A few weeks ago, I came across an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal – “Compliance Officer: Dream Career?” – focused on the rising demand for compliance talent. According to the WSJ, companies worldwide are currently hiring thousands of compliance personnel to ramp up their enforcement of industry and government regulations.
What really caught my attention, though, was the point that compliance can be a stressful career choice – it can be difficult and complex, and it comes with political challenges. Compliance staff members are on the hook to help business workers navigate regulatory waters and avoid risk. And, they can be held accountable for infractions and control deficiencies.
The article also underscores the fact that communication skills are paramount to the role of the compliance officer. I completely agree with this point! Based on my experience with SailPoint clients and their software projects, I have found that as companies increase investments in internal controls and compliance reporting, they need workers who can translate audit and legal requirements into business practices and can train business people on the operations and technology needed to enforce preventive and detective controls.
Some of the most successful compliance projects I’ve seen over my tenure at SailPoint had several factors in common:
- They invested in educating and gaining support from business users. They communicated changes and requirements via company portals, email newsletters, etc. They set clear expectations and provided training opportunities like web-based training videos.
- After completion of project milestones, they promoted and internally marketed that success to other business units. They provided visibility to how quickly and easily business units met their compliance goals. They shared metrics that showed how easy it could be to do what was right.
- They divided up projects into manageable phases that could be completed quickly. Gaining these “quick wins” helped to motivate everyone. When half the battle is changing behavior and getting business users to pay attention to matters beyond their “day jobs,” it’s extremely important to motivate participation.
Last year, one of our clients told me “we have business units competing with each other to become the next phase in our access certification rollout.” Now that’s the kind of internal buy-in we’re all looking for!