It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and time to sit back and reflect on the first half of 2019 and expectations for the remainder of the year.  While it would be nice to have all the time in the world for reflection, the real world doesn’t necessarily allow it.  That’s why today we are here to help you with four tips to bring value to your program without too much time, resources and effort on your part. 

1- Review your compliance contracts for potential savings – having set up and managed multiple compliance programs there were times I would set up a contract and forget it until renewal time.  However, if your company has gone through lay-offs, restructuring or a huge divestiture, keep in mind that these could favorably impact your costs.

I was doing some consulting for a company and was in the process of reviewing the online training program. The company had just recently gone through a divestiture and were paying for thousands of employees they didn’t have. The savings allowed them to add other enhancements to their program that were on their wish list.

2- Implement an “honor roll” – I was recently catching up with former compliance colleagues who are working with a number of public companies.  One activity we all agreed on that made a significant positive impact on our programs was the online training “honor roll” – a list that included both corporate and subsidiaries that had 100% course completion on the due date for a particular online course.  This list was communicated publicly throughout the organization and on the department’s intranet site.  Regardless of the company my former colleagues and I had been with, once this was implemented, the course completion percentage for the entire company quickly approached 95% or higher as no one wanted to be left off that list.

Additionally, if you can build a relationship with your CEO in which they will email stragglers, I promise you the stragglers won’t be on the list again. I can recall one conversation with a senior finance person who said they received the CEO email on Thanksgiving day. They stopped doing turkey day activities and completed their course. They were never on the late list again.

3- Take a risk based approach – My teams were fairly small when I first started developing compliance programs, sometimes as small one (myself).  I wanted to take on the entire compliance world matching up my program with the more mature ones.  It is easy to get caught up in everything that a mature program is doing but you don’t have time, resources and budget to have them immediately.  I recommend starting with a shortened list of risks, drafting some questions related to those risks and spend some time with management to bring focus on those areas that appear to be high risk.  Over time, add to this risk list and within a few years, you will have a comprehensive compliance risk assessment along with processes, policies and procedures to address those risks bringing your program along the path to maturity.

4- Introduce fun, engagement and innovation – Is your online and live training programs just checking the box to meet training requirements?  How active are your communication campaigns?

  • Introduce real-time polling in your live training programs.  Some of the services are free to use while others may cost just a couple hundred dollars a year.  They are easy to implement and use, generate interest in your training topic and are a great conversation starter.
  • Take a chance on humor.  Before we introduced humor in one my programs there were very few employee discussions about our training courses.  After we used humor in strategic places, not only was the feedback positive but we were also hearing people talk about the training long after it was completed.
  • Treat your program to a marketing make-over.  Just as commercials are designed to get you to look at a particular car, piece of clothing or take a vacation, compliance program messaging can have the same effect.  Hitting your employees with short messages twice per month, minimally once per month, will keep your program top of mind.  Coming up with two to three sentences and rewording these a few times can be done in about an hour and prepare you for the year.

    I can recall first introducing humor into one of our live sessions with senior leaders. As soon as the session was over my phone was blown up with emails and texts from these leaders asking for the course so they can show their businesses. Your senior leaders do not want boring training and neither do your employees.

If you have other quick hits and/or recommendations feel free to let us know and we can compile and share the results in our next blog.