One of the big challenges that any compliance or HR team faces is engaging employees and stakeholders. We know that having happy and engaged employees brings greater business success, so how can we engage employees to drive an ethical and compliance culture?
There are several important elements required to create a culture, but the most important is communication. Whether formal or informal, communication is key for building or changing a culture in any organisation.
Many companies use the wrong approach to build a compliance culture – compliance starts from people, not from paper. For example, a pharmaceutical company that had previously had the majority of its management team convicted of corruption and bribery tried to regain market trust by driving its compliance initiatives. The new CEO consulted a big law firm to build a compliance framework that was mostly paper policies, thinking this would prove the company’s commitment to integrity and anti-corruption. Unfortunately though, because red flags had been raised in the past, it was much harder to get rid of them. Just because the rules changed did not necessarily mean the culture had changed, especially as the corruption case involved the senior management team. What the CEO was missing was that compliance is not achieved on paper, but on culture.
So what’s the best way to change or build a culture?
To change a culture that has been inherent in an organisation for many years requires lots of work. While clear and effective policies and systems that support those policies are essential, two-way communication between the business and the employees will be the real driver for change.
A crucial step in creating a culture is assessing (and constantly reassessing) the current culture and engagement levels in the organisation, and there are tons of methodologies and metrics for measuring and tracking these. But the real goal is not measuring or tracking, but finding out what you need to change to drive people in the right direction, so you need a tool that can help you do this.
Five tips for using survey tools to build a culture and make your compliance initiatives more effective
1. Make your initiatives and policy more relevant to your audience
Employees (and really every audience) are more engaged when the topics are relevant to them. For example, if a new policy was released that rewarded employees for five years of service, the level of engagement of employees who would soon receive the benefit would naturally be higher than that of new joiners. That said, if your initiative is creating and building an anti-corruption culture and you had released a new gift, travel and entertainment policy, you should not only communicate what is in the policy (budget limits, dos and don’ts etc.), but also include real-life scenarios that are relevant for each employee’s roles and responsibilities in the organisation. Without practical examples, policies won’t affect culture and behaviour changes.
If your survey or communication tool is sophisticated enough, filtering of contents per employee can easily be built in-house.
2. Test for validation and stronger engagement
It’s a known fact that learners retain longer and stronger memories about what they have learned if they are immediately asked about it. Quizzes and gamification elements are not only helpful for engagement and longer memory, they also provide measurable verification about how effectively a message has been communicated and acknowledged. Good-quality survey tools allow you to easily create quizzes and gamification elements, and set timeframes for completion.
3. Collect anonymous feedback to drive improvement
Offering respondents the opportunity to remain anonymous is a great way to get open and honest feedback. If you don’t use a survey platform that allows respondents to remain completely anonymous, you will need to spend a lot of time building trust in the platform.
4. Expand the audience from employees to third parties, customers and investors
If you’re a HR manager or compliance officer who needs to drive a culture change by encouraging people to speak up, you need to be more aggressive and reach out to more communities – not only employees, but also third parties, customers, investors, freelancers, suppliers etc.
Use a survey tool that allows you to expand your communication channels to cover all of your ecosystem for no extra charge. You can then check whether there is external trust in the culture you’re building.
5. Analyse, monitor and improve
Last but not least, you need to frequently analyse the responses, looking at the big picture as well as the details.
Ideally your survey tool will include a dashboard that will allow you to see responses in real-time and allow you to make changes more proactively.