Sarah Waltman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Senior Director of Talent Management at Domtar Paper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA.
Many executives struggle to achieve balance between managing staff and addressing business demands, and there is a constant competition for their time and energy. Concerns such as “fostering an ethical culture” or “building a culture of compliance” can seem secondary or even tertiary to other pressing priorities. As these concerns fall to the wayside, so does compliance training.
Although many companies look to their compliance officers and governing councils to bring compliance to the forefront, they too have endless responsibilities. From keeping up with the ever-changing industry standards, ensuring all employees are up to date on their compliance trainings, and overseeing cross-functional compliance and business ethics within the entire organization, it’s safe to say their plate is full. A solution is to establish compliance committees to ensure ethical behavior is met at every level of the organization. The success of these committees can not only lead to a culture of compliance, but it can increase employee engagement, safety, and organizational performance as well.
Establish an interdepartmental compliance committee
Bringing leaders and employees from various business units, levels, and roles together to align on an organization’s compliance and ethics strategy, program design, policies, and procedures is critical. One strategy is for each business unit to have its own committee, because each department has different regulations they need to keep up with, and they require training and other initiatives tailored to their specific needs. When employees are required to do training that is irrelevant to their role and perceived as boring, they become disinterested. When they receive interesting training that helps them in their role and helps support company goals, however, employees become compliance advocates.
Compliance committees within each business unit should meet regularly to advise a compliance council with their industry insights and assist in the implementation of the compliance programs for their specific units. To gain industry insight, they are expected to analyze the industry through research and ensure the current program meets all legal requirements and addresses new risk areas. Internally, committees should also be continuously examining the current policies and procedures so they can support priority business goals.