Compliance processes are necessary to assess internal systems to ensure they are adhering to industry and legal standards. In order to mitigate liability risk, all law firms and in-house counsel groups must methodically ensure their organizations follow regulatory requirements, policies, and procedures.
There are numerous elements that can indicate a poorly constructed compliance process for any organization. These elements can stem from both technological or logistical issues, as well as ethical issues among staff and management.
This article will list and describe five commonly seen issues that also have solutions.
A Lack of Automation
It is easy for employees to feel as if compliance processes are chores, or that they get in their way of more highly prioritized tasks. Automating compliance procedures is a smart step to take to improve efficiency and adherence to the rules and regulations.
Some solutions, which can be found in the Athennian entity management software, include automating otherwise manual processes. This includes task managers and virtual minute books, all of which are on a 100% cloud-based platform. An automated task manager can allow management to assign compliance activities automatically without having to worry about missing deadlines, while also making sure the correct employees are assigned.
Automating workflows with entity management software is a key stepping stone when it comes to ensuring compliance processes are being followed. Adhering to compliance processes should work smoothly for all staff, instead of feeling like a burdensome chore.
Poor Training Procedures
Management at any level cannot expect their employees to properly adhere to compliance processes if they are not trained adequately. Figuring out what courses and training events to hold for your employees is the first step; however, it is also important to follow through with the training and ensure the education sticks in the employees’ minds.
Training events, whether they are in person or online, should integrate multiple elements including the company’s core values, how the compliance processes specifically affect the company, and what steps the employees can take to ensure they adhere to the compliance processes.
It is also important to explain to employees through training how what they are learning will specifically affect them. Portraying to employees the important role they play in following compliance processes will help them understand the necessity of the training, as well as how failing to follow the processes could negatively impact both them and the organization.
Failing to Protect Employee Voices
When employees find issues and failures in compliance processes, their voices must be respected and heard. Failing to respect and accommodate a speakup culture can cause both major and minor issues for any organization.
Attempting to silence whistleblowers, whether it’s through non-disclosure agreements or settlements, can cause significant harm to an organization’s reputation. Even worse, silencing whistleblowers through illegal means can create a potentially catastrophic liability risk for the organization.
Sowing respect and encouragement for a speakup culture is also a morale booster. This type of support will indicate to employees that their adherence to compliance processes is valued. It also shows that their livelihood will not be placed in jeopardy if they decide to speak up.
Lastly, fostering a speakup culture can reveal minor issues that are impeding an organization’s ROI. Finding these problems early on can help to prevent them from spiraling out of control, or lingering into the future.
Lacking Discipline to Improve
When it comes to analyzing and assessing your organization’s compliance process procedures, it should not be considered a one-time event. Creating a positive trajectory requires ongoing assessment at regular intervals, and recognizing when it is time for improvement or transition.
Discipline in regards to self-improvement is a core value that can only be imparted through effective leadership, communication, and leading by example. Sharing this value and integrating it throughout all levels of management and employees requires regular training and team-building.
Additionally, compliance programs should document their improvement, or lack thereof, in their regularly scheduled assessments. This will help provide the decision-makers with a keener understanding of what areas need improvement and whether their past actions have yielded the results they seek.
Not Having an Open Mind and Shared Ethics
Putting policies and regulations regarding compliance processes on paper is the first step. However, the next step that can ensure your organization’s success involves is ensuring you have strong core values and an open mind in how the policies are implemented.
Organizations do not require elaborate or redundant compliance processes; instead, they require effective leaders who can think outside the box and persuade their organization to adhere to the policies and procedures. This type of leadership requires fostering a culture of compliance through leading by example, listening to employees' and management’s voices, and ensuring the organization shares the core values.
Additionally, an organization should make it easy for employees to adhere to the core values and ethics. This is done through clear and concise communication, as well as effective leadership. Effective management teams will influence their employees to not just follow the rules, but to have a desire to pursue ethical conduct.
It is also important to remember that compliance processes is not a “one size fits all” type of system. Instead, the leadership of any organization must find the system that is effective for its culture, values, and goals.
If you would like to learn more about the possibilities of Athennian’s entity management software, speak to an entity management specialist today! Our experts have not only years of experience but are also aware of the changing landscape that legal organizations are encountering. While your staff is handling cases and providing counsel, Athennian can help to ensure compliance processes are handled correctly and efficiently.