Policies and procedures form an essential part of any business or organisation. Together, they provide the roadmap that guides day-to-day operations. They define your corporate values and conduct, ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, guide decision-making, and streamline internal processes.
A strong culture of compliance is about embedding values, ethics and a compliance-first mindset into an organisation’s operations. It’s about building a company culture that places great focus and importance on doing the right thing.
In a good compliance culture, compliance is a focus of management and is integral to company operations. It is not only the law that dictates the need for compliance in the workplace but also the company culture.
When a compliance programme is in place and employees can see that the company is taking it seriously, it will lead the way in building the right culture. However, building a culture of compliance within your business is an ongoing process.
There are many ways to ensure that your team is not only aware of your policies but are actively adhering to and practising them. Policy management is one of them.
It can help you create a better culture of compliance by ensuring the most current regulations are followed, your staff are living and breathing your values and conducting themselves in the right way while at work, and there is a system in place to ensure compliance.
Here, we look at how policy management can help you achieve a better culture of compliance within your company.
A culture of compliance relates to how central compliance is in relation to corporate culture.
A strong culture of compliance is not something that just happens. It takes most organisations a considerable length of time to embed their ethics, values and commitment to compliance at every level of the company.
In a good compliance culture, compliance plays an integral role in the company’s operations and is a core management focus. It encourages – and in some cases incentivises – good behaviour at all levels, as this directly impacts the conduct of the company as a whole.
Companies with a good culture of compliance tend to be more efficient and productive, deliver better levels of customer service and satisfaction, and are more successful and profitable as a result.
Policy management is the act of systematically identifying, gathering, evaluating, and communicating policies that guide the work of a business or organisation.
The idea is to collate the company’s policies into one organised place to make it easier for employees, contractors, and stakeholders to find the information they need.
The most crucial aspect of any organisation’s compliance strategy is ensuring that employees know what they are required to comply with. This helps the organisation monitor itself and promotes better communication between employees, managers, and executives.
Because employees account for the vast majority of people within a business or organisation of any size, it’s not only the management that should be responsible for compliance. It is something which impacts – and has benefits for – all employees.
The most important aspect of an organisation’s compliance strategy is ensuring that employees know what they are required to comply with. So, communication is the bedrock of effective policy management.
With the right system in place, such as a dedicated policy management platform like Policy Central, it’s easy to create new policies, update existing ones, and communicate them to staff.
It also helps keep track of version control and record who has received each policy and whether they have signed to say they have read and understood it.
With this information, you can quickly identify any gaps, send automated reminders to staff who need them and provide evidence that a policy has been implemented and distributed if challenged by a regulator.
Policy Central also allows you to create rich media content, such as audio files, training videos or slide decks, to accompany your documented policies and make them easier to understand.
As we said earlier, building a culture of compliance takes time. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
A compliance programme will be most effective when it gets high-level commitment from your executive team or board to help embed its principles and values from the top down. If your senior leaders don’t buy into it, why should your employees?
Your compliance programme should be holistic and address the regulatory risks that affect each area of your business or operations.
As we said earlier, communication is the key to achieving better compliance, but it works both ways. While explaining your company’s policies and why they are important is one thing, listening to feedback and acting where appropriate is also essential. So, too, is investing in training to help ensure all your employees understand your policies, and testing or assessing them to prove they do. Policy Central can help you achieve this.
If compliance is tied to performance reviews and incentives, your employees are more likely to incorporate and adhere to your policies in their day-to-day roles.
Let’s face it, we’re all human, and mistakes happen. So, when a policy violation or compliance breach occurs, it’s essential to analyse what’s happened and develop a solution to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again. A mistake may indicate that a policy is no longer relevant or it’s in need of updating.
Many companies still use manual, paper-based processes to manage their compliance, which is fraught with problems. It can be hard to keep track of which printed documents are in circulation and which staff members have read the latest versions. With policy management software like Policy Central, you can automate the entire process, ensure that everyone has access to the latest versions of each policy, and track who has received and read them.
As corporate conduct becomes ever more regulated, taking an unstructured approach to policy management can leave your organisation more vulnerable to increased regulatory or compliance risk. Policy Central’s integrated online policy management platform can help your business build a better culture of compliance. To find out more and book a free consultation, get in touch today!
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