Governance, Risk and Compliance

Building a Culture of Compliance

What is a compliance culture?

Many organizations treat compliance as a checkbox exercise, updating their policies only in response to regulator expectations rather than preparing proactively for regulatory changes. Additionally, the responsibility for organizational compliance lives solely within the named function.

In a culture of compliance, accountability rests with the Compliance team, while an ethos of responsibility permeates the wider organization. Establishing a culture of compliance requires integrating corporate compliance and ethics into everything your business does and ensuring that all employees understand they have a role to play. A compliance culture aligns to external laws, internal policies and, increasingly, to shared ethical values.

Why is it important?

Compliance tends to be seen as tedious and slow-moving–even burdensome–to those who experience it as a hurdle to be overcome, or avoided. It’s not surprising in this environment that the compliance function is treated as a barrier to innovation or opportunity. An idea killer.

But that ignores the incredible value that a compliance culture can  unlock. When compliance-informed thinking and behavior becomes integrated into your overall business, you’ve taken a huge stride towards powerful data-driven decision making, greater governance, risk and compliance team agility, and stronger overall company efficiency. Your business can move faster in the right directions and waste less time on the ideas that simply don’t make sense in terms of risk–benefits or company values.

What are the keys to building a compliance culture?

We’ve identified five keys that work together to foster an organization-wide understanding of and respect for compliance.

  1. Cultivate a safe environment for open dialogue and transparency. If your employees don’t feel like they have a voice at your organization, they’ll be less likely to raise concerns about unethical behavior. Leadership should seek to create an environment where everyone feels they have the ability to share feedback without repercussions.
  2. Set a good example. Compliance culture is heavily reflective of management’s adherence to company policies and guidelines. Employees look to their managers to see what is considered ethical behavior across your organization. Talk about, celebrate and live your shared values.
  3. Bring compliance teams into the process as early as possible. Many avoid bringing compliance into a project until it’s close to completion, for fear of these teams acting as obstacles in the process. Bringing compliance teams in at the beginning allows them to proactively identify potential barriers and challenges, adding immense value throughout every stage of development and helping your organization get it right faster.
  4. Ensure policies and guidelines are accessible. Negligence or ignorance do not excuse non-compliance, so it’s important that everyone at your organization has access to the tools and resources they need to understand what is expected of them. We designed Resolver’s user-friendly governance, risk and compliance software to centralize and automatically update the regulations that are relevant to your business, to save your employees countless hours of research and updates.
  5. Empower the compliance team to work across the business. Compliance is only as effective as the data their decisions are based on, and that means timeliness and accuracy are of the utmost importance. An endorsement from the executive team will send a message across your organization that the compliance team is a trusted and integral part of the business that can help drive your key initiatives forward. Our customized compliance solutions help facilitate better communication and transparency so that compliance teams are always working off of the most up-to-date information possible.

Establishing a culture of compliance can bring immeasurable value to your teams and your business. Resolver can help. Want to learn more? Reach out to us for more personalized recommendations.