Strategies for Aligning Compliance and Operations

by | Jul 4, 2024

As compliance professionals navigate their roles within organizations, they frequently find themselves in the pivotal position of guiding regulatory adherence across all facets of operations. This dual mandate can blur the boundaries between compliance duties and operational responsibilities. Establishing clear distinctions is essential to maintain organizational clarity and enhance overall effectiveness.

Here’s how these boundaries can be effectively managed to promote a streamlined and compliant environment.

Role Clarity:

Compliance professionals should focus on administering compliance program requirements, while operational staff are responsible for understanding and implementing operational requirements specific to their areas.

Support and Guidance:

When operational staff have questions about compliance requirements, they should first review applicable regulatory guidance. If additional support is needed, compliance professionals can step in to provide clarification and support, ensuring that operational staff develop their understanding of compliance requirements.

Training Programs:

Implementing training programs on requirements for all staff levels is crucial. Compliance professionals play a key role in identifying credible regulatory guidance and providing these resources to support compliant decision-making across the organization.

Policies and Procedures:

Clear policies and procedures are essential tools for both compliance and operational leaders. These documents articulate requirements and provide references for further review, helping operational staff make informed decisions independently.

Business vs. Compliance Decisions:

It’s important to differentiate between operational/business decisions and compliance decisions. Compliance professionals should refrain from influencing operational decisions unless they directly relate to compliance program operations.

Risk Communication:

When addressing non-compliance issues, compliance professionals should clearly communicate the associated risks. The ultimate decision of whether to accept the risk lies with operational management, but compliance professionals ensure that such decisions are escalated appropriately. 

Cultural and Organizational Impact:

Establishing clear boundaries supports a pervasive compliance culture throughout the organization. It reinforces that everyone is responsible for compliance while maintaining the independence of the compliance function to perform oversight effectively.

By adhering to these principles, compliance professionals can manage their time and resources effectively, foster a collaborative environment, and maintain clarity in their interactions with operational teams. This approach helps mitigate potential conflicts and enhances overall compliance effectiveness within the organization.

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