The willingness of any organization to be honest and open about its compliance track record is increasingly being recognized as a very pro-stakeholder position. Transparency has become the latest management buzzword as organizations rush to compete over who can share the most information with their respective stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives tend to feature most prominently in such soul-baring exercises, and the emphasis is very much on the positive as organizations seek to present themselves as good corporate citizens.
For compliance, the justification for greater transparency is a little more convoluted. Since regulatory frameworks exist to enforce the professional practices that companies have been unable to follow under their own oversight, any further discussion on the topic has typically been restricted to an assumption that companies are in compliance unless proven otherwise. When an organization decides to pull back the curtain and reveal the specific details of its compliance track record, that discussion is immediately brought into the spotlight:
- From an integrity perspective, the decision to be open about organizational compliance sends a very clear message that the company is committed to ethical conduct.
- The membership of this club is likely to be fairly sparse, so the opportunity for differentiation is considerable.
- Data points carry a much stronger message than carefully worded marketing collateral. The relevant regulatory standards establish a clear performance threshold that, in turn, allows the company to demonstrate the extent to which that threshold has been exceeded.
- This is a one-way journey. Experimenting with transparency, only to close the doors again later, can seriously damage your reputation.
- Minimal compliance has no inherent marketing value. Pulling back the curtain to show that you are meeting the minimum regulatory standards will do nothing for your reputation as an ethical company.
- Transparency costs money, especially if you clearly have room to improve on your compliance track record. Once that status has been shared with stakeholders, they will look for improved performance in the future. Being no worse than your competition is not an acceptable status when you have chosen to share that information publicly.
For greater compliance transparency to add the most value to your organization, your compliance department has to set a very high bar. Just as the chief engineer of a cruise ship won’t let you see the engine room until every piece of equipment is sparkling, compliance performance should never be shared until every ‘i’ has been dotted and every ‘t’ has been crossed. Our comprehensive Compliance Softwaresolutions can help you to manage your processes and procedures so that you can present an accurate account of your full compliance status to your stakeholders. The ConvergePoint Policy Management Software, Contract Management Software and Conflict of Interest Software are built on industry best practices so that you can manage every element of compliance workflow from policy and contract creation to management and ongoing renewal.
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