Compliance Tech Talks 2015 Recap: Key Topics and Takeaways

What we heard when you get a group of compliance professionals together to talk shop

After a very busy year of live events, our Compliance Tech Talks have officially come to an end…. for 2015 at least. Don’t worry, there will be plenty more in 2016. Hint: Keep an eye out for the new dates and locations being released next week.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with our Compliance Tech Talks, every month we visit a new city with the goal to bring compliance professionals together to network, learn and share what they were doing with their programs. These closed-door roundtable events provided a unique format that allowed attendees to problem solve and collaborate with like-minded compliance professionals and walk away with insight and solutions they could apply to their own organizations.

We had various companies and compliance professionals join us throughout the year including Delta Airlines, Facebook, U.S. Steel, The Home Depot, The Kraft Heinz Company, AT&T, KeyBank, Yahoo!, The Sherwin Williams Company, TIAA-CREF, Sony, Intel, Facebook and more.

Integrating Compliance Into Operations 

A universal takeaway from each talk was despite the fact that compliance needs to be its own department, it can’t work alone. A few different suggestions were made from companies that have recently been able to integrate compliance into larger business processes.

  • Engage in other departments early on so you can be involved in their meetings and participate on a regular and recurring basis.
  • Develop a clear road map that can be communicated throughout the organization so other departments have insights into your planned programs and initiatives.
  • Become a marketer! Treat compliance as your product that you are promoting to your customers i.e. your employees.
  • Host monthly, quarterly or yearly compliance events for employees and tell them a story that inspires and motivates.

All the above suggestions give you a platform to share information, a way to stay active and in front of employees and a chance for you to make compliance interesting and engaging rather than stiff and rule-heavy.

Program Measurement and Reporting 

Reporting was by far the most popular topic. No matter the event theme, reporting challenges were a constant topic of conversation. It was clear that everyone understood the importance of reporting, however they also all agreed that it continues to be one of the most time consuming parts of their job. The key takeaway: Let your data do the heavy lifting.

Patrick Quinlan, Convercent’s CEO, moderated each session and was able to provide Convercent’s vision on modern compliance and how it solves many of the challenges expressed including decentralized data, information blindness, and the benefit of using data to identify trends. He explained that being able to pull together multiple layers of information from compliance data, company data and external data, it would allow compliance departments to get a richer view of what is behind the behavior in the organization.

Patrick continued down this path and showed that the combination of the data working together allows compliance teams to collect the right type of data and more accurately pinpoint the root causes that were driving misconduct. Not only does this save a team time and effort, decisions are no longer reactive but proactive since they can accurately pinpoint the true cause of issues leading to more targeted and informed decisions.

Here are a few visuals that he shared with the group:

Compliance Tech Talks

Compliance Tech Talks

As the above graphics were shown, heads were nodding and hands were moving as attendees were trying to write as fast as he was speaking.

Reporting Structure 

We heard very different experiences when it came to who and when CCO’s are delivering their reports to. Even though many attendees shared the same job title or work for companies of a similar size, the reporting chain still varied. Some said they report directly to their board of directors while others report to the general counsel. In addition, quite a few teams also schedule regular meetings across the organization in order to work together to stop noncompliance. Last but not least, in the spirit of transparency some companies are now making the point to share their compliance reports with the entire organization

Training and Engagement

Since training was one area that most compliance professionals were able to track and report on, various conversations lead to learning and keeping your employees engaged especially since a large portion of their workforce was Generation Y. Yes, I’m talking about the Millennials, the Peter Pan generation (never really “growing up”) and the Trophy Generation (showered with praise and reward for anything above mediocre performances as kids). These new hires are drastically impacting a company culture and reaching them in new ways is a challenge many stated. Below were a few ways that attendees are improving learning and engagement:

  • One size doesn’t fit. Training that resonates to one group of employees won’t automatically fit another group. Training and communications need to be specific to certain demographics, positions, etc.
  • Compliance teams are now creating training videos to increase employee engagement. These videos are more laid back with a touch of humor staring compliance teams in the videos. Who doesn’t want to watch your CCO in a training video doing something funny?
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile. It is very important to give them a mobile option since people are now on their phone majority of the day. On the flip side, mobile doesn’t solve all problems as some workforce might not have access to a phone during the workday.
  • Create an engaging app that is seen as resource for employees to use as guidance and support instead of rules and laws they must follow.


Last but not least, benchmarking was another hot topic. No matter how great your data is or how many reports you have to show your board, compliance executives continue to get the same question – “How does this compare to other companies?”

Most attendees were confident when it came to internal benchmarking. External benchmarking poses a more significant challenge.

One great suggestion provided by one attendee was to set up a meeting with another company that is not a competitor to discuss your compliance programs. This allowed his past compliance team to learn and compare to another company of a similar size, but in a safe environment. If a handful of these meetings can be set per year, you can provide some additional external benchmarking data to your board. In time, compliance professionals hope that external benchmarking will continue to mature so they can easily and effectively provide the answers to their board and leadership teams.

Overall it was a great year meeting and learning from compliance professionals as they share their hard-earned wisdom. We’re looking forward to our 2016 Tech Talks and hope to see you there.

Interested in hosting or attending a Compliance Tech Talk event next year? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please email requesting your city!