You’ve implemented a regulatory compliance management program. It covers everything from workplace safety rules to cyber security. You’ve spent days, weeks, perhaps even months fine-tuning the pieces. You’ve checked all the boxes. You’ve met all the legal requirements.
Then comes the moment of truth: You ask your employees what they know about compliance, and you’re met with a room full of blank stares. It could be worse. You could find out too late—after a serious breach occurs—that employees aren’t living up to the standards set out by the compliance manual.
The solution? Making sure each and every employee is aware of your compliance plan and understands what it entails.
Employee Awareness: Does It Matter?
Many employers see compliance as just another corporate demand or legal hurdle—a minor obstacle to be overcome. Nothing could be further from the truth. A breach carries with it all sorts of ramifications—erosion of consumer trust, loss of brand integrity, depletion of internal morale and trouble with regulatory agencies.
An effective compliance plan minimizes such risks. It protects your company and its good name from preventable mistakes. Perhaps that’s why compliance programs are increasingly important in today’s corporate culture. In such a competitive and highly regulated business environment, compliance issues could mean the difference between success and failure.
Employee Participation: Is It Possible?
Most employees dread compliance training. It’s no wonder. Mention the word “compliance,” and they conjure images of chalkboards and meeting rooms, checklists, and long, drawn-out presentations.
Training doesn’t have to be tedious. With the right strategy, you can create a fun, engaging, yet effective campaign that raises awareness and protects your company from compliance failures. So, how do you get everyone at the office to internalize the message and make compliance a part of their daily routine? Try these 5 strategies.
1. Use Dedicated Compliance Management Software
Many different challenges face modern businesses. The list of compliance needs is long and growing longer every year—FCPA compliance, ISO compliance, IT compliance, NIST compliance, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
Unless you have a unified compliance framework in place, disorder will rule the day. If you have one set of rules for cyber security and one set of rules for physical security; or if you have one set of guidelines for the marketing department and another set of guidelines for the security department, people are bound to be confused.
These days, there’s no reason to suffer such chaos. The right risk management technology will integrate compliance into its applications–helping compliance managers centralize all of their information and streamline all of their processes. In other words, integrated risk management technology offers user-friendly solutions that help managers avoid confusion and redundancy.
When all is said and done, the best way to ensure compliance is to give compliance managers the tools they need to do their job. Just like risk managers, If compliance managers can’t see the whole picture, there’s little hope that the rest of your employees will wrap their minds around the complexities involved.
2. Think Like a Marketer
If you want to raise awareness, don’t think like a boss or a teacher; think like a marketer. Presentations and manuals are all very well, but they’re not the most effective strategy for imparting knowledge. If anyone has mastered the secret to getting people’s attention and keeping it, it’s the modern marketer.
There are many marketing tips you can use to send the message home. You can create a catchy tagline. Good catch phrases are memorable. They not only grab your attention; they also stick in your mind long after you last saw them in print. If you want to impress an idea on your audience, a good hook is a good bet.
One prominent example is “Think Before You Click.” Short, but to the point, which is exactly what your unwieldy compliance program needs. In the end, one powerful sentence can have a greater impact than a book full of complicated rules, regulations, and explanations.
Other marketing tips include the clever use of social media campaigns—anything from contests and games to reward systems and surveys. The more creative, the better. If you need help with your awareness campaign, ask your trusty marketing department for help. They’re sure to have ideas for shaping a captivating message.
3. Tell the Story
People relate to other people. They engage with drama. They understand story. Narrative is a powerful form of communication. Use it to your advantage when implementing a compliance awareness campaign.
First, decide what type of narrative lends itself to your campaign. It could be the story of your company, the story of a fictional character, or a true story gleaned from one of your employees. Email your employees. Ask them to send you their own stories—tales of their battle with compliance issues or anecdotes of close calls. You might be surprised at the level of engagement.
Facts, figures, and legalisms can lend credence to any narrative, but, on their own, they’re insufficient. They lack the human angle that intrigues and interests people. To craft a compliance message that fails to incorporate the power of story is to miss a great opportunity.
4. Show the Story
A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s always been true; it’s particularly salient in our highly visual culture. The more you can take advantage of pictures, the more powerful your message will be and the better off your company will be. If you can use a simple image to tell an interesting story, you’ve hit gold.
Images come in many varieties. Create posters. Place them in the office, particularly in areas that see a lot of comings and goings—eating areas, break rooms, main hallways.
Create infographics; include them in a company blog or send them out through the employee mailing list. By combining facts, figures, and stories with compelling visuals, infographics prove especially effective at communicating complicated information in a way that’s easy to digest and enjoyable to peruse.
5. Repeat Your Message
Change takes time. People don’t respond to information unless they hear it many different times, in many different ways. If you repeat your message, you’ll have a much greater chance of success.
How do you take advantage of repetition without coming off as tediously repetitive? The key is to say the same thing in new and creative ways. Make videos. Send emails. Use social media. Write e-books. Repurpose images and use them in a range of visual products. Put a memorable call to action or a notable tagline at the end of each blog post or email message that relates to compliance.
In other words, each message should be part of a larger awareness campaign. Instead of holding one meeting, releasing one report, or creating one infographic, try approaching the task from different angles. Be imaginative, but never stray from the point.
Look Toward a Successful Compliance Management Strategy
Businesses all over the country are scrambling to keep up with the new requirements. They spend millions of dollars every year in an effort to implement training courses that meet government guidelines.
For all the money and time spent on such plans, it means little if your employees don’t put the precepts into practice. It means even less if they don’t know the plan exists. Nurturing a successful company culture means taking your compliance program from the drawing board to the workaday world.
From compliance-minded risk management software to social media marketing techniques, there is a host of effective and creative strategies for keeping your business running smoothly, safely, and compliantly.
Check out our case study to learn how Riskonnect helped a copmany manage their SOX compliance and ultimately save both time and money.