Compliance Management Challenges!

According to Wikipedia, compliance means observance of a rule. This rule could be a policy, guidelines or law. It also states that regulatory compliance talks about organizations or public agencies’ efforts and steps to comply with relevant laws, policies and regulations.

In organizations, compliance management involves coordinating business process management systems with compliance systems, a tool that connects governments’ legislative and business rules to that of organizations’ processes, policies and procedures.

The aim of the compliance system is to endorse a self-sufficient level of operations by curtailing losses caused to the business through violation of law or internal misappropriations. The system monitors the costing and benefits of each task, whether top most policy or lowliest order transactions of single or multiple processes of the organization’s operations.

At a global level, The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has worldwide compliance standards such as ISO 177700. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), too, offers compliance standards in the electrotechnology area. There was major failure of compliances vis-a-vis risk-taking capabilities leading to the present situation. Truthful compliance of pertinent laws is the answer to stop repetition of major failure of compliances that the world has witnessed.

Company secretaries are recognized as specialized professionals for corporate governance and compliance management programs. The need of the hour is corporate governance, corporate compliance and corporate social responsibility as much of the turmoil can be avoided.

Failure on the part of the organizations to follow proper compliance management especially affects small stakeholders who painstakingly invest their life’s savings only to be duped by organizations that don’t follow compliance rules.

Corporates too must adopt compliance management just like it adheres to total quality management procedures across all its branches and factories. With the advent of technology in all areas of life, revolutionary changes in the corporate compliance world has to take place due to dematerialization of securities, ECS payment of dividends and electronic filing of documents.

For effective compliance management, the two most important factors are transparency and the disclosure of financial statements. To keep non-compliance repercussions at arm’s length, total corporate compliance management systems should be in place with professionals such as company secretaries managing greater responsibilities towards organizations as well as all the stakeholders in general.

Every entity or corporate organization should promote and maintain honesty, transparency and disclosure starting from the top most level to the bottom level. Comprehensive compliance management is the key to achieve corporate excellence and successful development of business. Non-compliance will result in disqualification of top level managers and heavy penalties in form of fines and imprisonment. Every corporate house or business must put into place total compliance management systems.

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Avoiding Workplace Harassment!

Did your colleague sabotage and acclaim your work? Did your boss threaten you for no reason? Does your peer leave offensive messages on e-mail or gossip behind your back? Do your seniors put you down in front of customers, management or other workers due to poor communication skills? Does your boss talk rudely to you?

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Employee Security Awareness Program!

A section of security breaches are caused by employees, whether accidentally or deliberately. Security breaches would tantamount to:

  • Theft of data and confidential information such as financial figures, tender amounts, etc.
  • Opening infected emails and unknown attachments from unheard senders.
  • Leaving workstations on at the end of the day.
  • Disclosing passwords to peers, family and friends.
  • Installing unauthorized software for personal use.
  • Lack of virus software updates.
  • Using internet resources for personal use.
  • Improper use of laptops or other devices, leading to loss of proprietary information.

To prevent security breaches of any kind, organizations should strengthen and solidify all their security systems and technologies, establish formal practices and invest in security awareness programs. This program is aimed at making employees understand and feel responsible for security of the Company’s assets and the consequences in case these assets are compromised.

Listed here are simple strategies from industry experts:

  • The Company should discuss its expectations from employees. Awareness implies bringing about a change in employee behavior. Describe what constitutes a security breach, how to report a breach or incident, organize learning sessions and have all security-related rules and regulations posted on the Company’s intranet for reading.
  • Organizations should do their groundwork. Before choosing a security awareness program, they should know who has access to what and who needs to access what. Knowing this is essential as the dynamics of the program changes with the needs of organization. Security measures at a leading investment bank would be different from those implemented by a construction company.
  • Keep the security program flexible. What is good today may be outdated tomorrow. Introduce new technologies, change business models, introduce new objectives, etc.
  • Expect results, not miracles. Spiteful employees will hinder the understanding and implementation of a Company’s security program. Make employees aware of the to-be-followed repercussions for security breaches.
  • It is vital for the top management to be involved with the security awareness program. Without visible executive leadership supporting the program, employees will take it easy and break the rules.
  • Simplify your communication lines. The program’s success depends on how effective the lines of communication are between employees and top management. Send out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter updating employees of the existing and future security initiatives. Set up an e-mail id or special telephone line for employees to report security breaches or accidents.
  • Explain each aspect of the program in detail. Curiosity may prompt employees to try out the various features of the program. Verbally explain that pushing the blue button may lead to system shutdown, while pulling the chain rings an alarm.
  • Make sure that each employee is updated on the program. Lack of knowledge can pave the way for expensive lawsuits and the like. Keeping each employee on the same page is the key to a successful implementation of the security awareness program.
  • Measure the effectiveness of the program by organizing security quizzes, tests, etc. To know whether your employees read security-related documents posted on the intranet, use the stats counter to know the number of times an employee reads those documents. Offer rewards to employees for improving their security behavior. Announce the winners’ names through newsletters or e-mails, compare their before and after training progress, etc.
  • Mention employees’ role clearly for them to understand each security policy. If employees understand their importance in keeping the Company’s data and information secure, they will alter their behavior and think twice before divulging any confidential details.

To put it simply: For successful implementation of a security awareness program, employees at every level need to understand basic securities policies as well as their responsibilities.

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Multi-Cultural Team Management

As a manager, you will have to vary your managerial style to suit each individual’s needs and find common ground to cope with issues across cultural boundaries. Some of the challenges faced are:

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Spotting and Filling Capability Gaps!

At some point in your career, you might have come across the word, Capability Gaps, especially at the corporate level. It refers to the inability of the Company to meet certain working requirements due to inept existing systems, lack of knowledge or skills.

But, why do these gaps exist? How does one spot these gaps? What tools or techniques can be used?

Well, these gaps can exist due to many reasons such as:

  • Lack of knowledge or skills.
  • Inept resources (read employees).
  • Constant technological changes.
  • Vagueness of Company’s goals and targets.
  • Shortage of operational and leadership capability.
  • Lack of training and development or lack of monetary resources to fund the training programs.

These gaps can also exist due to a lack of ability to connect, sustain and scale up the existing capability requirements to the business goals by providing the right kind of environment.

The most common methods of spotting capability gaps include formal discussions with management and colleagues, customer’s feedback or informal meeting with peers. In addition, there are two main techniques to spot capability gaps including competency mapping and SWOT analysis.

Capability gap spotting through competency mapping involves identifying competencies required to meet or exceed customer’s expectations. It monitors the existing critical expertise and desired proficiency, a person must have. This technique aids in new hires recruitment process and training requirements of the staff. Commonly used methods for mapping competencies are interviews, feedbacks, questionnaires, appraisals, analysis of tasks or jobs, etc.

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats that are part and parcel of a business organization. It offers a snapshot of an individual’s approach as well as his proficiency in line with internal and external factors. It is a simple tool that leverages team dynamics and helps in team building.

However, timely identification, combination of the strategic process and cohesive planning options that anticipate and identify potential gaps can lead to the formulation of cost effective solutions to fill capability gaps.

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View E-book on E-learning to Achieve Business Goals

Healthy interpersonal relationship across various departments – The key to organizational success!

Teamwork and trust towards co-workers lead to the success of any project. Maintaining good relations with people belonging to other departments is not a difficult task, especially if you know the reason for mistrust. Keep in mind a few key points for doing away with internal fear and loathing towards inter-departmental colleagues.

  • While working on projects and campaigns across departments, avoid working with people you are friends with. It is always advisable to work in a group with new people. This exercise will help break the ice between individuals, realize their strengths and weaknesses, as they will be forced to work together as a team.
  • Sharing appreciation as a team will convey the message that team efforts are recognized. This can boost the team morale to work better next time. For example, forward an appreciative mail from the client on a successful presentation of a particular campaign to everyone involved in it.
  • Choose the right means of communication. Informing one member and not another about a project on hand is a complete no-no. Avoid saying, ‘if you had asked me, I would have told you’ as this only serves to dampen the team’s morale. To avoid silly conflicts, bring both parties to the negotiating table and help them to sort out any prickly issues.
  • Companies can also help employees banish fear and petty hatred amongst different departments by running training workshops. If people working in different departments are made to attend common workshops, they will not just get to know each other but also understand each other’s working styles and job responsibilities, thereby enabling better interaction.

Therefore, a healthy interpersonal relationship across various departments is the key to organizational success.

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Hurdles to Effective Learning in Organizations

Effective learning of any kind—whether at school or the corporate level—requires an individual’s passion and zeal to learn. It is imperative to understand the importance of learning. Most of the time, people learn the things in life after finishing school or college, or what we call professional education.

Today, most learning is by personal experiences rather than the bookish knowledge we gain. It’s important to understand that what we learn today may not hold value 10 years down the line. Experiential learning is what holds the maximum importance these days. Learning at the corporate level has multiple reasons and chief among them are:

  • One may learn or upgrade his or her skills for increasing his or her competence at the workplace.
  • Increase in career prospects.
  • An employee can undergo training to feel at par with colleagues in terms of education and experience.
  • Learning may happen to due to lack of job satisfaction.
  • Learning can also help the individual in discovering new areas of expertise.

There are many more reasons why an individual wants to learn something new. Notwithstanding, there are barriers to the learning process. Some of these key barriers to effective learning are:

  • Many consider learning as just another task and not as an experience to know more and be knowledgeable.
  • Many times, individuals miss the opportunity to learn more without realizing it.
  • Not recognizing the importance of learning and not knowing how to use the knowledge gained is in itself a barrier to learning.

Starting from the junior most employee of an organization to the top most manager or CEO, each person needs to be responsible about his or her learning which would eventually lead to the growth of the Company. Every individual must identify learning opportunities made available to him or her and utilize them effectively to move ahead in life.

No matter which industry vertical one is in, effective learning is extremely important in every Company. To ensure that your Company’s employees are continuously developing and in the process of constant training, effective learning techniques must be incorporated.

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Stress Management Skills And Strategies

My friend tweeted,”I’m stressed out!!!!” Another says, “I need to get away from this stress.” In a world of globalization, everyone is stressed from adults to teens to even kids. A student is under stress when exams are approaching or an employee feels the stress of unfinished tasks.

What is stress? An individual’s body feels the stress of fighting a particular tough situation by sending out signals that can affect his or her health, productivity and relationships. Events such as death, accidents or unpleasant situations at the workplace like being passed over for a promotion or unpleasantness at home such as sibling rivalry or unfinished household chores, and peers who backstab you at the workplace. To reduce stress from your life, identify the stressors or sources of stress in your life. Whenever you feel stressed, note the reason for stress in a diary or journal.

Some people manage and cope with stress in a healthy manner, while some try to curb stress in an unproductive manner such as smoking, drinking, over or under-eating, withdrawing from family and friends, taking pills and drugs to relax, procrastinating, etc.

However, there are healthy stress management techniques which one can easily resort to. They are:

  • Avoid excessive stress. Learn to say no, avoid people who create stress and tension in life, create a to-do list on a daily basis and avoid discussing topics like politics that are highly debatable. By circumventing stress, you will be able to breathe easy.
  • Modify the situation. If you cannot escape a stressful situation, figure out how you can change the situation or things and avoid the same problem in future. Talk about stressful situations with your family or friends, learn how to multitask and manage your time better, deal with stressful situations or problems head-on and avoid procrastinating.
  • Familiarize yourself with the stressor. If you can’t change the reasons for stress, change yourself by varying your expectations and attitude towards these reasons. Stop looking for perfectionism, view stressful situations from a positive perspective, pause and regroup your priorities or just listen to your favorite music or spend time on your hobby.
  • Accept the reality. The death of a loved one, a serious illness or even recession are some stressful situations that you can’t change. The best thing to do at such times is to accept it. Avoid controlling unmanageable things, learn to forget and forgive and to learn from mistakes are a few ways of managing stress.
  • Relax and have fun. Make time for fun and relax. This will reduce stress to a great extent. Go for a walk, indulge in a talkathon with your friends, cycle, watch movies, listen to music, read a good book, laugh or tend to your garden.
  • Embrace a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen, get enough sleep, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, practice yoga, deep breathing, meditation and other relaxation techniques to manage stress effectively.

Life’s ultimate goal is to ensure a balanced life with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun. So, go ahead and do all you can to distress and enjoy life.

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Inspirational Leader Vs Good Leader!

Earlier this month, I had written about “The Qualities of Good Leader“. However, there is a thin line between a good leader and an inspirational leader. A leader has ‘vision’, as well as an understanding of strategy, the use of power and drive, while an inspirational leader goes beyond all this and achieves more. What maketh an inspirational leader? – People who have the passion and zeal to do something different and have the power to encourage people to follow? Following are few qualities that lead a good leader to become an inspirational leader:

  • Those who have the passion for their vision, zeal and enthusiasm to succeed and do something different and at the same time be compassionate. They genuinely care about other people’s well being and work.
  • Everyone wants to display their strengths and not weakness. Most people think that leaders can do no wrong. When a leader shows a weakness or two, people will realize that leaders too are human beings and not gods.
  • Leaders are those who have the ability to think, foresee future opportunities and more. They rely on their intuition for timing and course of action for present and future opportunities. They keep themselves updated with minutest of information and use it when it is needed the most.
  • What makes inspirational leaders different is that they do things in a different manner and achieve great results.

To inspire, an inspirational leader needs to lead people towards a vision that he wants to achieve. He must be able to convince his fellow workers towards achieving the goal and vision he has in mind and make them follow him willingly.

An inspirational leader is one who:

  • Motivates his team and also inspires them to follow what he/she preaches.
  • Allows the team to function in stress free and friendly environment.
  • Is focused on what needs to be done in an appropriate manner.
  • Clear understanding of the happenings in the organization.
  • Chooses the right path in decision making and problem solving especially while resolving issues at work.
  • Works side-by-side with team mates, never considers any ‘tasks’ below their dignity and inspires others to do the same.
  • Possess sound judgment skills during the critical decisions making process and in unforeseen crisis.

Every person can choose to lead a team, but the one who inspires others can be the one who provides a vision for the future and also offers an encouragement to others to achieve the same goals that lead towards the success of a business. He/she should possess strong leadership qualities and be an example for everyone.

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Keeping Employees Motivated And Engaged!

Appreciation and acknowledgments are central to the outstanding performance of any employee. Employee engagement has been the talk of the corporate world for a long time. In lay man’s terms, employee engagement or work engagement refers to an employee who is fully involved in and is enthusiastic about his or her work and thus will act in a way that promotes the well-being of the organization.

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