Mónica Ramírez Chimal (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Partner and Founder of her own consulting firm, Asserto RSC, in Mexico City, Mexico.
“How are you going to ensure everyone in the company knows what compliance is? How can you be sure that everyone does the right thing? How can you make certain that you are informed of what is happening in the company?”
If you are a compliance professional, these questions should ring a bell for you. These are the difficult challenges compliance areas face. You may have the budget, you may deliver the training, but those are just parts. The other part is making people truly understand why complying with the law, the policies and procedures, as well as the code of ethics is important and how it can affect the company. To monitor effectively, you need a big team so they can move between the different areas, processes, and employees. And that is something very difficult to carry out—and at certain points, simply impractical.
The compliance area has another challenge: If the company has a presence in different countries, the cultural factor should be taken into account. What could apply to the headquarters on one continent may not necessarily apply in another.
So, what to do?
You’ve heard it: Establish strategic alliances with the other areas in the organization. Appointing compliance ambassadors will indeed help this initiative.
Design the what for your compliance ambassadors’ project
The main objective is that compliance gains a wider scope (i.e., more presence throughout the company) and, incidentally, that the area is always informed of what is going on in the company. Of course this is no substitute for routine meetings; however, it is a good way to have more eyes and ears around the company. Compliance ambassadors should:
Continue to regularly set the example, including by following external (e.g., laws, regulations) and internal (e.g., policies, procedures, code of ethics) compliance.
Report to compliance any suspicion of unethical behavior as well as any failures to comply with rules, when applicable.
Encourage colleagues to do the right thing.
Participate in the brainstorming effort when designing or updating training material. This task should be completed as required by the compliance area.
The first three occur during the compliance ambassadors’ working hours, so there is no conflict with their daily tasks and a minimum of time should be invested. For the fourth task, a quick meeting can be held with the compliance ambassadors in order to hear their ideas and not affect their schedule.
This is not a task, but the compliance area can also provide a benefit (being generous with its ambassadors) by offering them the opportunity to be trained in useful things for their job role, such as communication skills, improved listening, and networking. Believe me; these topics are key for any job position in any type or size of company.