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What Exactly Is Ethics And Compliance Software?

Ethics and industry compliance are necessary to keep a business running smoothly. Companies like Facebook and Apple have experienced the consequences of non-compliance first-hand, and it's estimated that businesses in the U.S. incur an average regulatory cost of $10,000 per employee.

When companies make compliance a priority, workplace morale improves, misconduct decreases (as do the possible legal ramifications), and the business’s reputation soars within their industry and community.

Of course, an ethical and compliant workplace culture doesn’t happen overnight. Companies need to invest in compliance by providing comprehensive training and enforcing compliance policies within the workplace.

Beyond that, your program, policies, and actions have to actually be effective in promoting the right behavior throughout the whole organization. This can be a challenge for organizations big and small—which is why many use compliance software to help them improve efficiency and focus on the most important things.

What is compliance software? How can it help your business? 

If you’re asking yourself these questions, don’t worry, you’re in good company. Many business owners are unaware of the benefits compliance software can provide. 

As the leader of a team providing compliance software that covers over 6 million employee lives, I’m here to help you understand just how this technology works and how it can benefit your organization.

What is compliance software?

Compliance is the act of adhering to a set of rules and regulations.

Organizations across industries are facing an increased compliance burden at the domestic and international levels. This requires businesses to have a robust compliance program that accounts for all compliance requirements, and this is where compliance software is helpful.

Compliance software is a digital system that centralizes and streamlines a company’s adherence to legal and professional standards for their industry. This system is typically comprised of employee training tools, incident reporting software (including an anonymous tip line), and data collection for managers to monitor the progress and effectiveness of their compliance policies.

With compliance software, business owners can make sure that their staff is adhering to all professional standards and regulations. By tracking employee training and allowing for quick incident reporting, an organization can assess their compliance efficacy – and using one centralized software is the easiest way to keep track of this essential data.

Key Components Of Compliance Management Software

Company compliance is especially important, but it’s also extremely complicated.

There are many elements to address, from onboarding new employees to monitoring and adjusting policies to meet new industry requirements. A compliance management system puts everything an organization needs into one user-friendly space, making it easier to stay on top of compliance.

Common features in compliance software are:

  • Training Modules: Short videos, training scripts, and other tools to assist in employee training.
  • Task Management: Streamlined workflows to ensure all employees adhere to industry regulations with daily activities.
  • Reporting Features: Systems that allow employees to anonymously report incidences of wrongdoing, noncompliance, or other misconduct.
  • Incident Management: A workflow that ensures all reported incidents are thoroughly investigated and that compliance managers take appropriate action to resolve each issue.
  • Notifications and Alerts: Software alerts both employees and management when the organization is not fully in compliance (e.g., when someone has reported an incident when an employee has not finished training, etc.)
  • Data Overview: Regular data reports to demonstrate where the organization is succeeding in its compliance and where it can be improved.
  • Risk management: Determine your risk level and address loose ends in your security with risk management to minimize compliance risk.
  • Audit management: Schedule and monitor audits to ensure you always complete system audits as prescribed by the regulations.
  • Third-party integration: Integrate the compliance management tool with your HRMS, CRM, and other tools or apps so you can minimize manual tasks and focus on strategic aspects like policy management, remediation, or change management.

Benefits Of Compliance Software For HR

Your company’s HR department is undoubtedly a busy group, compliance is complicated and it can be easy to miss regulatory changes.

Compliance software makes it easier to keep your organization compliant. Using automation, the software will handle compliance behind the scenes, only alerting HR when there’s an issue to report or data to review.

Screenshot Of Compliance Dashboard
Compliance software dashboard showing an overview of incidents reported and statuses of those incidents.

For example, the image above shows the data for incident reports across an organization. You can see that the data indicates the severity of an incident, where it was located, whether the tip was anonymous, and much more. 

HR can use this data to determine which compliance elements your staff needs to review, which regions are struggling the most with misconduct, and other ways your organization can become more ethical and compliant.

Your company can stay on top of compliance policies and procedures without having to overload your employees!

Here are a few other ways compliance software can help your business.

It Helps You Conduct Compliance Training

Training is the first line of defense against noncompliance. When your staff are thoroughly and effectively trained, they are more likely to remember the standards and regulations expected of them in your industry. However, getting your staff to retain this information can be a real struggle—and that’s where compliance software comes in.

Compliance management software includes many tricks for engaging your staff for a more enjoyable and memorable training experience. For example, our software is equipped with bite-sized videos, games to play during training, and other unique methods to make your training really “stick. These are also customizable to suit your organization’s specific training needs.

Further, most compliance software solutions will likely allow you to track your employee’s progress through the training process. HR will receive data reports about each employee’s progression, as well as a report when they’ve completed their compliance training. 

With this software, a manager can ask employees to complete training on their own (by watching videos or taking quizzes), freeing up the manager’s time and giving the employee the opportunity to work at their own pace.

It Helps You Monitor Misconduct

This might be the most important element of compliance software. A company cannot have an ethical or compliant culture if there is no system for reporting misconduct. Employees need a safe and easy way to report noncompliance and compliance software is ready-made to precisely provide that.

Screenshot Of Compliance Online Form
Employees can report incidents of misconduct in an anonymous online form.

As you can see in the image above, employees can report noncompliance through anonymous online forms included with the program. This allows your employees the freedom to speak up when they see misconduct, with no risk of unfair repercussions from colleagues or managers.

Additionally, many compliance software programs allow HR to set up a chain of reporting, like in the image below. This workflow will automatically alert certain individuals throughout an employee investigation, ensuring that everyone does their due diligence and that the organization addresses misconduct properly.

Screenshot Of Compliance Chain Of Reporting
Use compliance software to determine the chain of reporting during workplace investigations.

Streamlined decision-making

A compliance software will compile the compliance information you need on a single dashboard. Management can check all compliance-related boxes and monitor compliance issues without digging deeper to find the information. Availability of data in real-time streamlines decision-making and ensures regulatory compliance.

Reduces compliance risk

Some industries are heavily regulated. For instance, businesses in the healthcare industry need to comply with HIPAA regulations and stay on top of regulatory changes to avoid penalties. 

Similarly, there are other regulations, industry-specific or otherwise, that businesses must comply with, like ISO, OSHA, or the Sarbanes-Oxley.

Ensuring compliance can be challenging for businesses that operate in a highly regulated environment. A compliance software ensures that you’re compliant with the relevant standards and legal requirements, thereby reducing compliance risk.

Frees up resources

Compliance is resource-intensive. Periodic risk assessment and continuous compliance monitoring are costly, but necessary. You can’t overlook them, but you can automate them with software. Automating your compliance processes with the right software will save man-hours and improve your resource utilization.

Enhances credibility

Investing in security and compliance earns you credibility. Customers prefer vendors that they find trustworthy. Offering top-notch data security makes you look credible and more likely to be chosen by customers over other vendors who are behind the curve.

Compliance with FLSA

The U.S. Department of Labour (DoL) released a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB No.2020-5) on August 24, 2020, to offer guidance to employers regarding staying compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in a remote work arrangement.

As per FLSA, employers must compensate employees not only for scheduled hours but also for overtime. The FLSA also allows employers to ensure that no undesired tasks like personal chores are performed during hours that are compensated for.

Non-compliance with the FLSA comes with hefty fines. The HR team must follow the specific guidelines laid out by the FLSA. Mistakes can be expensive, even more so than the cost of a compliance solution, which can ensure that you’re always FLSA-compliant.

I-9 Compliance

Companies are required to have new employees complete the I-9 Form on or before their first day of work. If you’re not in compliance, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes knocking on your door, you could end up in trouble. 

HR teams and employers in non-compliance will result in the company having to pay a civil penalty determined based on factors like business size, seriousness, and history, among others. 

A compliance tool can notify you about completing I-9 forms, retaining them, and tracking your I-9 activities so you’re always informed. A SaaS-based compliance solution might also offer integrations that can help you convert paper forms into digital documents for storing them. 

Your solution might also offer an E-Verify integration to allow you to ensure that your employees are authorized to work in the U.S. quickly.

Choose compliance software, choose a safe workplace

As you can see, compliance software can make the monumental and important task of managing compliance much easier. With one software system, you can help your organization become a more ethical place – and everyone in your workplace will thank you for it.

By Giovanni Gallo

Giovanni Gallo is the Co-CEO of ComplianceLine, where his team strives to make the world a better workplace with compliance hotline services, sanction and license monitoring, and workforce eLearning software and services. Growing up as the son of a Cuban refugee in an entrepreneurial family taught Gio how servanthood and deep care for employees can make a thriving business a platform for positive change in the world. He built on that through experience with startups and multinational organizations so ComplianceLine’s solutions can empower caring leaders to build strong cultures for the betterment of every employee and their community. When he’s not working, Gio’s wrangling his two young kids, riding his motorcycle, and supporting education, families, and the homeless in the Charlotte community.

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