Some businesses think staying in compliance is all about reducing risk and staying out of trouble. But companies that also approach compliance as a way to help achieve their overall business objectives will do far more than avoid fines. They’ll build organizations that produce happy, productive employees, loyal customers, and a healthy bottom line.
A tool is defined by how it’s used
For business owners, industry rules and regulations are a fact of life. And they can be used as a tool in several different ways.
- As a threat to keep employers in check
- As a set of rules to keep employees in check
- As a helpful tool to make your workplace better and safer, and more pleasant for everyone
Which one of these three tactics do you think will make your business a better place to work? Entice new employees to jump on board? Result in a more engaged and productive team?
Yes, you can control your team with threats and rules, micromanage their behaviors with fear-based incentives, and rule with a culture of discipline. Or you can use compliance as a way to help you take care of your people and your business.
Let’s think about some of the various aspects of compliance and approaches you may have taken or witnessed in the past.
When it comes to harassment, is your primary goal to avoid expensive litigation? Or is it to create a healthy workplace where everyone feels comfortable and respected?
Are you following EEO practices because you’re afraid of being sued for discrimination? Or are you committed to fostering a diverse workforce with a variety of talents, viewpoints, and experiences?
Are you offering health insurance, sick time, and leave options because the law says you have to? Or do you want to use benefits to invest in keeping your employees happy, healthy, and productive?
Do you worry about data security because breaches are expensive, and there are fines for releasing confidential information? Or do you truly care about your employees’ privacy and want to protect them and their families?
Are you checking the OSHA boxes because you’re terrified of the cost of a fine or accident? Or are you genuinely committed to making sure everyone on staff is working in an environment that prioritizes their Safety?
Your approach to compliance matters
If you’ve been looking at compliance as nothing more than a rigid set of rules you have to follow, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. The approach you take to compliance says a lot about the approach you take to running your business and taking care of your employees.
Short-sighted businesses view compliance as a necessary tool to control staff and protect the organization. But merely wanting to avoid claims isn’t an inspiring motivator.
Innovative, big-picture organizations see compliance as a natural extension of their business philosophy and strategy.
- They will find opportunities to align their compliance practices with their purpose, values, and vision.
- They will look beyond the rules to see why they are important and how they can support the things that matter to their employees.
- They will associate good compliance practices with good business.
These organizations will also involve their employees in their compliance processes, giving them a sense of ownership and accountability. Engaged staff members can then become happy advocates and active participants in the creation and implementation of policies that create inclusive, safe, and healthy workplaces.
Some companies will continue to look at compliance as a set of boxes to be checked off. And yes, they will technically be meeting their obligations. But businesses that choose to embrace compliance as an opportunity to live out their people-focused values are those that will build the best cultures and attract the best talent. Why not be one of them?
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