Compliance typically proves to be much easier to comprehend than to implement as an organizational practice. The requirement to follow all relevant industry regulatory standards and policies is a straightforward concept to grasp for most corporations unless they make a conscious choice to follow a different path that prioritizes profit over professional practice.
How companies choose to approach the issue of compliance speaks volumes about their integrity. When you start from a point of commitment to full compliance, the consequent strategic decisions are easy to outline. Policies and procedures can be developed to ensure that the expectation of full compliance is made clear and that documentary evidence is kept to verify all relevant conduct. However, failure to support that commitment with the necessary tools will make the process far more challenging. Resources are wasted chasing vague policy briefs and confusing contracts, and audits quickly become frenzied scrambles to locate documents and back-fill missing paperwork in order to pass.
When regulatory standards are dismissed as mere guidelines or, even worse, unnecessary obstacles, operational practices can become far more complicated. If the message from above is that compliance is a nuisance that can be ignored for the most part (and dealt with later if a transgression or spot-inspection should occur), the impact of that message on the overall corporate culture will be significant. Ignoring compliance offers a de facto endorsement of corner-cutting and low quality standards to achieve the lowest possible cost.
Employees will be quick to embrace that message and lower their performance standards accordingly. Those that take pride in the quality of their work will find alternative opportunities with companies that are committed to professional practice. The downward spiral will continue until a compliance transgression is revealed, or a spot-inspection results in penalties or a temporary shutdown until the issues are addressed. By then, the cost to fix those issues could well exceed any cost savings realized by ignoring compliance requirements.
Having the tools in place to manage compliance is only one critical part of an equation that is vital to the long-term growth of your business. Unless compliance is managed as an expression of ethical conduct, it will never be more than an administrative burden to those employees tasked with the responsibility of keeping policies and contracts current. Attestation forms will be signed as a matter of course, but the true meaning behind those policies will be lost. Without a clear code of conduct that explains how a commitment to full compliance supports a broader organizational commitment to operational excellence, policies and procedures will never be anything more than paperwork.
Our comprehensive Compliance Software solutions can help you to clearly delineate and document your processes and procedures so that your employees understand the critical role that compliance plays in professional practice. Operating on one secure SharePoint portal using templates built on industry best practices, you can manage every element of compliance workflow from policy and contract creation to management and ongoing renewal. Secure access mitigates the risk of loss of version control, and the real-time dashboard provides up-to-the-minute status reports.