2019 SCCE CEI Guest Blogs: Compliance Depends on Connecting with People

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By Laurie Kelly

Reflecting on the sessions I’ve been to at SCCE CEI so far, an overarching theme is that compliance is about building relationships. We fulfill such an important function for our organizations, but if we don’t have relationships with people (executive leaders, middle managers, rank and file workforce) what can we really accomplish? How effective can we be if we’re not connected to the people?

We ask a lot of them: Training, education, affirmations, follow processes, read and understand, make good decisions, do the right thing, report the wrong things they see. But who are we to ask all these things of them?

As Kurt Michels, Chief Compliance Officer for Volkswagen said, we need to get out from behind our desks, walk around, and talk to people. Ask them how things are going. Get their input. Drive the Integrity bus around and hear from them how things are going. If people don’t believe there’s a real live person behind the hotline who will listen, why would they report?

We have to continue to work to help people understand why compliance is important. Making people do anything doesn’t do any more than check a box. And checking a box isn’t compliance. Connecting with people and demonstrating that we care about them as people — and giving them the tools they need to be successful and feel good about their work-life — are keys to compliance success.

Be strong, be vulnerable, be human, be a role model. It’s possible to be all those things all at the same time.

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