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'Championing' your compliance program

Matt Silverman (matt.silverman@asml.com) is an international trade attorney and Sr. Export Controls Manager at ASML in Chandler, Arizona, USA.

For those compliance leaders with the budget and capability to hire full-time, dedicated compliance professionals in every region and at every site in which your business operates … read no further. (You are one of the few and lucky ones!) For the rest, who may struggle to add compliance head count or to convince management of the value of compliance that cannot be easily seen on a quarterly report or stock price … read on.

Most companies do not have the resources nor the perceived necessity to hire a full-time compliance professional in every region and at every site around the world, nor to embed a compliance professional within every department. Enter the role of compliance champions, also commonly referred to as compliance ambassadors, liaisons, or focals (pick your nickname!), which can be a useful resource for filling in any compliance gaps within an organization and creating greater compliance presence and awareness throughout the company.

Having a greater compliance presence throughout your company likely contributes to local employee engagement; creates greater awareness of compliance policies, touchpoints, and responsibilities across all employees, sites, and relevant departments; and helps a centralized and dedicated compliance team remain aware of concerns or potential violations. Using knowledgeable, local employees to serve as part-time compliance champions (in addition to their day-to-day jobs) is a way to address the issue of limited resources while achieving the goal of having a larger compliance presence and increased compliance awareness throughout the company. A champions network allows compliance leaders to take on extra, informal head count (without the impact on budget) and provides them with the eyes and ears to keep ahead of local compliance concerns that might otherwise go unnoticed and unresolved.

Compliance networks and champions can be used across compliance fields, including ethics, privacy, export controls, health and safety, etc. Regardless of the substantive area, this article lays out the key ideas and actions when working to develop and implement a champions network within your company, or to grow and evolve an existing champions network.

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