How to Improve Your Company’s Regulatory Compliance

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Businesses, big or small, in every industry must adhere to applicable laws and regulations. Doing so ensures safe, moral, and unbiased operations at all times.   

Regulatory compliance has become a concern for businesses over the years. It’s imperative to follow this protocol when operating a business, regardless of how strict or lenient it may be in this day and age. Sadly, the extensive list of laws companies should comply with makes regulatory compliance a challenging ordeal. Additionally, the requirements for regulatory compliance continue to change over the years, adding to the burden of businesses intent on keeping up.   

Unable to comply can be burdensome due to the potential legal and financial penalties your company will face. Additionally, a lack of compliance can damage your company’s reputation and undermine client trust.

What Is Regulatory Compliance?

Regulatory compliance essentially involves a company’s adherence to the regulations, laws, and guidelines pertinent to its operations. The procedures typically serve as a guideline for a company while accomplishing its core objectives. Any possible breach of the protocols often results in legal penalties, including federal fines.   

The enforcement of regulatory compliance can be a challenging task since it requires the effort of everyone in the company. The employees serve as the frontline by dealing with clients as the management and compliance department tackles various tasks, especially compliance prerequisites.   

When a regulatory compliance program is in place, a company’s management team must scrutinize its specific requirements and industry-related mandates, while implementing measures to improve procedures and comply with them.  

Ways to Improve Your Company’s Regulatory Compliance

Luckily, there are numerous tactics to improve your company’s regulatory compliance. In most cases, it involves streamlining various processes to ensure higher efficiency. Here are several insightful pointers to keep in mind to boost your company’s regulatory compliance.  

1. Figure Out the Policies Relevant to Your Company 

Above anything else, one of your initial moves is to know all the relevant policies or laws that apply to your company. It’s important to note that the legal requirements your company should comply with will depend on various factors. In most cases, it includes the industry, type of clients, services or products, and even your company’s country.  

2. Utilize a Comprehensive Document Database  

When your company handles many crucial documents, all departments must know where to locate any compliance information they need in order to diligently perform their jobs. This is possible with a document management system with a uniform legal document template. Generally, large-scale businesses hold complex and massive amounts of compliance data. Sadly, it can be a challenging ordeal to manage. The best way to streamline the process is by utilizing a tool that allows employees to search for the information they need precisely and conveniently.   

If your company manually stores compliance documents in binders or spreadsheets, it risks vulnerabilities and potential for error. But with a secure and streamlined database, you can avoid such circumstances.

One of the techniques to maintain compliance is utilizing a document management system. Consider it a worthwhile move to ensure all information stays up-to-date. Most systems nowadays allow employees to search and retrieve data from any location, whether in the workplace, field, or home.   

Additionally, one of the ideal methods to ensure seamless compliance is to implement the use of a uniform legal document template. It’s one of the sure-fire ways to streamline your business operations and have better efficiency and productivity while cutting down on overall expenditure.  

3. Maintain Effective Documentation of Company Policies and Procedures  

Anything crucial to the success of your business requires proper documentation, especially in your company’s employee handbook. But note that company policies and procedures don’t have to be complicated. An ideal thing you can do is to have easy-to-read documentation right from the start, outlining everything and continue making modifications over time.   

While outlining the company policies and procedures, it may be best to gather feedback from all departments in the company. Make it a point to maintain all the policies and procedures you implemented. In case changes happen, always work on the necessary adjustments.  

4. Reinforce Policies and Procedures by Providing Regular Training 

It’s crucial to make an effort to reinforce compliance policies and procedures by conducting regular training. When all departments know what’s expected of them, they’re less likely to make errors.

For example, when it comes to cyber security compliance, it’s important to train employees how to enable multi-factor authentication, consistently use strong passwords, maintain a password manager, update software regularly, and recognize and report phishing attempts.

It may be best to take a different approach by constructively dealing with negative aspects by conducting regular employee training. Companies have compliance obligations to provide mandated employment notices with specified deadlines. Once your company misses a deadline, it would be best to deal with it promptly and avoid blaming the department responsible. The ideal approach is to provide training and brainstorm ways to prevent the issue from happening again. A positive approach may be the key to finding better solutions to maintain compliance.   

5. Perform Routine Compliance Audits  

Among the best practices for regulatory compliance, performing a thorough audit on a routine basis will be an advantage for your business.   

If you’re working with a consultant or a compliance team to handle compliance and risk management, make it a priority to thoroughly review all the regulatory compliance areas your business should deal with.   

Aside from determining whether or not your company is able to comply with all these standards, it’s essential to establish a baseline on the standing of your compliance efforts. For example, take time to figure out vulnerable points that may be penalized or any previous violations your company may have incurred.   

A baseline functions as your basis when deciding to obtain additional personnel or funding. An example is investing in software or hiring specialized personnel to maintain compliance.   

Scheduling routine compliance audits for your company will ensure that all the processes and procedures are up to date and maintain a good level of adherence. Additionally, audits can help to unearth possible jams or vulnerabilities in your compliance plan. It may be best to execute both on-the-spot and scheduled audits, ideally every three months.  

6. Guarantee Adherence to Company Protocols  

If you want to ensure regulatory compliance, it’s crucial that all employees in all departments strictly follow the procedures and policies. Unfortunately, it’s a challenging aspect of running a company. But all the policies will have no value if employees don’t follow suit. In most cases, it has a significant impact when there are policy adjustments. Employees tend to overlook the change since it affects daily operations.   

An approach worth considering in such circumstances involves the human resources (HR) department to ensure employees follow company policies or procedures. The department can implement the adjustments and take the necessary measures to ensure all processes will flow smoothly for all departments.   

Generally, the HR department will carry out a number of actions. Initially, the department will convey HR policies and procedures to everyone using various channels and modes of communication. While doing so, they make sure the employees understand the reason behind any adjustments or updates to the policies, procedures, or rules. In some cases, the HR department may consider setting up a reward system for those who willingly accept changes while offering training opportunities.

7. Follow the Key Tasks in Adhering to Compliance Policies  

It’s important to remember that regulatory compliance is a continuous process. Generally, it’s an ongoing task that involves three fundamental activities.   

Although you’re already familiar with the policies in your industry, you still need to keep track of the legal landscape so long as you’re still in operation. Take note that laws and regulations are being issued continuously to handle the increasing number of risks while at the same time converging existing legislation. With this in mind, you should routinely keep track of the regulatory adjustments in your industry and compliance profile. If you have upcoming changes in the works, it prevents you from getting off track once new legislation enters the picture.   

As stated earlier, routine audits will always remain one of the best practices for maintaining compliance. Make it a priority to conduct routine internal audits on a comprehensive scale. Doing so will help assess your regulatory compliance process and pinpoint potential discrepancies.   

It’s also crucial to make the necessary adjustments to your company procedures and policies. Any emerging updates may have an influence on the business model and the overall daily operations. With this in mind, ensure that your employees are up-to-date with any changes to the compliance policies and procedures.

8. Keep Track of All Company Violations  

Monitoring your company’s violations can also be considered one of the best practices for maintaining compliance. Keep careful track of all repeated and isolated violations to reduce and eliminate the likelihood of them happening again if you want to maintain regulatory compliance.

Make sure also to keep an eye on the costs of these violations. Doing so will serve as your basis and determine the impact that non-compliance brings, especially on productivity, reputation, and client trust.   

Like a regular audit, monitoring your company’s violations and their costs is a good measure in proving the return on investment of implementing additional risk mitigation measures. Additionally, it also helps when holding employees accountable. Although doing so doesn’t necessarily mean penalizing your employees, it provides an insight into the specific expenditures associated with potential vulnerabilities while making it easier to motivate change for improvement and lowering risk.  

Final Thoughts

Every business holds the responsibility of complying with the regulations imposed by the government and other pertinent regulatory entities. Generally, regulatory compliance is crucial in ensuring a seamless flow of operations. Unable to keep up with the constantly changing policies and regulations can result in legal penalties that damage your company’s standing in the market. Considering the above valuable insights can help improve your company’s regulatory compliance in the coming years.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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