How to ensure employees comply with policies and procedures

How to ensure employees comply with policies and procedures

In many cases non-compliance can have big consequences, so deploying an effective strategy to ensure employees comply with your policies and procedures is invaluable.

If you’re an employer looking for a way to provide evidence that policies and procedures have been adhered to, a digital compliance platform is the best solution, however if you’re looking for broader strategies, we will cover those in the rest of this article.

In this article we will show you how to ensure employees comply with policies and procedures, giving you some strategies to apply in your business.

Key Points:

Employee training is one of the most effective cost mitigators for data breaches. On average, breaches at organisations with employee training cost 230k less. (source)

In 2023, compliance and risk professionals said one of their top policy management challenges was training employees on policies (42%) (source)

Strategies for ensuring employee compliance with policies and procedures

There are a number of compliance challenges, but to achieve smooth employee compliance, businesses must use effective strategies to engage and educate employees.

Here are some strategies you can use to improve employee compliance.

#1 Communication and Education drives compliance

The way you communicate and educate should align with your expectations and the actions you want employees to take afterwards.

You should ensure employees are able to grasp expectations and understand how to interpret and implement information you give them.

Clear communication: Imagine trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces, this is what confusing communication looks like, the answer is there, but the ability to execute is not. Keep communications simple, avoid using too much jargon and ensure all recipients can understand the information you’re giving them.

Training and Education: Training is your guiding light, it points employees in the right direction. From day one, inductions and training set the stage, introducing new hires to the rules of play. But it doesn’t stop there, ongoing training and refreshers keeps memories sharp and reinforces the importance of compliance, giving employees the information they need to succeed.

Accessible Documentation: Its unreasonable to assume employees will immediately remember everything you teach them. People have different learning styles, times and ways of digesting information, so thinking about how you distribute your business documents and offering friction free access to documents allows them to refer to any information they need in a pinch.  

#2 Trust through accountable leadership

Actions speak louder than words, and compliance is usually associated with a lot of words, forms and documents.

Accountable leadership and being an example lays the foundation for trust and also lets employees see how they should be applying your policies and procedures.

Lead by example: Leaders serve as beacons of compliance, paving the way for their team to follow. Whether its punctuality, ethical decision-making, or attention to detail, leaders should demonstrate their own commitment to compliance to motivate others.

Accountability Measures: Giving employees accountability for their compliance helps give your process more structure. You can do this through deadlines, proper documentation and tracking, this allows you to report on any engagement metrics, identifying non-responders and taking action where required. Digital acknowledgement software is great for this as it can automatically logs responses, issues reminders and leaves a full trail of communication.

Consistent Enforcement: When rules are enforced consistently across all levels of your business, it offers clarity and stability, helping employees understand what’s expected. It also clears up issues of misinterpretation or misunderstanding of policies and procedures.

#3 Listening, Learning and Improving

Actively listening, learning and improving based on employee feedback can significantly improve your compliance efforts.

Regular Reviews and Updates: Staying up to date with the latest regulations and business requirements is essential to ensure relevance and effectiveness. If you have policies or procedures that are reissued every 12 months for example, you may want to setup reminders to update and review them before reissue. Compliance software like Read & Sign allows you to set these dates and issue reminders automatically.

Feedback Systems: Gathering feedback is invaluable to improving. Create clear communication channels for employees to share their insights and concerns. Also utilise things like digital tests/questionnaires, as this will test understanding of important documents and give you a better idea of any knowledge gaps.

#4 Recognising your compliance champions.

Employees who consistently uphold policies and procedures are incredibly valuable for fostering a good compliance culture.

Regular Monitoring: Being able to review and monitor employee engagement is not only good for spotting compliance or knowledge gaps, but also to identify your champions.

Recognition: Recognising employees who demonstrate compliance reinforces the importance it holds within your company. In a lot of cases, verbal praise or simple acknowledgement of someone’s engagement with your policies is enough to motivate them.

After all, the enforcement of compliance and procedures isn’t their primary responsibility, so the more you can motivate and inspire them to continue being a compliance champion, the better.

#5 Make use of Technology

Online compliance tools offer solutions for gathering feedback, logging and tracking data, and being able to view / report on your compliance efforts in a holistic way.  

For example, you can create surveys to gather mass amounts of feedback which is stored and logged with the associated employee record.

Technology can help you make data-driven decisions to accurately improve your compliance efforts amongst employees.

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