Stephen King, the world-famous author known for his horror stories, once stated, "We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” This statement can easily apply to companies neglecting to address their current regulatory technology (regtech) issues and failing to prepare for tomorrow’s worst nightmare. A critical error that organizations often commit when selecting a compliance solution is their failure to consider future requirements and the importance of choosing a system that possesses the adaptability to meet evolving needs.
Thankfully, the world of regtech at your company, aimed at providing the necessary resources for both the business and its employees to fulfill their regulatory responsibilities, should be a far cry from the spine-tingling narratives found in a Stephen King novel. However, if you're in search of advice to alleviate your apprehensions about navigating your regtech journey, here are the top three areas of focus for your employee conflict of interest compliance program.
1. Implement and Educate Employees On Your Gifts And Entertainment Policy
A company's Gifts and Entertainment policy provides employees with guidance on what is deemed acceptable, what falls outside those boundaries, and emphasizes the important reasons for employees to adhere to these guidelines. The primary goal is to prevent violations of anti-bribery laws, which can lead to fines or even more severe consequences. However, just having a policy won’t be enough to minimize the risks of non-compliance.
While client entertainment is a time-honored tradition that’s here to stay, a clear policy that outlines the dos and don’ts will help employees avoid the perils of conflicts that oftentimes lead to issues of preferential client treatment and favoritism.
Taking this one step further, companies should seek out an employee compliance solution that provides a mobile app. Let’s be realistic – it’s not always known if that client will decide to join you for dinner, or extend the invite to their colleagues, and for on-the-go circumstances such as this, employees need to be able to pre-clear spend quickly and easily. With a mobile app, employees can stay within the bounds of the policy while complying with the firm's process.
2. Empower Employees To Be Active Members In Incident And Policy Management
When a company’s code of ethics and code of conduct unite, it provides a strong foundation for a healthy, inclusive company culture. Make sure your regulatory technology solution is capable of handling and incorporating both aspects of this equation. The collection, management, and resolution of issues should align with the overall policies of an organization. And policies themselves should be readily available for your employees to reference when needed.
This is not a solution that can be implemented once and then ignored; it requires at least a yearly review to ensure your policies and procedures are still relevant as your organization changes and grows. In addition, comprehensive employee training is necessary to not only educate your employees but to also strengthen adherence to the company's policies and procedures by reinforcing best practices.
In addition, employees should feel comfortable and empowered to report incidents that deserve investigation and action. Providing employees with an easy, anonymous way to report concerns that makes them feel safe and supported is critical to ensuring your healthy company culture remains just that.
3. Know What’s Going On With Your Employee’s Outside Business Activities
A thorough understanding of relevant external employee engagements is essential to prevent potential conflicts of interest within your company. It is advisable to empower employees with a simple process to disclose their external business affiliations. This will enable the organization to identify potential conflicting board roles, be aware of family members employed by competitor firms, and remain abreast of charitable contributions.
Before an employee acts on external activities, having the ability to provide a pre-clearance mechanism is essential. This way, both the organization and its employees have peace of mind while pursuing their interests outside of the work environment.
When hiring, especially for leadership roles within your organization, make it a point to discuss outside interests during the interview process. Maybe they sit on a board that would be considered a conflict for your organization. It’s best to uncover those things early so both the firm and the candidate can determine how to proceed.
To ensure you are getting the most out of your employee compliance platform and that you are ready for what lies ahead, learn more about Star's Employee Compliance Solutions.