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3 Ways Elevating Your Compliance Program Can Go Wrong

By GAN Integrity

So, you want to elevate your compliance program. Maybe because employees have been ignoring the latest changes you made to a policy, or maybe a leadership shift has queued up the perfect time to reinforce ethics. Either way, you’ve decided it’s time that compliance gets the respect and attention it deserves within your company.

The good news: elevating your compliance program is totally possible (with some hard work). The bad news: it’s also very possible to get off track and fail to execute on this initiative properly. What are some of the top hurdles getting in compliance officer's way? Let’s explore the top three.

1. Not Having a Vision

It’s not an impossible mountain to climb, but raising compliance’s profile across the enterprise is a mountain nonetheless. Don’t sabotage your efforts by ignoring those important initial steps of shoring up executive support and lining up resources before you act. Don’t oversell what you can deliver to executives or support will dry up quickly. Have an overall vision of what you want to achieve, mapped in a logical and realistic sequence. Start with smaller objectives to give you proof of concept and build momentum as you tackle the larger problems.

2. Changes Lack Impact (or Add Burden)

Another pitfall: crafting policies that don’t actually cause procedures to change. There’s no point in writing up paper policies that change how you’re describing the way things should be done, but don’t result in concrete changes. It wastes time and creates an impression that new policies don’t drive meaningful impact.

You also don’t want procedures that add to employees’ burdens rather than alleviate them. Yes, sometimes new regulatory efforts make additional procedures unavoidable. As a rule, however, simplify compliance with policies and procedures, while talking about core ethical values. That’s what elevates ethics and compliance throughout the enterprise.

3. Failing to Align

Above all else, remember that employees are your allies in the fight against corruption and policy failures. It’s in their best interest to help the company succeed. Avoiding damage, whether that’s defined as actual financial sanctions or reputational harm, helps the company achieve success. Aligning with employees rather than working against them can be a pivotal perspective shift.

Ensure Elevating Your Compliance Program Goes Right

Understanding how elevating your program can be derailed is important, but equally as important is what to do in order to elevate your program. To help you navigate the road ahead, we published A Step-By-Step Guide to Elevating Your Compliance Program. Download the eBook and gain access to insights into when, where, and how to bring your program to the next level. Written by Matt Kelly, Editor and CEO of, this eBook is a must read for compliance officers seeking to gain more visibility, respect, and impact for compliance at their organization.

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