways to communicate to the whole employee population. Not only can some of these channels be more effective than email, but by varying the way you communicate, you’re more likely to engage your employees and pique their curiosity. If you’re in an email rut, how can communicate more effectively? Here’s a checklist of 20 communication channels that you can use instead of email. Why not try:

o Videos from compliance

o Videos from the CEO / managers

o Intranet messaging

o Screensaver messages

o Via e-learning platform

o Live meetings

o Live training

o Whitepapers

o Podcasts…

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There’s a disruption in the force…

There’s a disruption in the force…

Nearly every start-up in Silicon Valley wants to be known as a “Disruptor.”  Disruptors challenge the status quo, revolutionizing markets and taking down once monolithic companies that have dominated the market for years.  Think Uber to the taxi companies, or Amazon to bookstores. 

Disruption doesn’t just occur outside companies, it can occur inside them as well.  When disruption hits, the “way we’ve always done things” can be shaken.  Times like these may seem chaotic, but they can also be taken advantage of by savvy compliance officers to bring in a new order.  What are some common disruptors?

1.      New management

When a new CEO come in, or a new key manager is appointed, it’s time to move the goal posts.  The new CEO will come in without knowledge of “how things are done here.”  He or she may even have a mandate to change how things are done.  Present your vision of how you think the compliance department or program should be run, not the way it’s always been run. 

2.      Company restructuring

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Compliance is a Marathon…NOT a Sprint!

Compliance is a Marathon…NOT a Sprint!

This past week, I accomplished two milestones – I had my 40th birthday and, on Saturday, I completed my first marathon.  When I decided to start training for the marathon in January I could only go about 5 miles.  At that point I genuinely had no idea if I’d be able to finish the race.  But complete it I did, and during the process, it occurred to me that being successful at long and difficult compliance projects requires similar tools to completing 26.2 miles.  Here are four lessons I learned training for the marathon that apply equally to successfully completing an arduous compliance task. 

1.      Find Out How Others Have Done It, and Plan Accordingly

How did I go from 5 miles to 26?  Easy – I asked my friend, who’d finished the same marathon I was going to participate in, how she had trained, then used the training plan she had found online and followed it religiously.  How do you finish major projects in compliance?  Easy - there are many resources out there to help you with your compliance program planning.  Blogs, books, networking groups, conferences, mentors… use them to help you to develop your plan. 

Let’s say you need to update your Code of Conduct.  It sounds like an easy process, but, nearly every time I’ve seen it done, it has taken the better part of a year.  If you have significant outside help, it’ll probably still take six months from kick-off call to publication.  Plan accordingly, after finding out from others how they did it. 

Another example of things that take longer than you think they should?  Purchasing and implementing e-learning.  By the time you’ve tried out several courses, negotiated the contract, updated the materials to be personalized to your company, and gotten through the data privacy and IT contracting… it’ll be at least four months. 

You can’t train for a marathon overnight.  Nor can you complete a Code of Conduct overhaul, implement e-learning training, or do a proper risk assessment in a week.  Find out how long it will take, and plan accordingly.

2.      Find a Support Person or Team

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Why I have ZERO TOLERANCE for Zero Tolerance

Why I have ZERO TOLERANCE for Zero Tolerance

“WE HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY.”  Do you?  Are you sure?  Really?  The words “zero tolerance” show up throughout the compliance world – in policies, on websites, and on posters in breakrooms.  Compliance officers tend to like the sound of them – “zero tolerance” means we’re serious.  But if we scratch the surface, those words are often dangerous.  Why?

1.     They’re Almost Certainly Untrue

“Zero” is defined by the dictionary as “the absence of a quantity or number.”  How many times have you had an infraction of a policy that didn’t lead to immediate disciplinary action?  If an employee strays a small amount over the hospitality limit or forgets to register a modest gift in the registry, are they hauled into HR and given a written warning?  If someone doesn’t declare a conflict of interest, are they thrown out on their ear?  If you write “zero tolerance, resulting in discipline up to and including termination,” then discipline should always be the outcome of any minor infraction.

Even if you’d like to be serious about zero tolerance, the Legal and HR team probably won’t let that happen.  Why?  Because companies are worried about being sued, and there is a tried-and-true method in America for creating a paper trail that allows someone to be fired in a way that is less likely to trigger a lawsuit, including escalating consequences and the implementation of an employee performance plan.  In Europe, employment contracts can make it difficult, and at times almost impossible, to fire an employee, especially for small policy violations. 

2.     Second Chances Exist …

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VIDEO: Collaboration with Corporate Functions is Key - How to do it well!

Here it is… part II of my conversation with Richard Bistrong on collaborating brilliantly with other corporate functions. Here you’ll find out:

  • How to avoid a turf war with HR!

  • How to use Internal Audit to be your eyes and ears on the ground

  • How Procurement can help with your due diligence

  • How to lasso Legal to be your best friend

  • How to use a Compliance Committee successfully to support you!