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I Don’t Care What You Say, I’m Not Listening!

Does this sound familiar?  You work hard on a new policy that you know is going to protect your company when exam time comes around.  You put the final touches on a job well done and send it out to the company distribution list.  One by one, the employees read it quickly (don’t you know they are busy) and plop it into a folder in outlook.

It is all in the approach, when you want the staff to comply.  Compliance people, I know you are not going to like your new job description, but you are salespeople.  So much is happening in our industry as it evolves, and how we do business is also changing.  One thing I know for sure is that production people are rebels and generally do not understand why compliance has “all these rules”.  If you do not have monitoring in place, the new policy stays forever buried in the outlook folder.

It has been my experience that sales people hate rules, compliance people like rules and executive management tries to walk the line in between.  When ideologies are changing as rapidly as they are now, our approach may need to change as well.  Don’t just tell your staff that they have to do it.  Tell them why, and if you can work into that pitch how it affects them personally, it will stick even more.

Buy In:  The CEO, Head of Production, Training, Marketing and Head of Operations should all be on the same page.  If not, it is up to the board or executive oversight to get everyone on the same page.  It is not the “problem” of the compliance officer to get the attitude going in the right direction.  Remember, they were hired to assess risk, work out compliance issues, monitor them and fix them; not perform company ambassador duties.  No employee will take new rules seriously if the people at the top do not make it a priority.

Think of it this way.  The CEO is Captain Kirk of Star Trek and the compliance lead is Scotty in engineering.  Scotty has to make sure that the protection shields can be deployed, the ship is moving in the right direction and that when things are broken they get fixed.  The CEO is Captain Kirk.  He has to make sure that they are leading the ship out of harm’s way.  In order to do this he must set the attitude for the entire ship.

Yet it doesn’t stop there.  That “compliance adoption attitude” must filter down the line. Each position should know the following in great detail:

  1. What are my job duties?
  2. What regulations affect my position?
  3. Why do they have those regulations?
  4. How do I avoid breaking that regulation?
  5. What is the penalty if I do walk outside the boundaries?
  6. Who can I talk too internally if I see a problem, without having to worry about rocking the boat, enemies or losing my job?
  7. What training classes do I need to attend and when?
  8. How do I handle customer complaints?
  9. Who do I contact if I have a question?  Who do I contact if that person is non-responsive or not available?
  10. If the employee is given a bonus based on following the rules, how is that measured?

Not only does this keep your employees on the same page as the company, it also impresses the examiner when they quiz your employees.  Few things are more embarrassing in an exam, then having an examiner ask questions of your staff and they do not know what the examiner is talking about!

So, the Board adopts the right attitude and that filters to the C Suite and this filters to the EVP, VP positions, etc.

None of us like what is happening in our industry.  Who likes more rules?  Yet they are here to stay and we need to develop ways to get the ship moving in one direction, versus everyone doing their own thing.

Tammy Butler, Master CMB

Author Tammy Butler, Master CMB

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