To be truly effective at tracking and maintaining your compliance, you’ll need more than a set of policies and procedures. You need a culture of compliance that permeates every level of your organization. Shaping culture is a major undertaking under normal circumstances — but it can be downright daunting when your entire organization is suddenly working from home.
How do you build a culture of compliance and security when all of your people are working from home? TCT has been an entirely remote company since its beginning. Creating a remote culture of compliance is easier said than done, but it is possible. It starts with these six keys:
- Leadership buy-in
- Integration into daily activities
- Ownership and recognition
- The right tools
1) Get Top-Down Ownership
Culture comes from your executive leadership. It’s formed by the core values they communicate and demonstrate to the rest of the organization. If you want to create a culture of compliance to your remote workers, your C-level leadership will need to set the tone.
If your executives aren’t already committed to compliance, you’ve got some work to do. Don’t just tell them that compliance is important to the company—show them how compliance affects the core values they care about most.
Is your company built on the core value of innovation? Show them how a culture of compliance can actually improve innovation. If your organization is all about customer service, build a case for better service through consistency brought on by better compliance.
2) Integrate Compliance into Everything
Many companies silo their compliance processes from the rest of the organization’s daily activities. For them, compliance is merely about checking off a list of items. It’s just something they do once a quarter or once a year. When it’s time to “do compliance,” they put a brake on their “real work” to fulfill a bunch of time-consuming compliance tasks.
But if you build compliance into everything you do, you don’t have to spend time away from your real work. You’re always doing your work, and you’re always maintaining compliance. By integrating your compliance needs into daily processes and communications, you can save hundreds or thousands of man-hours each year.
3) Train Your People
Your people need to understand the basics of your security and compliance program, and how to apply it to their home environment. They need to be thoughtful about certain details they wouldn’t have to think about at the office:
- Can this printed document be left out in plain sight?
- How do I share scanned documents to the file server?
- What firewall and network systems need to be in place at home?
- Can I use my personal laptop for work?
Your employees need to know how to think through processes, because they don’t have the same tools, infrastructure, or equipment at their disposal when working remotely.
That means training your people to be alert and thoughtful. Communicate the regulations that impact their work from home. Send reminders to your staff, and communicate expectations on a regular basis.
4) Hold Employees Accountable
It’s easy to slip into bad habits when there’s no one physically around to keep you accountable. You don’t have to be heavy-handed about accountability, but your compliance processes do need to have teeth — especially when everyone is on their own.
Here are some ways to build in systematic accountability:
- Create a training program for every employee, at every level. Require a refresher class on a regular basis.
- Clearly communicate expectations on a regular basis.
- Have departmental compliance reviews on a monthly or quarterly basis that include upper level management.
- Incorporate compliance activities into employee reviews. Provide those who are actively participating with positive feedback!
- Be proactive with repeat offenders.
On a daily basis, you’ll need an increased level of vigilance when everyone is working remotely. There’s no need to get draconian about it, but you should keep your eyes open to signs of slippage.
Maintaining compliance remotely requires a mindshift, and it’ll take time for your employees to make the mental transition. Keep them accountable, but be realistic. Give your people time to adjust.
5) Create Ownership and Recognition
Ownership leads to greater engagement. Capitalize on that by empowering your employees to contribute to your compliance program. Ask for their input. Encourage them to raise their hands when they see something or have a question.
When your company goes entirely remote for the first time, you’ll have all kinds of issues and scenarios come up that you never thought about. Encourage people to notice things and raise issues when they see them.
You can also encourage good compliance practices by tying them to incentives. You don’t have to tie it to financial bonuses. Praise is one of the strongest motivators for employees. Consider other ways to reward your people, as well.
Be careful to create an incentive system that actually builds a culture, not one that simply provides one-off rewards. The goal is to build compliance habits that become second nature — not to create an entitlement attitude for doing the right thing.
6) Use the Right Technology
Building a remote culture of compliance is a lot easier if you’re using the right technology. (Hint: spreadsheets aren’t the right technology.) Basically, it comes down to three things:
- Organization—Organize your compliance management process into a cohesive, well-oiled machine. Assign tasks to specific people, with due dates. Make it clear what’s expected and when.
- Automation—The more you can automate the compliance management process, the easier it is to maintain compliance remotely.
- A single submission process—If you’re collecting compliance evidence in several ways, you’re running the risk of losing track of documents. Instead, set up a single submission process that makes it easy for people to submit their evidence. You’ll collect everything in one place and you’ll always know what you’ve got.
TCT Portal makes it easier to build a culture of compliance for work-from-home teams. Developed by an entirely remote company, the compliance management system provides the automation and streamlining that remote teams need. Managing compliance has never been so easy with one secure, convenient place to manage it all.
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There’s a Better Way to Manage Compliance
In the midst of a sudden transition to remote work, it’s vital to create a culture of compliance among work-from-home employees. Your success will depend on these six keys to culture-building.
We’ll make it through this uncertain time together. TCT is here to help make things a little smoother and easier in the midst of disruption. We’ll have some challenging weeks and months ahead, but together we’ll make it through.
Discover how TCT Portal can strengthen your remote team. Get a demo today!