Compliance software works only if employees use it. Here’s how to get your employees revved up about your firm's compliance tech, with some outside-the-box ideas from the Chief Technology Officer at StarCompliance, David Rowland
Compliance officers at financial institutions understand that compliance is a crucial aspect of firm success. For other employees, however, compliance is most likely seen as an inconvenient administrative task. The right compliance software can help compliance teams efficiently scale risk reduction across an organization and make completing compliance tasks easier for employees, but the software is effective only if employees use it.
The key is to have a comprehensive user adoption strategy in place at the time of rollout. This is easier said than done, however. One major reason is not all compliance software is made with the end user in mind. Issues with stability or performance, a lack of support, or just a poorly designed user interface can all become roadblocks to software adoption. While some companies choose to combat these issues with extensive training, this can often backfire: frustrating users and making them look at software as an added impediment to their workdays.
Another reason a company might have trouble driving user adoption is an ineffective rollout strategy. Poor communication during rollout, for example, could result in users either not knowing why they need to use the software or not realizing that they need to use it at all. If it’s not clear how a solution aligns with company goals, employees may be less inclined to use it. To implement a solution that employees will use, and therefore work effectively for your organization, you need to understand how to best handle the rollout—who should be on the frontlines driving user adoption and what can be done if things don’t go as planned. Here are my thoughts:
1. A SMOOTH IMPLEMENTATION COMES FIRST
One important contributing factor in the success or failure of software adoption is the initial implementation. Software must be installed and set up properly to enable an easy rollout to employees. At StarCompliance, we take an Agile approach from day one to ensure a smooth implementation for our clients. We work in sprints to iron out wrinkles as we go, shortening the feedback loop and making sure no issue goes unaddressed. We come to each meeting with a clear list of tasks that must be checked off for the software to launch on schedule.
Once implementation is complete, Star fully trains compliance officers to give them an in-depth understanding of how the compliance software can work best for the organization. Armed with best practices and a thorough understanding of how to use the system, the compliance team can then pass this information along to monitored employees. This one step goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth rollout.
2. FIND YOUR SOFTWARE ADOPTION CHAMPIONS
As compliance officers pass information along to employees, these compliance officers can serve as the primary champions of compliance software adoption. They are the people who best understand the challenges of compliance, what problems the software is there to help solve, and how employees will use the software to complete their compliance-related tasks more efficiently. Sometimes there's also a group of employees who are known early adopters of tech in general. If you can cultivate enthusiasm for your compliance software amongst this select group of initial end users, they can in turn become champions for it on a more peer-to-peer level.
First-line managers can also play an important role in driving user adoption. These managers can help ensure their direct reports are adhering to compliance expectations, which sends a top-down message that compliance matters. Giving line managers insight into their team’s progress against compliance-related tasks also allows them to hold their teams accountable, and will ultimately help sustain software adoption throughout the company. In larger enterprises, the technology team dedicated to supporting compliance can also play an important role. This team is an integral part of the back end of software implementation and rollout, but it should also be ready to take a more front-facing role to support employees and troubleshoot along the way.
3. WHEN THINGS HAVEN'T GONE AS PLANNED, REBRAND
For companies who have been using compliance software for some time but are still seeing low user adoption, turning the tide can be difficult. A rebranding effort is a good place to start. Refocus on the why behind compliance; remind employees the compliance team is there to protect rather than police. When employees follow a code of ethics by completing their compliance tasks, they protect themselves and the firm. And user-friendly compliance software makes it easy for them to do their part. When they can see and complete all their tasks in one place, they can knock them out quickly and spend more time doing the work they were hired to do.
A second rollout can also breathe new life into software that's already in place. Back to our software champions: start by getting a small group of adopters excited about the existing compliance platform. They can then serve as champions and motivate other employees to use the software. Then, host training sessions to ensure each employee knows how the tool can work for them. Be sure to provide easy-to-follow process documentation or how-to videos for reference so that employees never get stuck or frustrated when trying to complete a task.
Compliance is crucial to a firm’s success. By keeping regulatory and reputational risk at bay, full compliance means a better-protected bottom line. Having a high rate of compliance software adoption is therefore crucial. Your people are more likely to use their compliance software if it’s easy to use, gets them through their required tasks quickly and efficiently, and doesn’t get in the way of their day jobs. Remember: when you’re strategizing to boost compliance software end user adoption, you’re strategizing to protect your firm’s bottom line.