One of new areas of a best practices compliance
program is to engage a company's non-legal and non-compliance department
employees in a role of "Compliance Champion". Such a concept has several
different functions: it allows a small compliance department to leverage
resources and to expand the compliance footprint in the workforce and it
(hopefully) fosters a workforce that is more committed to compliance through
non-lawyer participation. One of the goals of such a Compliance Champion
program is to train such employees to be your first line of compliance people
on the ground, both to respond to routine queries and to alert the
Legal/Compliance Department if a problem needs to be escalated.
This new best practice occurred to me as I read an
article in the September issue of the Harvard
Business Review, entitled "Smart
Rules: Six Ways to Get People to Solve Problems Without You" by Yes
Morieux. Bringing a 'Compliance Champion' to a business unit usually means
bringing a business person, new to the compliance field to a role which may
have a different focus than their previous experience. It can often add
complexity to their existing job. Morieux speaks to the issue of managing
complexity and the "smart rules" set out in the article can assist the
transition of an employee into a Compliance Champion.
Rule 1 - Improve Understanding of What
The key here is for the Compliance Champion to understand
what is being asked of them, the goals and challenges they are expected to meet
and the constraints under which they operate within their role as Compliance
Champion. Clearly the dissemination of such information is the responsibility
of the Compliance Department through training. However, this type of
information also comes from observation and interaction; the 'Doing" part of on
the job training.
Rule 2 - Reinforce People Who Are Integrators
This involves the inevitable tension between the
Compliance Department which creates the standards and process and the business
unit which is involved in sales and marketing. One of the key roles that a
Compliance Champion can fulfill is to interact with these multiple
stakeholders. As a business unit representative, often times, the Compliance
Champion can obtain cooperation more quickly and at a greater frequency than
the Compliance Department. The Compliance Department should increase the
discretionary powers of the Compliance Champion as they become more comfortable
and proficient in the role.
Rule 3 - Expand the Amount of Power Available
This is somewhat related to a portion of the points
raised in Rule 2. However, this Rule 3 has a different focus. Recognizing that
people always dislike losing power within an organization, your company will
need to make certain that the Compliance Champion role is created without
taking power away from others within the company. You should make certain that
the Compliance Champions have new and different responsibilities from others
within the organization.
Rule 4 - Increase the Need for Reciprocity
Morieux defines this Rule as expanding "the
responsibilities of integrators beyond the activities over which they have
direct control." This means that you must challenge the Compliance Champions to
negotiate and make trade-offs rather than simply avoid issues. By expanding the
goals of the Compliance Champions, you will encourage them to work
cooperatively with the business unit.
Rule 5 - Make the Employees Feel the Shadow
of the Future
Morieux posits that the longer that "it takes for the
consequences of a decision to take effect, the more difficult it is to hold a
decision maker accountable." The Compliance Champions need to feel that there
will be consequences to their actions so that the "shadow" of the future needs
to be relevant to them. This can be accomplished by reducing lead times on the
projects involving Compliance Champions. Another technique might be to more
regularly review measurable performance outputs. The key here is to make the
Compliance Champion feel that their work is real, relevant and the final future
of their work is close by.
Rule 6 - Put the Blame on the Uncooperative
There must be accountability for those who fail to
cooperate in ways which cause project delays. This can be done by adjustment of
a company reward criteria, such as bonuses. If a Compliance Champion says they
need more resources to complete a project and the resources are provided and
they fail to do so, a bonus reduction should be made. But this means more than
simply sanctioning the Compliance Champion. Once there is a communication of a
problem, such as the business unit failing to provide information required by
the Compliance Champion to complete their assigned task, then the business unit
personnel involved also need to have some type of sanction as well.
The author notes that not all of these Rules are required
to have a successful management of complexity. I would submit that the same is
true for a business unit employee who is assigned to be a Compliance Champion.
Nevertheless, the use of a business unit Compliance Champion can help to manage
the compliance process in a manner which enhances the overall compliance
process and, more importantly, the overall compliance message. Greater
diversity in the compliance approach can allow for customized solutions with
significant business unit input and allow for greater business unit buy-in for
the compliance solution.
They're Back!!!!!! Howard Sklar and I discuss all things
FCPA and compliance (well mostly all things) on the return of This
Week in FCPA, Episode 16. See
and hear Howard go on several rants as we discuss Haiti Teleco, denial of the
ICE Mandamus Petition, Oracle's announcement of a FCPA investigation and the
post-trial filings in the Lindsey Mfg. case.
On Thursday, Sept. 15, my
colleague Mary Jones and I will discuss how a Best Practices compliance
program can assist you in a FCPA compliance investigation, in a webinar hosted
by World-Check and Ethisphere. Mary will discuss her experiences at Global
Industries in a multi-year, world-wide FCPA investigation and how Global
Industries came out with a Non-Prosecution Agreement. For registration and
information, click here.
Visit the FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog,
hosted by Thomas Fox, for more commentary on FCPA compliance, indemnities and
other forms of risk management for a worldwide energy practice, tax issues
faced by multi-national US companies, insurance coverage issues and protection
of trade secrets.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2011
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