It probably seems like every time you talk about easier compliance, everyone runs away and hides, they ignore you, or they fuss and moan. So why is easier compliance important? It is a fact of business life. Your company must comply with:
- Your customers’ requirements (quality, safety, performance specs, quantity, price, prompt delivery, etc.);
- Industry or other standards and guidelines (ISO 9001, IFRS, etc.); and/or
- Regulations (e.g., 8th EU Directive, Food Safety Modernization Act)
And therein lies the problem: compliance is like healthy eating or exercise. We know we have to, but…gosh, it’s so darned hard! Why is it that “have to” and “want to” always seem to be inversely proportional to one another? How do you sell yourself and your employees on the notion that compliance is something you want — not something you merely put up with? How do you turn “got to” into “want to”?
Why Is Easier Compliance Important?
Making compliance easier will help to achieve compliance. How can you stress the value of easier compliance in your company? Follow these 10 easy steps:
1. Sell Yourself on the Idea First
You’ll find in life — that is, if you haven’t already — that if you don’t have a deep and firmly held belief in your company, your product, or your people, you won’t sell your product or your service. If you lack enthusiasm, conviction, self-discipline, vision, perspective, and some of the other characteristics that define leadership, you won’t have many followers.
2. Your Customers Are Your Ultimate Critics
If you don’t meet their requirements, you’re out of business. It won’t matter what other requirements you fail to meet if you fail to meet your customer’s. Have your priorities in order — listen to your customers first.
3. Include Your Staff in Easier Compliance
Include your staff in the development of policies and procedures that will ensure your company’s compliance, because:
(a) You can’t do it all by yourself
(b) They know more of the day-to-day tasks, operations, and processes than you
(c) You need to show that you value and trust their judgment if they’re to grow (i.e., micromanagers never win).
4. Supply Adequate Resources
Give everyone in your firm the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and you will notice that compliance just got easier.
Ensure that your employees are more than adequately trained and experienced. Make sure they know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
6. Keep the Lines of Communication Open All the Time
Communicate effectively and continually with all levels of your organization. Get out of your office! Regularly address your employees firsthand, directly and openly.
Listen and then turn what you’re hearing about compliance into something your employees — and your customers — want to act on.
Meet with suppliers, subcontractors, and everyone who has a hand in getting your product or service into the hands of your customers. The meetings do not have to be long. Short, frequent talk are more useful. You might not be able to do this often, but you shouldn’t let a year go by without visiting with your valuable partners. Communication is key!
9. Look at Failures as Opportunities for Improvement
Don’t go looking for the guilty party every time something doesn’t go according to plan! You want to keep failure to a minimum, yes, but keep things in perspective. Not every mistake requires Draconian countermeasures! Think of mistakes as learning opportunities for process improvement and compliance will be easier.
10. Share Success
Easier compliance goes beyond merely observing standards or laws — compliance can help you win business! When it does, spread the wealth. Acknowledge the part everyone played in making your company a success, especially those who had a direct hand in your victory.
Sell yourself, then sell everyone else on the value and importance of compliance. Make them want it! Your customers do. Compliance will be easier if you make compliance easier.