By Randy Stephens …
As compliance professionals, most of us are very proud of the accomplishments of our programs. Nevertheless, we know that there are areas where we can improve – and these improvements may require resources in the form of people or cash. So how can we best make a business case to the “powers that be” for getting additional resources to make needed improvements?
Advocating for Compliance to Get “Board Time”
The solution for most of us is the board report. Whether or not you get your own “compliance” tab in the board report, a page or just a paragraph in the legal or audit tab, the board report can be our best chance to tell our story. Sounds easy, but we all know it is not.
Most of us compete for space and prestige with other functional departments such as legal, finance, operations, sales or others which have a long history of being included in board reports.
Most of us compete for space and prestige with other functional departments such as legal, finance, operations, sales or others which have a long history of being included in board reports. The leaders of these functions have often honed their presentations and their delivery.
Even more importantly, board members and senior management “get it” when these functions present. This may not be the case when it comes to compliance or corporate governance. We are often educating the listeners or readers on elements of an effective compliance program while also trying to deliver the salient high points of program performance and opportunities for improvement.
So what can we do to change this?
Make Your Board Report Count
It is often said that “you can only change what you can measure.” In the increasingly metric-driven business world, this has never been truer. If you can’t show change velocity, correlation, return on investment (ROI), or one of the other metric buzzwords, how can you claim your place at the table with functions that routinely spew out reams of data?
The knee jerk reaction for most of us, at least initially, is to pull and report every piece of data we can get our hands on. This is particularly true with our hotline data because it is readily available and offers many data points: case numbers, closure rates, anonymous reporting percentages, etc. Our hotline data may seem like our chance to show that we are as data driven as the next function – with the pie charts to prove it. But is this the right approach?
For instance if you only have a page in the board report and all you show is hotline data, what is the natural conclusion? Compliance is only about the hotline. While hotlines are a critical element of effective compliance programs, we all know that our programs are much more than the sum of our hotline data.
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