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Greg Carroll has 30 years' experience addressing risk management systems in life-and-death environments eg Dept. of Defence and Victorian Infectious Diseases Laboratories. He has also worked for decades with multinationals like Motorola. He is Founder and Technical Director at Fast Track; and author of the seminal "Mastering 21st Century Enterprise Risk Management". More »Enterprise Risk eBook

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The Secret to Successful Compliance Management? It's Not the System

  
  
  
  

The key isn't filling forms, it's tapping into what motivates your employees

I'm often asked how do you get quality systems to work. That's an aspect of Corporate Governance that's usually left out of the hundreds of articles all over the Internet. Sure, they talk about all the same old benefits of quality management, risk management, compliance or related governance systems. That's a bit like telling someone the benefits of being rich. What we really want to know is how to get there!

Stop setting rules

The simple answer is: employees must adopt the system as an endemic part of their job. The rest you can get out of a book.

So how do you achieve this elusive end? Anyone involved with change management will tell you that to change a person’s behaviour, the person must see a personal benefit. So stop drawing flow charts and setting rules. Get out and talk to HR. Better yet, skip HR and talk to your staff.

corporate governance systems

Satisfying employees' top motivations, involves risk management, continuous improvement, skill and competency, process management, communication, and reporting. The table below provides how. 

FastTrack.net provides  a comprehensive solution for Quality Management Systems covering Document Control, Audit & CARs, Equipment Calibration, Skills & Training and Continuous Improvement.   More »

Once you grasp this secret, the process of achieving success is fairly straightforward.

  1. Identify your staff motivations
  2. Pick compliance framework elements that support these motivations
  3. Involve staff in the method of implementing those elements
  4. Setup a feedback mechanism to report on the implementation success
  5. Reward and publicize

The idea here is to forget the formal framework and implement employee issues first. You will find it much easier to introduce the more pedantic elements once you have a core group of supporters and advocates.

To get you started I have borrowed the results of the 2010 employee survey published by Seek, Australia’s largest employment site. On the left, I list the things that most strongly motivate employees. On the right, I've listed some obvious benefits for Compliance, Quality Management, Occupational Health and Safety System, or any change management project. Just substitute the applicable system goals against the related behaviour. After all, good management is about ensuring staff satisfaction.

Employee motivators in descending order of importance

Rank Motivator Benefits for  Compliance, Quality Management, OHS
1 People I work with Form small teams to look at individual elements based on interest groups, but make sure teams have goals and timelines
2 Work environment Empower people to improve their work environment by having them set their own GRC goals. Have them start with a risk assessment. 
3 Proximity to home Not all motivations can be related, but try being creative. 
4 Variety and content of work An April 2013 Harvard Business Review article “The Happiest People Pursue the Most Difficult Problems.” suggests that the key to job satisfaction is involving staff in problem-solving. Get them heavily involved in CAR or Improvement teams. (see 1 above) 
5 Benefits (leave, flex time, etc) Think up non-salary bonuses for achieving GRC milestones. 
6 Hours of work Look at the reason for long hours. Commonly it’s due to fire-fighting and rework. Match implementation tasks that will have a direct and immediate effect on reducing those causes. 
7 Level of job security Publicize industry statistics (hard numbers, not generalities) on effectiveness of GRC on business success. (See our earlier blog post titled “Building Shareholder Value through Good Governance”). Remember, frame it in terms of job security and advancement opportunities, not company profits. 
8 My direct manager This is a multi-layer issue, covering appreciation and acknowledgement, respect and support, empowerment, image and standing. All should be workshopped heavily in consultation with individual managers. 
9 Company culture Identify both the existing perceived and actual cultures. Then identify the desired culture and get staff to buy in by offering a road map (through GRC) to obtaining it. 
10 Workplace morale level Winners are grinners, and nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. Publicity is the key. Get your marketing people to work on setting up internal communication and feedback channels. 
11 Quality of overall management Promote management. Set up continuous training, where managers hold a 50-minute drill-down on a topic. This motivation shows it is important to impress your staff.  
12 Feeback/ appreciation Include review and feedback steps in all workflow. Name individuals and their GRC contributions weekly. The best companies schedule time to share exceptional stories of innovation, customer service, product development and dedication with all employees. 
13 Salary Notice that salary is all the way down at Number 13! Use the fact that measurement gives strong evidence to argue performance increases during job reviews.  This is the best reason to get people to record activities but first set up effective KPIs that works for both the business and employee.

If you look at what is involved in satisfying these 13 motivations, you have covered risk management, continuous improvement, skill and competency, process management, communication, and reporting. This is a good start. All you need now is to get management’s support.

Related resources

  • The FastTrack.net Corporate Governance Module ensures a single coordinated approach. Link objectives, obligation, directives, and initiatives; and combine that with enterprise risk management, proactive reporting of key performance indicators and management of board processes and decisions. More »

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For 30 years Fast Track has specialised in compliance management software for medium to large organisations. Our FastTrack.net platform is deployed throughout global companies such as Motorola and PB; government bodies such as the Australian Department of Defence and Department of Justice; and leading organisations in health, mining, quality management, and utilities, among other industries. Fast Track is a Microsoft Certified Partner and ISO3100 compliant. Our headquarters are in Queensland with representatives in the Mid-East. 

Tel: +61 7 5591 8977. On Twitter at @365compliance.

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