Editor’s Note: Fresh Perspectives is an exclusive series of The Compliance Report that features expertise across Convercent. Each week we will feature a different Convercent expert, capturing their opinion and unique voice. Fresh Perspectives will be published weekly on Fridays.
When you go shopping for say a new car, you have a list of safety-related must-haves such as power windows, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, all-wheel drive, etc. You can do a simple Internet search for “Must-have features and functions of a new car” and get millions of results telling you the do’s and don’ts. There’s been research, safety reports, customer reviews, and glossy advertising that have, consciously or subconsciously, helped you determine your buying decision. And after purchasing a vehicle, you know your responsibility isn’t over – you’re going to need to perform regular maintenance, tune-ups, and even possible accident repair on top of everyday cleaning and cosmetic attention – all in effort to retain its value, safety, performance and efficiency.
It’s a similarly weighted decision when searching for a compliance program– at least when it’s placed in the context of protecting your company. In other words, you wouldn’t just buy a car because it came in the right color but it lacked safety belts or poor crash test results or air bags or antilock brakes. However, the information out there in relation to finding the right compliance solution to fit your needs is slim to none.
This post is going to discuss why you shouldn’t just buy a compliance solution to check a box and be done with it. It will give you helpful features and functions to look for when deciding on a compliance solution; one that fits your unique needs, business objectives and personal management must-haves.
Focus on providing a positive compliance experience to build and maintain employee loyalty to your program.
I talk with compliance teams regularly from the chief executive to the middle managers in compliance departments or the HR generalist or legal aid that is in charge of heading up and running compliance in their organization. While everyone’s needs change based on their business and objectives, one variable remains constant – pick a solution that will be easy for your employees to use and use reliably. This is the first step in creating long-lasting loyalty.
Know what to look for in a compliance solution and choose one that creates a memorable experience.
Shopping for nearly anything in today’s competitive markets can be overwhelming due to the simple fact of copious optionality alone, and you want to get the most out of your investment. Finding one set resource to help you make a good purchasing decision for your compliance program can be challenging, and you’re busy enough as it is trying to stay up to date on regulatory changes and program oversight. Having a partner in this process makes all the difference. Aside from technical capabilities the solution and the way you manage inherently provides a new experience with compliance. Make sure it is positive, seamless and non-disruptive to ensure adoption and continue use.
Like any relationship, the one you forge with your compliance solution team and software is about giving and taking.
My team and I strive each and every day to surgically approach our relationships on a one-on-one basis, and it all comes down to what experience we want to provide. From making sure the client has the right resources involved and the confidence in taking ownership and accountability in the product, it all leads to fostering a successful and impactful experience for both the software vendor and the company.
Integrating a new solution isn’t just a set it and forget it experience. It takes maintenance, attention and due diligence. Over the years, we’ve see what a “successful” customer looks like and what a “least successful” customer looks like in terms of implementing a software solution that helps them manage compliance easier and more efficiently. Below are some characteristics traits we have taken note of.
TOP CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL AND LEAST SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMERS
Most Successful Customers
Clear goals and strategy
Project sponsor is advocate and internal driver
Pre-work of selling to and coordinating with internal teams is done
Onboarding meetings broken out into more digestible sessions
Executive sponsor involvement
Committed internal IT support resource
Least Successful Customers
No internal alignment
No high level plan or strategy
Check the box solution – no perception plan or strategy
Trying to fit existing process into solution
Afraid to change
No IT support
We often find that when we present this comparison to our clients or to potential clients, they can relate to one or the other. But yet, they are surprised that even if they are seeking a solution for their compliance program, they don’t know what makes a good solution and what doesn’t; what solutions will fit their best skill level and program maturity; and how to align the outcomes they are seeking to the solution they purchase.
Here are some quick list items you can take note of when comparing solutions (at the end of this post, you can download a PDF version of this list to print):
- Quick time to value (TtV) – the period of time between a request for a specific value and initial delivery of the value requested (value = desirable business goal)
- Ability to gain momentum across the company; brings excitement and ease to the compliance department
- Ability to report to your Board or Executive Sponsor that progress is being made
- Able to provide clear and accurate compliance ROI
- Easy to roll out and quickly (weeks not months)
- Does the solution provide regular success checkpoints?
- How long is the average response time to help desk support requests?
- How many hotline calls are answered in a timely manner?
- How long does an employee stay on the line with a hotline representative?
- What is the average hotline abandonment rate?
- Will you have a dedicated support member at the ready to answer any and all questions?
Since your name will be associated with bringing on a new solution, choosing one is more about ROI and quick TtV, and being able to create momentum and energy within the organization. It should show immediate value for the compliance role and your work while increasing trust in the function.
You must be mindful when choosing a solution in order for it to be successful, and choosing a solution that just checks a box may be the easy choice in the short term, but think about the big picture – the long term.
Regardless if you chose Convercent, at the end of the day you should have best practices outlined that are unique to your business and your objectives that you can apply to any type of technology you are looking at or using currently.
In my experience here at Convercent, it’s easy to spot what a successful customer looks like in terms of characteristics they display and questions they ask when seeking to do business with us and what a least successful customer may possess. This is important because if the customer is not willing to provide a give and take, no matter what solution you end up choosing will only be as successful as the work you put into it. Relating it back to the vehicle analogy, if you forget to change the oil in your engine or do so on a regular or consistent schedule, your car’s engine will eventually die.
If you break apart bringing in a new solution into four phases, listed below, you avoid overwhelming your team and company – not to mention yourself. But yet, it’s important to cover each stage thoroughly to calm any doubt or uncertainty and strengthen confidence in your decision to bring a new software solution into current workflows and processes.
When you have made the right decision after doing sound due diligence, use these four phases to roll out the implementation of the software throughout your company and department to get everyone on the same page, which is crucial for sustaining success.
- Strategy and Planning – have a kickoff meeting with your team and provide an introduction to the product and provide a project overview with timing. Make sure you have an executive sponsor on board. An executive sponsor takes the role as a secondary advocate — someone else in your company that can communicate and reinforce why this solution was purchased, the business value and the broader goals.
- Configuration and Testing – openly communicate how long the system will take to train employees, set up and test. You’ll want to factor in other data sources to integrate such as HR data and legacy data. Test the system against everything you will be using it for to ensure success.
- Product Training – does the system come with a dedicated resource from the vendor to help you troubleshoot the day-to-day administrative tasks?
- Communication and Rollout – execute a sound communication plan and rollout of new services and enhanced business processes.
Reinforce change – consistently and confidently.
Conduct regular reviews about how the system is performing and integrating into employees’ workflows. Collect any and all feedback and then analyze the insight to determine and adjust the program to address any gaps that couldn’t have been foreseen before bringing in the solution. Often times, it’s easy to get caught in the flow of always catching things that don’t work, especially, if we were hesitant toward implementing something new or just naturally averse to change, but it’s important to remember to celebrate successes as well such as policy attestations rates increase or a boost hotline traffic, etc.