Compliance a Priority, But C&E Leaders Face Hurdles
Corporate compliance programs are largely driven by a need to safeguard a companys reputation, but in-house compliance leaders are facing hurdles when it comes to resources and policy management, according to the 2013 Global Compliance and Ethics Benchmarking Survey from SAI Global Compliance and Baker & McKenzie.
The study surveyed compliance and ethics (C&E) representatives from 236 organizations in more than 20 industries.
Protecting the companys brand and reputation is clearly top of mind for compliance leaders. That was listed as the primary driver for compliance programs by 77 percent of respondents. Additionally, 59 percent cited pressure from the CEO or the board of directors, and 47 percent noted pressure from government regulators and external auditors as primary compliance drivers.
One area where companies may be running into problems with compliance is policy management. According to the results: When asked about the greatest challenges to the effectiveness of policy management, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they manage policies across the organization, and coordination is difficult.
Part of the problem could be that only 13 percent of respondents are using a policy management system, while nearly a third of respondents (31 percent) said they dont have one central place where all policies are kept.
Coordinating policies company-wide wasnt the only issue here. Almost half the respondents (48 percent) said, Our employees dont always understand our policies.
Of course, compliance leaders are contending with institutional limits on money and employees time.
On one hand, 38 percent of companies said their compliance and ethics staffing level had increased in the past year, while 53 percent said thered been no change. But 43 percent of respondents indicated that the C&E function did not have sufficient staff, control, authority, and budget to effectively measure, manage, and mitigate compliance risks at their organization, the report says.
The authors also say that, as companies are doing more with less, theyve seen increasing pressure to reduce employee seat time in C&E training over the past few years. To wit, this year 47 percent of survey respondents said they provide more than two hours of annual compliance training to employeesdown from nearly 60 percent who said so last year.
So how can compliance programs get the most bang for their buck? The report recommends that companies adjust the kind of metrics theyre using to measure effectiveness:
. . . we found that more than half of respondents rely on training completion rates and hotline data to purportedly measure effectiveness, while less than 30 percent use employee exit interviews, follow-up testing, or quantitative reporting. The former metrics serve merely to report on activity, while the latter would serve to measure the true impact of a companys C&E efforts in terms of modified employee awareness, attitudes, and behaviors.