Some businesses think staying in compliance is all about reducing risk and staying out of trouble. But companies that approach compliance as a way to help achieve their overall business objectives will do far more than avoid fines. They’ll build organizations that produce happy and productive employees, loyal customers, and a healthy bottom line.
The relationship between compliance and culture
For business owners, industry rules and regulations are a fact of life, and they can be used in several different ways:
- As a threat to keep employers in check
- As a set of rules to keep employees in check
- As a helpful tool to make your workplace better, safer, and more pleasant for everyone
Now, which one of these three tactics do you think is going to make your business a more enjoyable place to work? Entice new employees to jump on board? Result in a more engaged and productive team?
Yes, you can control your team with threats and rules, micromanage behaviors with fear-based incentives, and rule with a culture of discipline. Or you can use compliance as a way to help you take care of your people and your business.
What's your motivation?
Let’s think about some of the various aspects of compliance and approaches you may have taken or witnessed in the past.
Is your main goal to avoid expensive litigation? Or is it to create a healthy workplace where everyone feels comfortable and respected?
Are you following EEO practices because you’re afraid of being sued? Or are you committed to fostering a diverse workforce with a variety of talents, viewpoints, and experiences?
Are you paranoid about compliance because a screw up will cost you back pay plus any added fines and penalties? Or do you value your employees and want to make sure they feel appreciated and get paid correctly?
Are you offering health insurance, sick time, and leave options because the law says you have to? Or do you want to invest in keeping your employees happy, healthy, and productive?
Do you worry about data security because breaches are expensive and there are fines for releasing confidential information? Or do you truly care about your employees as people and want to protect them and their families?
Do you require your staff to have proper qualifications because you don’t want to pay fines or be shut down? Or is it because you want to give your employees the tools they need to succeed and your customers the best service possible?
Are you checking the OSHA boxes because you’re terrified of the cost of a fine or accident? Or are you genuinely committed to making sure everyone on staff makes it home safely after their shift?
How you view compliance matters
The approach you take to compliance says a lot about the approach you take to running your business and taking care of your employees. If you’ve been looking at compliance as nothing more than a rigid set of rules you have to follow, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Short-sighted businesses view compliance as a necessary tool to control staff and protect the organization. But merely wanting to avoid claims isn’t an inspiring motivator.
Innovative, big-picture organizations see compliance as a natural extension of their business philosophy and strategy.
- They will find opportunities to align their compliance practices with their purpose, values, and vision.
- They will look beyond the rules to see why they are important and how they can support the things that matter to their employees.
- They will associate good compliance practices with good business.
These kinds of organizations will also involve their employees in their compliance processes, giving them a sense of ownership and accountability. Engaged staff members can then become happy advocates and active participants in the creation and implementation of policies that create inclusive, safe, and healthy workplaces.
Some companies will continue to look at compliance as a set of boxes to be checked off, and they will technically be meeting their obligations. On the other hand, businesses that choose to embrace compliance as an opportunity to live out their people-focused values are those that will build the best cultures and attract the best talent.
Why not be one of them?
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