Coronavirus compliance: Stay ahead of new business risk

Coronavirus and COVID-19 present new business risks, so keep compliance top-of-mind at your organization

With the profound impact that the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking on our world and our businesses, it’s more essential than ever to ensure that your company remains compliant. When we come out on the other side of this, you’ll likely be asked to demonstrate—with proof—that the lights stayed on in your compliance program, that your employees stayed ethical despite sustained pressure and uncertainty, and that you kept an eye on third-party relationship risk. But there’s so much going on right now—how do you stay on top of it all and keep coronavirus compliance top-of-mind throughout your organization?

During our first webinar as part of an ongoing series on the impacts of coronavirus, we were inundated with tactical questions from the audience. While we ran out of time to answer them all during the webinar itself, our panelists went to our Community to share their insights on every question we received. We’ve shared highlights below from panelists Asha Palmer, Founder and CEO of Global Compliance Consulting, and Autumn Sanelli, Convercent’s Senior Director of Professional Services, and we encourage you to join the ongoing conversation about COVID-19 in the Community for more insights.

Communicating with your workforce about coronavirus compliance

“We are undoubtedly being inundated with COVID-19 messaging,” says Palmer, “so the more E&C messaging can be woven into business messaging, the better.” She suggests including a note about your helpline at the end of regular CEO communications, so employees are aware and encouraged to use the tools at their disposal to share their fears or concerns.

Coronavirus case management

“If employees are reaching out and asking questions or raising concerns about COVID-19, then your messaging is effective, and you’ve built the necessary trust within the organization so people feel comfortable reaching out,” Palmer says. It’s essential to ensure that all reports and questions are recorded in a central repository to ensure you have the record at your disposal in case you need it later.

For customers of Convercent, we want to make this as easy as possible, so we’ve added a COVID-19 issue type to our case management system. Customers can use this new issue type to identify potential hot spots, where employees may be concerned—identifying that data will help you target education, training, and resources to those areas of concern. Here’s how the new issue type works, courtesy of Autumn Sanelli:

  • Allow your program administrators to identify incoming reports that are related to COVID-19. Navigate to My Organization in your dashboard and click on Manage My Organization. In the Communication Section, select Issue Types and check the box for Coronavirus.
  • Enable the issue type for employees to select on intake. Customers can enable the issue type to be an additional category for employees to choose during the intake process. To enable the Coronavirus issue type for employees, navigate to Manage My Organization. In the Communication Section, select Intake Channels. Choose the intake channels in which you would like to add the Coronavirus issue type.

If you have any questions on how to enable the new issue type, please reach out to your customer success manager or support@convercent.com.

Ethics and compliance on a coronavirus taskforce

Does your company have a coronavirus taskforce? Make sure there is a compliance voice in those meetings. “When people know what you do and value your opinion and perspective, they include you in these business-critical activities because they know you care about and help manage their risk,” Palmer shares.

The E&C role in social distancing and flattening the curve

According to Palmer, ethics and compliance teams play two key roles when it comes to social distancing and flattening the curve:

  • Monitoring the company’s strategy and ensuring it doesn’t lead to a rise in discrimination, harassment, or bullying
  • Engaging with employees and allowing them to share their thoughts, questions, and concerns

Employees will have different opinions about your company’s actions—but your job is not to engage in debate or disagreement. “Listening will be a key role for E&C professionals,” shares Palmer.

The conversation about coronavirus compliance is ongoing—so join our next webinar, Fear and Risk: Balancing Ethical Leadership with Business Resilience on March 26. During that conversation, we’ll dig deeper into the tough decisions your workforce will face as economic implications grow in the coming weeks, the legal implications of those choices, and how ethics and compliance teams can lead their companies through this ongoing situation.

 

Watch our webinar, Fear and Risk: Balancing Ethical Leadership with Business Resilience

Join our upcoming webinar to hear industry experts discuss:

  • The tough decisions your workforce will face in the coming weeks
  • The legal implications of those choices
  • How ethics and compliance teams can lead their companies through this ongoing situation

 

Sign up now