6 Money-Saving Strategies to Comply with Key Rules and Regs

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A business that can’t comply with important rules, its own or the government’s, can find itself paying serious penalties. But new strategies are emerging to keep employees on the compliance rails — and keep more money in the corporate checkbook.

Recent research from CYPHER Learning found the average U.S. organization pays out $1.2 million each year thanks to rule-breakers in the rank and file. Keeping your people in the know is a particularly knotty problem when it comes to data management; while EU-based businesses have lived for years with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules, the U.S. environment has been less overtly rigorous — until 2024, when more than a dozen state data compliance regulations take effect.

U.S. businesses will need to heed all of them, state by state — plus numerous federal OSHA, security and financial regulations launching or changing this year. There’s potential for havoc at even the most conscientious organizations. So how do they help employees adhere to multiple new roadmaps?

It’s not as simple as sending an email or Slack message with updated regulations. Employers need to understand changing rules to interpret and apply them. Few set out to deliberately break rules and sow chaos, but organizations must work diligently to keep everyone above board — with systems that effectively communicate and enforce compliance regulations.

To support employee efforts to recognize and follow the rules, here’s a look at six of the best strategies to consider.

Related: 3 Ways Businesses Are Staying Ahead of Regulatory Changes in 2024

1. Appoint a “chief compliance guru”

It sounds simple, but many organizations, especially small businesses, have no dedicated person in charge of compliance. While compliance regulations like workplace safety may fall to HR, cybersecurity and data compliance issues might fall to IT. Tax and finance compliance may be the domain of the accounting team. While it’s important that subject area experts understand and help decipher regulations, there should ultimately be one person in charge of informing everyone across the organization of regulations they need to know.

2. Update training and make it fun

Compliance training doesn’t have to be boring and time-consuming. New regulations are usually publicized well before they take effect, so HR and learning and development staff will typically have time to create training materials. It’s better for all learners if organizations break coursework into smaller, more digestible sessions. And don’t underestimate the business value of gamified learning; employees respond to it and it quells boredom. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, 69% of workers will likely remain loyal to an organization for at least three years if that firm includes gamified training and upskilling in its employee packages.

3. Make small updates to existing courses

Don’t have time to create an entire course on the latest OSHA compliance rules? Insert new compliance knowledge into existing training courses. For example, if you’re training your organization about workplace safety rules, embed the latest OSHA regulations for all to review while deleting material that’s no longer valid, or build a mini-course to present new regulation changes.

4. Automatically remind employees

If busy employees are given compliance updates only at the beginning of each year, they may forget important rules within a few months unless HR or a chief compliance officer stays on their radar. It’s easy for important rules and regs to fall through the cracks, so set up periodic automated emails or instant messages reminding employees to review the latest regulations. For example, security-first organizations consistently tell employees about new phishing and spearfishing schemes. Borrow such tactics by automating compliance reminders.

Related: 5 Practical Strategies for Instilling a Culture of Compliance in Your Team

5. Post reminders everywhere

With more organizations going remote or hybrid, organizations can’t just post compliance updates on a break room bulletin board. Use an array of channels to keep employees informed: post regulations online, set up instant messaging group chats and issue reminders at monthly company meetings or offsites. This multichannel strategy also reminds employees how important compliance is to the organization.

6. Make employees accountable and reward them

More employees will likely keep key rules top of mind if records of compliance are added to employee reviews or good performance is rewarded. Rule breakers can cost companies millions of dollars, so small incentive programs for completing compliance training or adhering to compliance regulations — extra personal time off, perhaps — can save a lot of money. Framing specific training goals in annual reviews gives employees an achievable goal and motivates them to keep up with changing regulations.

New or evolving rules and regulations are a fact of corporate life. How employees embrace these new rules — and associated education and training processes — can make a big difference to organizational performance as well as the financial bottom line. As hefty fines for breaking rules are a frequent reality, it pays employers to take compliance training seriously. Implementing small changes in the ways employees learn, and verifying they understand new rules and are held accountable, can minimize the cost of unintentional rule-breaking.

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