My last blog post dealt with the challenge of relying on data to identify rogue employees and overlooking the very human component of the compliance puzzle. I got some legitimate feedback that my comments were all well and good, but how can a company effectively prepare its managers to address compliance issues?
Fair point. A KPMG study last year revealed the scary statistic that 62 percent of surveyed managers felt completely unprepared to address compliance issues raised by their employees. Cross that stat with the historical results in culture surveys (NBES and others) showing that upwards of 85 percent of employees look to their manager for guidance, and you’ve got a compliance officer’s nightmare.
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So what makes for a good manager-training program? First, the CECO has to be involved in the process (and you may or may not be surprised by how often that ISN’T the case). Once you’re in the door, you want to communicate to managers that:
- They have a critical role to play in promoting the right tone in their departments – you need them to help promote and communicate the company’s culture.
- Their direct reports are looking to them for guidance:
- This is where some simple tips like “put your phone away and give people your attention” can come in handy.
- Remind managers that employees with real concerns will often “soft sell” them, so they need to keep an ear out and be available.
- Talk about what retaliation looks like. This is where you need to take off the lawyer hat (if you are one, as so many of us are). Don’t talk about “tangible employment action.” Leave that to your employment counsel. Talk about how the company really wants to know what’s going on, and help managers understand the corrosive impact on culture of changing assignments, altering meeting attendance or rejecting PTO requests.
- There are lots of resources available to them (and how to find them) so they don’t need to – and shouldn’t – go it alone.
More often then not, your company is promoting people because they were good at the job they were doing – not because they’re good or effective managers. Make sure their onboarding process involves more than just how to approve expense reports and you’ll be off to a solid start.