Compliance Program: 3 ways to Deliver “Protection Plus”
As you enjoy spring, how can you refresh your Compliance program? Focus on its strategic business value, instead of just protection and risk mitigation. Does your program include
- A “value-add” matrix?
- Compliance training that engages employees by leveraging the latest learning research and technology? Or
- A wide network that helps minimize predictable surprises by finding and fixing issues?
This is Sustainable Governance. When Compliance is approached as Sustainable Governance, you benefit from stronger influence and results – helping your career and your company.
A Compliance program that goes beyond the minimum brings the business a competitive advantage. Here’s why you want to go beyond protection alone, and how to make that happen in your company.
The “Why” of Going Beyond Protection
As a Compliance Officer, you know that for many industries, Compliance is not optional. Government and industry regulations are strict—and mandatory. At its most essential level, a Compliance program helps a company meet its government or industry-mandated requirements in order to avoid liability and prosecution. It satisfies the letter of the law. This is the minimum value it can bring.
Beyond that, a robust Compliance program can align company values and culture to help drive business results. It helps set expectations for behavior, letting employees know what behavior is valued and incentivized. It also lets employees know what behavior is discouraged and can end one’s promotion prospects. A company without a Sustainable Governance and Compliance program misses the opportunity to incentivize sound business judgement.
Finally, and of interest to those with an eye on the bottom-line, Compliance can be the driving force to attract investors, customers, and even prospective recruits. While Compliance is typically something considered only internally, its extrinsic value-add shouldn’t be overlooked.
Compliance Meets Corporate Accountability
As we globalize and digitize, business risks have become more complex and difficult to manage. Headlines regularly report cyber security and privacy breaches. Corporate scandals, insider trading cases, and inappropriate employment practices continue in tech, entertainment, and other industries.
Simultaneously, companies are being held accountable for their environmental, social, and governance impact – behavior that goes beyond delivering financial results. Sustainable Governance and Compliance is key for companies to meet these evolving expectations and continue to protect against evolving risks.
At a minimum, a robust Compliance program demonstrates that the company is run well with processes to avoid reputation-damaging scandals and costly mistakes.
How to Deliver Protection Plus
Turn a Compliance program from a cost center into a competitive advantage by focusing on sustainable business value. If you’re convinced, as I am, that this is the way forward, you need to know how to make it happen with your Compliance program.
Get top decision-makers on board.
This change requires commitment from those at the top. Show them about the drawbacks of continuing to do what’s always been done, of limiting the impact Compliance has across the company, and of putting Compliance Officers (COs) in the position of firefighter rather than trusted advisor. Discuss the advantages of Sustainable Governance and its benefits in terms of ROI and triple bottom-line impact. Get them on board with the positive outcomes that this big change would bring.
Develop a plan.
Create a robust plan that takes your Compliance program from where it is now to where it needs to be. It should address the changing roles of Compliance Officers, the new scope of the Compliance program, and the processes and protocols required. Having a solid, actionable plan in hand will help convince decision-makers that this approach is achievable.
Prepare for a new role.
Part of what makes a Compliance program based on Sustainable Governance different is that the Compliance Officers play a different role. COs spend less time managing day-to-day crises and more time at the table giving their input. To prepare for this new role, you and the other Compliance Officers you work with can focus on developing the soft skills that will enhance your new roles, such as brilliant communication, negotiation, and networking skills. COs that develop these skills show decision-makers that having them at the table will add value.
Learn More About Compliance Sustainable Governance
There’s so much to consider on the topic of developing a Compliance program that delivers on the triple bottom-line of protection, productivity, and impact. For an even more detailed lesson on how you can achieve it, you can learn more at the upcoming Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) Triple Bottom-Line Compliance webinar
And for further reading, check out my book, How to Deliver Triple Bottom-Line Compliance. I go in-depth into how Sustainable Governance affects the bottom-line, the strategies that help take Compliance from the basics to beyond, and the skills that COs need to succeed in this new paradigm.