Fostering a culture of compliance in your organisation
  • Posted 10 July 2017

Fostering a culture of compliance in your organisation

According to the Generally Accepted Compliance Practice Framework – Principles, Standards and Guidelines from the Compliance Institute Southern Africa, it’s important for companies to promote an appropriate compliance culture and encourage desired ethical behaviour.

What is a compliance culture?

It’s an ethos in your organisation that management sets to ensure everyone works towards compliance and it should form an unalterable part of your existing corporate culture. The culture is what all employees live up to and reflects what managers strive toward.

Ideally, it should be a way of life in your company. Anyone can make the decision to be compliant and encourage or demand that others do likewise. It’s beneficial to instil this culture as it sets out expectations for your employees, to do the right thing—not the fast thing, the most profitable thing or the thing that makes them look good. As such, employees are motivated to behave ethically and strive towards your compliance goals. 

This duty is not limited to the compliance department alone as some compliance myths portray. Top management is ultimately responsible for the compliance culture, but the head of compliance and the compliance function has the official responsibility to ensure the promotion of this culture.

The compliance head should strive for a culture that inspires recognition of the value of compliance as part of daily business activities.

Seven standards to implement in your organisation to establish a culture of compliance 

Certain minimum standards are necessary to establish an appropriate culture to promote ethical behaviour. A culture of acknowledging the value of compliance risk identification,assessment, management, monitoring and reporting in its daily activities depends upon the following:

  1. Set up clear compliance policies and appropriate systems and procedure manuals and communicate these to all staff members, ensuring they know which aspects apply in their functions.
  2. Ensure your governance structure facilitates and emphasises the compliance culture. Have your compliance policy endorsed by the CEO or Managing Director of the company. In your policy, include top management’s expectations for the management of compliance risk for all staff.
  3. Management should be seen to be actively implementing and adhering to the desired standards of conduct and values.
  4. Add training on compliance responsibilities as a part of your regular staff induction training. In addition, hold routine staff meetings to re-enforce this.
  5. Emphasise honesty and integrity to encourage an effective culture of compliance, where top management consistently leads by example.
  6. Hold your organisation to high standards at all times. Complying with regulations, laws and standards should be seen as a means to promote high standards, honesty and integrity in business dealings.
  7. All compliance staff members must understand the value of compliance risk identification, and monitoring. You can use case studies which demonstrate actual incidences of non-compliance as a means for training your compliance staff. Make sure your staff read, understand and follow your compliance processes and procedures which support the organisation’s low tolerance for compliance breaches.

Having the appropriate compliance culture will reduce compliance risks. According to the Compliance Institute Southern Africa, regulators may well consider the culture of your organisation when assessing the regulatory risks. Therefore, the compliance officers must support top management in ensuring your organisational values are enforced daily. 

Build your knowledge of compliance, and share in the insights of the industry’s leading minds

Attend the Compliance Institute Southern Africa’s 18th Annual Conference, from 16-17 August 2017 at The Indaba Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre, Johannesburg and gain critical insights about best practice for fostering a positive culture of compliance in your company.

This event is the only professional platform for compliance officers throughout Africa. Come and understand the importance of compliance in Africa, as well as the challenges and opportunities for the profession. Register today and play your part in helping to shape the future of Compliance in Africa.

Unable to attend the conference in person? Register today for the livestream and join the conversation! #18AnnualConference T’s and C’s apply


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