49 episodes

In this podcast series, I lay the best way to more fully operationalize a compliance program. Each month I will consider a different topic in a best practices compliance program. This podcast series provides the compliance practitioner with a thorough grounding in the key aspects of a best practices compliance program based on the most recent information from the regulators. Each episode concludes with three key takeaways with which you can enhance your compliance program at little or no cost. If you are a compliance professional, this is the podcast series for you.

31 Days to a More Effective Compliance Program Thomas Fox

    • Management

In this podcast series, I lay the best way to more fully operationalize a compliance program. Each month I will consider a different topic in a best practices compliance program. This podcast series provides the compliance practitioner with a thorough grounding in the key aspects of a best practices compliance program based on the most recent information from the regulators. Each episode concludes with three key takeaways with which you can enhance your compliance program at little or no cost. If you are a compliance professional, this is the podcast series for you.

    Compliance culture at the bottom

    Compliance culture at the bottom

    One of the most important focuses of the DOJ’s 2019 Guidance was around culture. This means how far has the culture of compliance been driven down into an organization. The 2019 Guidance posed the following:
    Culture of Compliance – How often and how does the company measure its culture of compliance? Does the company seek input from all levels of employees to determine whether they perceive senior and middle management’s commitment to compliance? What steps has the company taken in response to its measurement of the compliance culture?
    These questions point to a CCO or compliance practitioner demonstrating how a culture of compliance is being burned into the very fabric of an organization. While leadership at and from the top has long been considered by both the DOJ and compliance professionals as a key element to move compliance forward, the 2019 Evaluation has also crystalized thinking around compliance culture throughout the organization, including at the bottom
    Too often, strategies to move a compliance program or even an initiative come from the top of an organization and are pushed down. To fully operationalize compliance, you must have leadership in compliance further down the organization which (hopefully) has been a part of the design process and can lead the implementation throughout an organization.
    Three key takeaways:

    While tone at the top is critical, the tone at the bottom can work to more fully operationalize compliance.

    95% of the work is done at this bottom level.

    Use HR to come up with a strategy to move compliance into the bottom for more complete operationalization.

     

    • 8 min
    Operationalizing compliance in the middle

    Operationalizing compliance in the middle

    The DOJ has made clear that middle management is a critical part of any compliance program’s success. While it does all start at the top, with the Board of Directors and senior executives setting the tone for the rest of the company; prosecutors are mandated, under the 2019 Guidance to “how middle management, in turn, have reinforced those standards and encouraged employees to abide by them.” Moreover, the 2019 Guidance posed several question directly to middle management including the following: What actions have middle-management stakeholders taken to demonstrate their commitment to compliance or compliance personnel, including their remediation efforts? Have they persisted in that commitment in the face of competing interests or business objectives?
     It is clear that the DOJ expects compliance to be operationalized down into the middle management level. Further experience has widely shown that employees prefer to speak to their direct supervisors about issues or potential compliance violations they become aware of. The question is how can a corporate compliance function reach middle management. This is a key area of assistance that can be provided by Human Resources as one of the ways that HR can help to operationalize compliance is to assist each level of an organization to have a proper tone, specifically, the middle of an organization
    You must think about your lines of communication and your communication skills when conveying your message of compliance down from the top into the middle of your organization.
    Three key takeaways:

    While tone at the top is critical, the tone in the middle can actually work to more fully operationalize compliance.

    How do you train middle managers?

    What compliance tool kit do you provide to middle managers?

    • 8 min
    Promotion to operationalize compliance

    Promotion to operationalize compliance

    The role of HR in corporate compliance programs, is often underestimated. If your company has a culture where compliance is perceived to be in competition or worse yet antithetical to HR, the company certainly is not hitting on all cylinders and maybe moving towards dysfunction. Another way you can operationalize compliance is in HR’s involvement in employee promotion. Such compliance embedded into the promotion process can also be considered an internal compliance control. By doing so, your compliance may well work to create an effective internal controls regime as mandated by the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws.
     Three key takeaways:

    Denying a promotion or award due to an employee’s ethical lapses.

    Use promotions to reinforce your company’s commitment to compliance and ethics.

    Should you wait for great?

    • 8 min
    The exit interview

    The exit interview

    The exit interview can be a further mechanism to operationalize compliance. This type of interview is used when someone voluntarily departs from a company, as opposed to a lay-off or reduction in force exercise. Typically departing employees are more willing to share about their experiences, concerns and issues which led to their employment departure.
    Three key takeaways:

    The exit interview is an excellent opportunity to obtain information to inform your compliance program.

    Use the exit interview to create advocates from departing employees.

    Use the exit interview for probing and insightful questions around compliance.

     

    • 8 min
    Employment separation Issues

    Employment separation Issues

    Employment separation and layoffs can present some unique challenges for the compliance practitioner. Employees can use layoffs to claim that they were retaliated against for a wide variety of complaints, including those for concerns that impact the compliance practitioner. Yet there are several ways that operationalization will help to protect your company as much as possible.
    The reasons for these actions are to allow you to demonstrate that any laid off employee was not separated because of a hotline or whistleblower allegation but due to your overall layoff scheme. However, it could be that you may need this person to provide your compliance department additional information, to be a resource to you going forward, or even a witness that you can reasonably anticipate the government may want to interview. If any of these situations exist, if you do not plan for their eventuality before you lay off the employee, said (now) ex-employee may not be inclined to cooperate with you going forward. Also, if you do demonstrate that you are sincerely interested in a meritorious hotline complaint, it may keep this person from becoming a SEC whistleblower.
    Three key takeaways:

    Treat departing employees with dignity.

    Make sure your separation documents meet SEC requirements regarding disclosures re: whistleblowing.

    You must check your hotline and anonymous reporting systems to make sure you do not lay off a whistleblower.

     

    • 8 min
    Hiring a CCO: Developing the job profile

    Hiring a CCO: Developing the job profile

    What should a company do when it desires to hire a CCO? To do so, a company needs to fully understand and appreciate what it needs from such a position going forward. Unfortunately, many companies do not have this insight at the beginning of the recruitment process. The key company stakeholders need to understand the full hiring process. Obviously, this will include HR and others involved in the hiring process for a CCO for the company. It could include the CEO, COO, CFO, CISO, Head of IA and others. They may need to rethink their approach to focus on what they will ask the new hire to accomplish because typically there is a disconnect between what the company thinks it needs and what it really needs.
    Three key takeaways:

    Bring in your key stakeholders to flesh out the job description.

    Consider the top four things you would like a new CCO to accomplish in the first year.

    For a new CCO to succeed, the company must have a realistic expectation developed before the process begins.

    • 8 min

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