An Open Letter To My Compliance Colleagues


Open Letter

We’re living in a time of uncertainty and are hanging on daily news cycles to hear the latest information. Most of us are hunkering down at home, putting an entirely new meaning to work-life balance. Like, literally, some of our “offices” may be in our bedroom (I see that laptop propped up on your pillows!)

But your job isn’t business as usual. In fact, it’s business and compliance risk on steroids.

That’s because you realize that conduct risk has gone up tenfold. With higher pressure than ever to perform, remote work, conflicting priorities, and tons of information – and misinformation – the compliance landscape has turned into a scene straight out of World War Z.

You also know this pandemic will not preclude your organization from needing to do things the right way or meeting regulatory requirements. Despite all the challenges, your employees and your company are still held to the highest standards of business conduct irrespective of where or when it’s being conducted.

If someone hasn’t said this to you already, thank you for your commitment to upholding a positive organizational culture. Your willingness to assess and manage emerging risks, make difficult decisions, and be creative and ‘bendy’ by putting your new remote workforce compliance plans into action is remarkable.

For those who are still figuring out how to navigate these choppy waters, here’s some things to consider so you can still drive meaningful change:

  • Be willing to delay the campaigns that aren’t impactful right now. Yes, you’ve expended a lot of calories on them (and yes, it would have turned out awesome). But now’s the time for content that helps newly remote workers carry on with their day-to-day compliantly under ever changing conditions.
  • Leverage free resources that have been provided to educate employees and reinforce safety and proper behavior. To start, we’ve got a free COVID-19 micro course and our friends at Broadcat has free CDC messaging posters and phone screen wallpaper as part of their Antiviral Campaign.
  • With that said, now more than ever is the time for repeated values-based messaging. This is where the promises in your Code (you know that dusty resource on all those empty desks) around the highest risk areas come to life. If one of your values is “integrity”, what does it really mean to uphold integrity when closing a pressurized deal amidst COVID-19? What specific actions can people take but what would be going too far?
  • Keep lines of communication open so that employees feel they’re in the know. Transparency during times of crisis is key and here’s a great article that emphasizes this.
  • Focus on risk areas that get amplified with remote work, like data security, data privacy, and reporting.
  • Rely on all your data sources to have more actionable insights into potential gaps and high-risk business segments so you can more clearly communicate and send awareness messaging.

The value and the protection your function provides to your company right now is immeasurable. While the job may require you to be a superhero, remember that you’re also not immune to the stress and anxiety that these times bring about. One of the things I love most about the compliance community is that they are always willing to pitch in. If you need help, or just want to chat about what others are doing in the space right now, reach out to your counterparts. I’m sure they’d appreciate it as much as you do. And if you need another voice, I am always here. Feel free to email me anytime.

Thank you for everything you do. Take care of yourselves and your families.

- Harper




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