Leaving the worst-case-scenarios aside, not being compliant is no fun. But ensuring that your organizations’ operations are fully running according to the law can be a tedious and complex process. Over the last 14 years, together with our partners, Be Informed build numerous compliance solutions. We noticed that there are five basic steps every organizations has to take in account to ensure compliance.
1. Stay on track with changing laws and regulations
Compliant is not something your organization just is. It’s a continuous process of scanning for changing laws and regulation, identifying the areas in which it impacts your organization, changing policy and implementing policy change, and monitoring. Make sure to identify which laws and regulations apply to your organization and stay on top of changes. When you’re prepared for upcoming changes, you don’t risk being overwhelmed when new legislation starts being enforced.
Tip: Software solutions with a ‘identify new regulations’ feature make this process easier, by automatically detecting relevant changes in legislation through Natural Language Processing.
2. Involve specialists
Especially small and growing organizations may unintentionally break laws. To prevent this, ensure that the organization is transparent in its operations. Furthermore, it is advisable to hire specialists or involve consultants to be sure that everything is in order. This allows owners and employees to ask for advice when needed, to ensure actions and procedures are compliant.
Tip: Specialist insights can be utilized to create a software solution that perfectly suits the needs of your organization to ensure you stay compliant.
3. Ensure employees follow procedures
Company policy is not worth anything if it is not followed by employees. Especially changes in policy may not always be adapted by the workforce with ease, and employees may be reluctant to change practices in their everyday workflows. It’s key to involve HR in this process.
Most importantly, make sure to communicate company policy and procedures well. Part of this is to ensure they are well documented and readily available; both digitally and physically. Furthermore, make sure that employees understand why policy and procedures are the way they are, or why they have changed. It may also be necessary to implement employee training on how to properly adapt procedures. And lastly, you may want to think about implementing a reward system for employees who comply and develop sanctions in case of violations.
Tip: Ensuring your knowledge workers follow company policy can be done by replacing repetitive tasks with automation wherever possible.
4. Schedule regular internal audits
Regular internal audits are a great tool to uncover inadequate and ineffective procedures that lead to not being compliant. Internal audits may focus on the financial, operational, technological or regulatory aspects of the organization. It is of importance that an internal auditor is independent when reviewing compliance, as well as implements generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS).
Tip: Compliance software solutions may be capable of providing audit trails to make internal auditing easier.
5. Use the right software
Ensuring compliance without the right tools makes the job much more complex. Organizations who have the right compliance software in place are more likely to operate in accordance to the law and reduce the risks of human errors. Furthermore, good compliance software often has built-in tools for organizing documents and automatically generate audit trails to easily prove compliance.
Be Informed is a low code development platform that helps organizations worldwide to create solutions to ensure compliance. For example, consultancy and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos created the +Compliance Solution. This solution helps clients regain or remain in control of business processes and supports end-to-end compliance with environmental legislation.