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Is Your Organization Prepared for the Future of Compliance?

 
Friday, May 13, 2022

Technology is changing at an unprecedented pace, and compliance teams need to be ready for anything – the future compliance landscape will be different from anything we’ve seen before.  

Regulations will be more stringent, and companies will be expected to do more to prove their compliance. But with the proper preparation, resources, and tools, you can be ready for whatever the future of technology brings.  

What will that look like, though? The answer largely depends on the industry you’re in. However, a few universal trends will impact every organization by 2025.  

This article will discuss five main compliance trends that you need to be aware of to maintain a future-proof compliance program.

1. Responsive Risk Management

In the past, companies have been able to get away with a “wait and see” approach to risk management. Today, the most important compliance preparedness work you can do is responsive risk management, and it’s all about resilience.  

With the current rate of market change, by the time you’ve identified a risk or managed and analyzed a new regulation, the landscape will have already changed again. Even worse, your company could be the one making headlines for non-compliance. 

Accordingly, you need to be proactive and have a plan in place early on for when things could possibly go wrong. This means being able to quickly adapt your program to changing regulations, identifying risks before they turn into compliance issues, and having a plan in place to mitigate those risks. 

Compliance teams (especially senior leaders) need to have the right tools and processes to quickly respond to and mitigate any potential issue through coordination, management, and communication. These tools and processes can range from simple changes in the workplace to software suites that help you manage your risks.

2. Dynamic Culture

Closely related to the previous trend, a robust compliance function requires a positive culture that embraces change and supports collaboration and innovation. This is only possible if you have the right people on board – those willing to challenge the status quo and push boundaries. 

That means that compliance professionals must play an active role in setting the tone for the organization and promoting a culture of ethics and integrity. This means being transparent, encouraging open communication, and leading by example instead of being the “police” who only enforce rules and are held back by a fear of retaliation. 

More generally, a fully functioning compliance team should work together seamlessly and have a clear understanding of the company’s culture to be able to take on an active role in shaping it. Each member should have the ability to make relevant and timely decisions to empower the organization to adapt to changes in the business landscape and regulations quickly. 

That way, the organization continues to run smoothly while also remaining compliant and competitive.

3. Flexible Structure

The third trend is a flexible structure revolving around having a lean and agile team that can pivot when necessary. 

This flexible structure establishes dispersed yet interconnected teams that can easily share resources and knowledge, allowing the organization to be more agile in its decision-making and quickly adapt to changes. 

Again, the presence of compliance workflow software can make this easier by removing the need for manual processes and paperwork. Instead, automation can take care of the heavy lifting so that your compliance team can focus on more strategic tasks. 

By having inclusive processes and decision-making structures, the organization can collectively benefit from each individual’s creativity, knowledge, and experiences to make better decisions and stay ahead of the curve.

4. Technology Strategy

A common mistake that organizations make is not having a clear technology strategy. Unfortunately, many compliance teams simply “set it and forget it” when it comes to their technology or follow market trends without really understanding how those technologies can help them meet their specific goals. 

However, as the technology landscape changes, so do the compliance risks. As a result, it’s essential to have a clear technology strategy for selecting, implementing, and using technology to support your compliance goals and broader business outcomes. 

This roadmap is critical for long-term success because it ensures that you’re using the right technology in the right way to protect your organization while also staying ahead of any potential risks. 

5. Talent Strategy

Having a talent strategy in place is important because the compliance landscape is constantly changing, so the skills and knowledge required to succeed in this field are also continually evolving. 

As a result, it’s essential to have a plan for how you’ll attract, develop, and retain top talent. This includes not only compliance professionals but also those with complementary skill sets which can provide a fresh perspective on the ever-changing compliance landscape. 

This could include partnering with HR to create a compliance-specific training and development program, working with the marketing team to build an employer brand that attracts top talent, motivating existing employees to build upon their skillsets through training programs, or any combination of these (and more). 

Investing in your talent strategy will pay off in the long run by ensuring that you have the right people in place to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. 

The Future of Compliance Will Be Determined by Those Who Prepare for It  

The future of compliance is ever-changing, but there are a few things that we can be sure of. 

First, organizations will need to be more proactive than ever in their approach to risk management. Second, culture and structure will continue to play a significant role in compliance success. And finally, technology and talent will be critical to staying ahead of the curve. 

Those who are prepared for these changes will be in a better position to meet the challenges of tomorrow and thrive in the ever-changing compliance landscape.