If compliance software is meant to drive compliance activities, all employees must adopt it. Here’s what goes into an effective user adoption strategy
Compliance team members are responsible for doing everything in their power to ensure complete regulatory compliance for their firms. Their ability to fulfill this duty, however, depends on employees’ willingness and ability to complete compliance tasks accurately and on time. This becomes an issue when employees see compliance tasks as inconvenient impediments to their workflows. That’s where modern compliance software comes in. With the right digital tools, compliance can be easier for employees and compliance officers alike. But this is true only if employees actually use the software, and getting them to do so can be challenging.
DRIVE COMPLIANCE SOFTWARE ADOPTION
One common cause of low compliance software adoption is that employees don’t understand when and how to use the software or why they should use it in the first place. Senior leaders at financial firms often get so caught up in the technical, legal, and logistical details of software implementation that they forget to strategize how to roll it out to employees. An effective user adoption strategy starts with proper implementation. Make sure your vendor sets up, configures, and optimizes the tool for accessibility properly before you begin rolling it out to employees. Poor implementation will only create frustration and confusion down the line.
From there, designate adoption champions to guide your employees through the software rollout. Employees need guides to get them excited about new software and continue motivating them as they learn to use it. Compliance officers are in the best position to serve as those guides because they have the best understanding of compliance challenges and how employees can use software to overcome them.
These strategies are based on initial implementation and rollout, but what if you’ve had compliance software in place for some time and employee adoption remains low? Consider a rebranding effort to help people commit or recommit to using compliance software to its fullest potential. Emphasize why compliance is important in the first place and how the software will make complying easier. Remind employees that compliance protects a company’s bottom line, along with clients and employees. In short, convey that it’s less about policing and more about protecting what’s important: while preserving the kind of firm momentum that benefits everyone.
TRACK SOFTWARE ADOPTION EARLY AND OFTEN
We’ve covered the importance of compliance software adoption and a few strategies to drive it, but how do you know whether your efforts are paying off? You must track usage data from the beginning to determine whether employees are using compliance software as intended. The STAR Platform includes built-in tracking capabilities that can do just this. Compliance officers simply drag the data points they wish to track into a table, and the software builds reports with the information. The software can also create graphical representations of these reports for clearer visuals, export reports into editable file formats for deeper analysis, and build out report presentations to share automatically with stakeholders at specified times.
With the compliance software covering the more tedious tasks of pulling together data and building reports, compliance officers have more time to analyze and interpret the data. As you view reports and determine next steps, pay close attention to the following metrics to best understand the state of user adoption:
- Completion rates: Tracking completion rates for certifications and attestations reveals which employees are not engaging with the software.
- Pattern deviations: Changes to employee behavior after the implementation and rollout can indicate adoption issues. For example, if an employee submitted personal trade requests once a week before the implementation and rollout but only once a month after, she might not be submitting a request for every trade.
- Reporting timelines: Employees are responsible for reporting engagements as they form relationships with clients for potential deals. Compliance officers can compare the entry dates of potential deals in the system with corroborating paperwork to see whether employees are reporting engagements in a timely manner.
TRAIN ON AN ONGOING BASIS
If users are engaging with compliance software consistently but incorrectly, it can negatively affect ROI and create unpredictable compliance risks. As such, any user adoption strategy must also focus on compliance training. What’s most important to remember about compliance training is that it should be ongoing. Training in many industries is ongoing, as people must stay up-to-date on critical procedures and the latest thinking. Pilots, for example, must regularly train and recertify. PMPs must do the same. For employees in financial services, it should also be the same—they need to stay updated on constantly evolving compliance regulations, as well as know how to execute those changing compliance tasks in the firm's compliance software.
Ongoing software training is also important because employees are likely to use different features of the platform at different times. That is, if they learn about everything in one initial session, they’re likely to forget how to use specific features before they actually need them in practice. The STAR Platform takes care of educating users as they go by offering brief, step-by-step walkthroughs every time an employee begins a new task in the system. This way, employees can complete the task confidently without having to stop to ask a compliance officer for help.
From there, compliance officers can facilitate stronger compliance training by making sure employees understand how compliance concepts will apply to their everyday work, keeping training sessions short and sweet, training in small groups, and making sure training materials are easy to understand and engage with. Employees are more likely to use compliance software when they’re confident they can use it correctly, and when they do they’ll see how much time and effort they save on compliance tasks. So will the firm.
INVEST IN SUCCESS FOR THE LONG TERM
What good is a tool that goes unused? That basic question encapsulates the argument for driving user adoption. If compliance software is meant to be the driver of compliance activities, everyone must be on board. Otherwise, the firm is open to risk. Compliance officers must put forth some strategic effort to drive compliance software adoption, but much of the work will come down to the compliance software itself. The right platform should combine expansive features with intuitive design to manage all compliance-related activities: without overcomplicating average workloads. Simply put, compliance software should make employees’ and compliance officers’ jobs easier, and the right compliance software will indeed do just that.