While we all deal with challenging new work environments as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the values of every company are being tested. Corporations need to drive strong cultural messages to enable all stakeholders to uphold the company values. Compliance officers can play a key role.
Potentially unfamiliar factors influencing compliance now include remote working, regional unrest, and even riots caused due to the economic downturn and geopolitical tensions caused by trade sanctions, for example.
Enhanced compliance risks may also include —
- Discrimination against a person or group of people who are affected by epidemic or because of opinions they personally hold in respect of government policies (eg. Protests on account of the CAB bill in India, Political freedom protests in Hong Kong)
- Harassment by team managers due to discomforts caused by under-prepared remote work environments and methodologies
- Fewer resources to manage controls and compliance creating exposures to the businesses, and
- Modulating sanctions, making it difficult to manage and track compliance.
Notwithstanding these challenges, compliance officers have a responsibility to shape and uphold their organization’s compliance culture.
Some actions compliance officers can consider taking are:
- Communicate to all stakeholders to emphasize the need for empathy in dealing with health and wellness concerns, with respect for each other
- Work with the human resources team to educate managers who are overseeing remote teams (work from home) with a special focus on key pitfalls for those managers in their circumstances
- Initiate and facilitate interactions among key team members across different functions with social and empathetical connections for sustained long term compliance benefits
- Approach business and staff with empathy for managing, tracking and handling modulating sanctions by governments across geographies. Look for sustainable process that would ease the business efforts and compliance efforts for future sanctions
While each of these discrete actions focuses on addressing a specific risk, collectively they reflect an effort toward a compliance culture that stands on the pillars of empathy, respect, and equanimity.