Improve Employee Awareness of Compliance Policies with These 6 Tips

November 2, 2022

Fostering a culture of compliance takes a team effort. It requires everyone in your organization – right from the top management to employees – to adhere to your compliance policies.

But how can your managers and employees remain compliant if they’re not well-equipped with what’s in your policies?

This is where the need for improving employee awareness matters. Read on to understand how you can get the message of compliance across so your workforce contributes to a thriving culture of compliance. 

Send the Right Message to the Right People at the Right Time

While this may seem obvious, it’s surprising how many companies fail to include it in their compliance awareness plan. Consider these best ways to lay the foundation for employee awareness of your compliance policies:

  • Prioritize what message you want to deliver and to whom. For instance, when it comes to compliance, management and employees have different roles to play. Alongside adhering to compliance policies, managers also have a responsibility to ensure employees remain compliant at all times.
  • Determine the Right Time. With several corporate initiatives taking place throughout the year, it’s important to make sure your compliance and ethics program doesn’t clash with any other event. You may even want to avoid training during the end of the month when the atmosphere is more stressful than usual.
  • Diversify how you communicate. Not everyone engages with the same channel of communication. This is why the best way to spread employee awareness about your policies would be to use several forms of media. For instance, some might be comfortable with posters, and others might respond better to emails.

Training Should Not Be a One-Time-Event

You can see compliance training as the steering wheel that drives the culture of compliance. To ensure employees adhere to your compliance policies throughout the year, it’s critical to offer consistent training.

Remember, rules and regulations are not something employees should hear only when they are onboarded and never hear about them again. In other words, to constantly reinforce compliance procedures and standards, your training should always be ongoing. Here are some of the many vital elements your training can include:

  • Policies and processes related to health and safety in the workplace
  • Different forms of harassment
  • How to report a potential misconduct
  • What potential action will be taken against the harassment
  • Zero tolerance for retaliation
  • Why reporting is the right thing to do

Constantly Reinforce Your Policies

When employees sense that rules and regulations are not applied fairly, they are more reluctant to buy into your policies. This can lead to instances of non-compliance down the line. To avoid such an issue, be proactive and consistent in applying policies and processes throughout the company. Emphasize the importance of your compliance policies to everyone. Run periodic handbook reviews with the entire team to reinforce that compliance comes from teamwork. Aside from the compliance training, you can also provide training reinforcement to strengthen compliance. These can include:

  • Circulating e-mail reminder quizzes to keep learning points fresh in your employees’ minds.
  • Encouraging managers to talk about critical compliance points from time to time to reinforce the company’s policies.
  • Strategically placing visual indicators throughout the offices. For example, you may use the common spaces to put up courteous workplace fliers or safety posters.

Communicate Management Commitment to Compliance

The management is often the torchbearer of a thriving culture of compliance. Help employees understand that for the management, compliance is just as important as financial or any other form of growth.

Both managers and employees have their own set of roles and responsibilities. This is why each group needs training that is tailored specifically for them. When the management takes compliance seriously, the employees automatically follow the lead.

Focus on What Employees Should Do

While there is a need to specify what employees should NOT do, it’s equally (or rather more) important to focus on what employees SHOULD DO.

This can be achieved through training that helps employees understand why and how instances of non-compliance take root. For instance, instead of teaching your employees about anti-harassment, help them understand why harassment happens in the first place. Once they understand “why” harassment happens, they will be better equipped to spot it and ultimately play a role in preventing it.

To achieve this, you can offer training on understanding misconduct, non-compliance, warning signs, targets, what makes a healthy workplace culture, how to report any misdeed, and why they should be active bystanders should misconduct arise.

Talk About the Benefits of Diversity

Companies that put diversity in the spotlight are 15% more likely to outperform the average financial results within an industry. Diversity is one of the fuels that promote creative problem-solving and innovation. However, it can also be the reason for several workplace misunderstandings and differences.

While a growing number of businesses are taking diversity seriously, a majority of them fail to explain why diversity is a great element. This means, even if people can spot the positive distinction that diversity brings to the table, they don’t seem to dwell on why these distinctions are meant to be praised and embraced.

Educate employees on the importance of diversity by stressing the importance of empathy and social awareness. Remember, diversity goes beyond just racial diversity – it covers gender, culture, religion, generation, and so on. You can eliminate workplace harassment, bullying, and discrimination only when your employees have a deep understanding and acceptance of our differences.

In a Nutshell

Instances of non-compliance often surface from a lack of understanding and knowledge. You may put a great deal of work into your compliance policies. But unless it is consistently reinforced through ongoing training and effective communication, there is little an organization can gain from it. If you want help sketching the roadmap to a thriving culture of compliance, team up with Ethico now!