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What's in a name?

Susan Zohreh ( is Director of Compliance Operations for HotChalk Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Does the name of your department represent the heart of the team? When I say the heart of the team, I am referring to the values and mission of the team. Most department names represent the mission (e.g., compliance, finance, internal audit, or marketing) but for some reason skip the values of the department. Think about the name of your department. Does it represent the values of the team?

Over the years, we have learned that a passionate team of internal auditors can lower barriers and build bridges with a positive department name! Think about this: The internal audit department can be intimidating for employees, because internal audit follows up on processes, procedures, controls, risks, etc., which may cause departments to worry about what errors will be found. Similar to the scary compliance department, internal auditors can bring stressful thoughts to mind, much like if you are speeding and see a police officer. Most of us know that gut-wrenching feeling! So, does changing the name of a department really matter? I will argue, yes, it matters! If you work in one of those scary departments, like compliance or internal audit, any positive step is fabulous for the culture, which in turn supports the business and invites collaboration.

With that said, instead of being called the compliance department, let’s act as the CARE team! This name brings a positive vision to the mind of employees and reminds members of the CARE team of their mission and values. The CARE team is responsible to provide assurance of Compliance, Audits, Risks, and Ethics! The CARE team strives to be servant leaders by actively listening, showing empathy, being aware and self-aware, being persuasive, and encouraging employee growth and development. If your team name only represents the mission, consider changing the name to include the vision. If you’re not sure of the vision for the team, then take some time to evaluate and brainstorm with your team. Changing a department name means nothing without team buy-in and ownership. The team must deserve the right to be called the CARE team!

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