Why change management skills are important for CCOs


A compliance officer’s job never ends – either new laws and regulations come in, the company is branching out into new products, new businesses and opening offices in new geographies, or the compliance officer compliance performs a gap analysis on the current compliance program to see how to close the gaps.

The officer will determine additional requirements, consider their impacts, coordinate with the project manager and engage different departments, or review any relaxation of regulations and how they may bring additional business opportunities.

Whatever the compliance officer does will bring change to the business, from the board to the various departments – and, let’s face it, not many people like change.

Therefore, compliance officers and project managers must be adept at introducing change in a way that is acceptable to employees, and change management skills are highly prized skills for candidates for these positions.

“These skills are currently highly valued by compliance specialists, due to the tightening of regulations. Candidates who can demonstrate previous experience adapting to change in a fluid environment are highly sought after,” says Jessy Wong, recruiting manager Michael Page Financial Services.

Change usually starts at the top. Compliance officers must obtain the full support of the board and senior management before launching a new program.

“The first thing compliance managers need to do is create a shared need. They need to get executive commitment to the end state. Senior management buy-in will generally be a reflection of “What’s in it for me? “. It breaks down into showing both the positive benefits, such as increased revenue and reduced costs, and the negative side of compliance, such as fines, lawsuits and jail time,” said Scott Lane , CEO of The Red Flag Group.

The introduction of change must also be based on a consistent corporate culture. Before launching any new program, compliance officers need to ensure that the trust is there. If the company’s previous attempts at change have not delivered, the best approach is to acknowledge and take responsibility for it, and explain why it will be different this time around to gain employee trust. before moving on.

“Ultimately, changing culture is about changing the behavior of every person who contributes to the fabric of the company. Changing someone’s behavior is done by understanding the reasons why the person acts in a certain way. “Looking at people’s motivations and adjusting them through a series of inducements and disincentives will usually steer their behavior in a certain direction. If enough people move in that direction, a culture will develop,” Lane says.

A good change agent must be very flexible, have superior communication and, just as importantly, listening skills that help them identify people’s real concerns and better understand group dynamics.

Good communication starts with painting a vivid and detailed picture of how changes will benefit all stakeholders. Sharing a roadmap will demonstrate clear guidelines, training, and tools, so staff can see how they will navigate the change process.

To avoid misunderstandings and assess employee concerns, compliance professionals should hold a question-and-answer session right after the detailed description of the direction, with the mission, vision and strategy to achieve it, and ensure that all milestones to be reached are clearly defined.

Resistance is normal and should be expected, Lane said. “The basic principle of dealing with resistance is to understand the reason for the resistance. Always look for the root cause of the resistance and address it. Consider different approaches to initiate change in different markets, regions or countries. »

Staff must be reassured so that they feel secure in their work and know that they can achieve their business objectives. A good compliance manager should understand how each role in the business is motivated to achieve their goals and understand that everyone is different; approach them reassuringly in their roles with an open mind.

“They should look at it from a marketing director’s perspective and if the new brand guidelines aren’t right, ask why that is,” Lane says.

More often than not, problems arise when the end state is not described clearly, in observable and measurable terms, according to Lane. The success of the change largely depends on the change in behavior of each employee and it is also necessary to pay more attention to it. The training and the practical solutions proposed to the possible future challenges will reassure the employees on their capacity to act on the changes.

People are also creatures of habit. They may have fully understood why change is necessary and are motivated to introduce new ways of doing business, but over time, first impressions fade. They may forget exactly what they need to do or simply give up after a few failed attempts. Therefore, monitoring is extremely important and can take different forms. He can rely on mentors and buddies, or on key influencers who may have been with the company for a long time and who are respected by their colleagues. Different types of coaching, such as manager, one-to-one, or group training can also help; coaching will keep the process of change fresh until it finally becomes a generally accepted habit.

Soft skills of a compliance officer as a change agent

  1. Agile and flexible
  2. Appreciates the differences between people and cultures
  3. Understands the emotions of colleagues
  4. Good negotiator with a spirit of persuasion
  5. Look at things from multiple angles
  6. Good communicator and listener
  7. Take criticism well
  8. Friendly and connects well with the public
  9. Builds trust
  10. Compassionate enforcer and having tenacity.

Most Common Mistakes of a Compliance Program

  • No shared needs or shared visions
  • Resistance silenced rather than persuaded
  • No involvement of early adopters and key influencers
  • Not enough attention paid to the behavioral side of change
  • No monitoring or control.

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