Top tips for creating a culture of compliance

Six key steps to follow.

The Wall Street Journal recently published Factiva data on the fact that the term ‘culture of compliance’ remains a corporate buzzword. The NAVEX Global 2015 ethics and compliance training benchmark report found that once again culture was the top objective of compliance training programmes.

As a result, we asked our change management experts here at Smart Tips  to put their brains together and provide their top tips on what to do when it comes to changing a culture:

  1. Engage, engage and then engage some more. Culture change isn’t just something that can be achieved by setting a clear ‘tone from the top’. It needs executives to really get to grip with the culture of their organisation which can only be achieved by engaging with staff at all levels of the organisation. Only then can a conscious decision be taken on which bits of the existing culture should be kept and promoted, and how to address any gaps.
  2. Think motivation – not incentives. In a previous blog post, we looked at how tapping into people’s intrinsic motivation could help organisations achieve compliance. A culture of compliance cannot be achieved solely by ‘carrots and sticks’ – it needs to tap into what drives professionals to succeed.
  3. Break it down, make changes and then iterate. Changing a culture is not the sort of thing you can design and then implement in one big initiative, so don’t try. Instead breakdown the different things that are driving your culture, identify what you can do to change them, create a backlog, prioritise it and then tackle them bit by bit. That way you’ll make a tangible difference quickly and be able to react to things changing.
  4. Create forums for people to voice their concerns. Compliance is one of those topics where it is very easy to think that people that don’t comply either have bad intentions or are ignorant. Actually most people are trying to do the right thing and do it well. If they aren’t, don’t assume – ask. You’ll uncover the real barriers and be able to collaborate to improve them.
  5. Measure, assess, and pivot. Chances are you won’t get it all right first time, so plan for the need to tweak or entirely change direction as you go. Get the right measures in place so you collect the right data to not only allow you to see where things start to slide, but have some insight as to why.
  6. Think long term. Achieving a culture of compliance won’t happen overnight. It’ll take years of changes and a relentless focus. As a result, you need to deliberately think about how you build your internal capability to continuously deliver changes in a way that promotes your cultural objectives.

At Smart Tips we help our clients with all sorts of culture and change challenges. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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