“Rules are made to be broken” is a saying we’ve all heard and with which the majority of employers and HR directors would vehemently disagree. Rules exist to minimize disruptions that negatively impact the company, and without compliance, attention gets diverted to putting out fires and away from your central mission. A company’s policies and procedures ensure your employees remain focused on their objectives, but without compliance, they’re all but ineffective. The consequences for noncompliance, such as legal or financial crises, can be devastating to a company’s reputation and bottom line. Learning how to ensure compliance with policies and procedures will help minimize these distractions while protecting the company.
Building a culture where employees understand the importance of compliance is integral to achieving this feat. A culture of compliance, much like Rome, cannot be built in one day or with one brick. However, having the right tools and knowing the proper steps will make building it much more straightforward.
Clear Communication is Vital for Ensuring Compliance
Before you can expect an employee to follow the rules, you have to tell them what the rules are. A strong compliance culture is impossible to achieve if employees do not clearly understand your company’s policies and procedures. Documenting or creating these policies and procedures can be a daunting task for employers. Working under the assumption that policy language needs to be full of legalese and filling policies with complicated language can result in accidental noncompliance from employees who don’t understand it. Providing clear communication of your company’s policies and procedures will give employees the knowledge needed to follow them.
Tip #1: Help set proper expectations for employees regarding compliance with company policies and procedures by clearly communicating them and ensuring your team’s comprehension. If a process is too complex, consider including an infographic, flowchart or summary to clarify the most important parts.
Policy Stagnation is the Bane of Building an Effective Compliance Culture
The dream for employers is to have employees who follow the rules they’ve created for them. Because industry standards can change over time, achieving the dream of compliant employees is impossible without first ensuring practices are compliant. While leaders need to know how to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, it is even more important they know the policies and procedures have not become outdated. Compliance is a continuous process, and treating your policies like a living document ensures accuracy.
Tip #2: You can prevent your company from falling out of compliance with a regular review of the company policies and procedures. Establishing regular review cycles allows you to consistently reevaluate company policy and stay current with all laws and regulations. If they have changed, prioritize giving your employees time to read and review the changes. Doing this will keep you and your employees educated and compliant with any changes.
Reinforce the Value of Rules Through Equal Enforcement
For a culture of compliance to grow, your employees must believe the policies and procedures you’ve established are critical to the company’s success. Allowing exceptions, even for executives, devalues the importance of these rules and gives employees the impression that being non-compliant occasionally is acceptable. If deviations are allowed, non-compliance may become a problematic habit for employees to break.
Tip #3: Stress the importance of compliance to all of your staff by weaving policy reviews into recurring meetings and demonstrating the rules apply equally to all employees.
Educate Managers on How to Ensure Compliance With Policies and Procedures
Teams look towards leaders for guidance in all areas of a business, including compliance. A manager who does not grasp the importance of their company’s policies and procedures will be ineffective in communicating that importance to their team and will not ensure their team is compliant.
Tip #4: Getting assistance from managers in creating, reviewing, and implementing company policies allows them to see their value and know-how to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.
Destroy the Walls Between Employees and Compliance
Sadly, like birthdays and names, a company’s policies and procedures aren’t exempt from being forgotten by even the most well-intentioned employee if not reminded. Over time employees may not remember or even misremember crucial policies and procedures, leaving you to clean up the mess that follows. Any walls, such as having a limited number of employee handbooks or a single folder of paper with your company’s policies, that stand between your employees and procedures will result in them being less willing to double-check their knowledge when in doubt.
Tip #5: Every employee should be given a copy of your company’s policies and procedures, in either paper or digital form, to use as a reference in the future. Having easy access to your policies and practices will encourage them to refer to them if they’re unsure.
Bonus Budget Tip: A digital library of policies is an excellent way to cut costs and allow employees to search for the procedures and policies relevant to them quickly and efficiently.
Test Systemic Compliance to Find Opportunities for Improvement
Implementing ideas on how to ensure compliance with policies and procedures doesn’t guarantee that employees will always comply. Like a tree falling in the woods still making a sound, non-compliance without witnesses still negatively impacts business from completing its mission. To be proactive in compliance planning, perform regular tests on the system to locate any failures within. Finding these as early as possible will give you the power to fix them before they become an issue.
Tip #6: Conducting planned and random audits of established procedures biannually give you a view of compliance throughout the organization. If the processes are new to the organization, performing audits twice a quarter will let you know how employees adapt and whether more training is required.
Automate Your Processes for Consistent Compliance
Manually managing your policies and procedures makes achieving your compliance goals an uphill battle and isn’t conducive to creating a company culture that promotes and values compliance. From grocery store doors to paying bills, our lives run smoother when we allow automation to simplify our lives and compliance is no different. Using policy and procedure management software can help automate your workflow and give you the freedom to ensure compliance.
ComplianceBridge is a comprehensive policy and procedure management platform designed to assist companies and organizations that want to build a culture of compliance. We give you a structured and reliable solution that you can tailor to help manage the entire process from policy creation to distribution and reporting. By automating reminders, notifications, reminders, and reports, ComplianceBridges helps streamline policy activities. With helpful tools such as automatic review dates, version management, custom policy quiz creation, and access control, you can be sure that your employees have easy access to a digital library of the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Tip #7: ComplianceBridge is a complete solution designed to meet your policy management needs and help you feel confident in your journey to build a culture of compliance. Request a demo today to learn how our system can help you streamline policy management.