You’ve always been proud of the way your company adheres to the letter of the law – and then the government moves the goalposts. Suddenly, you have to make changes to the way you do things or risk falling afoul of the new legislation. And it’s not as if you won’t be facing internal resistance to change. “Do we really have to do this?” is the refrain you hear at every turn. Managing regulatory change takes dedication, professionalism, and attention to detail.
There’s also an element of risk. Should you fail to achieve compliance, there will be penalties. On the other end of the spectrum, you could be overdoing diligence to the point where it is costing your organization more than it needs to in terms of resources and productivity.
We look at some of the best practices that will make managing the change process easier, saving you time and resources you could apply more profitably elsewhere.
Best-Practices for Managing Regulatory Change
First, Understand the Law
Unless you are in the legal profession, just understanding what you’re supposed to do can be difficult. Government agencies can be helpful, but sometimes even their employees can misunderstand the changes and spread misinformation. It’s worth consulting a legal professional who specializes in the relevant field, for example, labor law, to ensure you know exactly what changes you need to implement.
Without following this step, you could end up making unnecessary changes, or worse still, you might fail to achieve compliance despite your best efforts.
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Monitor Your Regulator’s Official Communications
While informal consultations with regulating bodies’ employees can be a minefield, official communications are carefully compiled. Visit your regulator’s website and look through any guidelines that the body may have posted. If the agency has a newsletter, subscribe and read the latest news on the rollout of the new regulations.
You should monitor enforcement orders and actions too. Knowing what other companies did wrong will help you to avoid the same pitfalls as you navigate the process of managing regulatory change.
Map out the Business Areas where Regulatory Change Management Must be Applied
Regulatory change will seldom impact the whole organization. For example, new health and safety regulations may primarily impact on HR and production while financial reporting obligations would affect financial accounting. However, the change may have a knock-on effect on other departments too. They may need to implement new policies and procedures so that the business area ultimately responsible for compliance can achieve its goal.
Determine How You Will Engage Employees in the Compliance Process
Now that you know who will be affected by the new legislation and what needs to be done, it’s time to start communicating with the people who will be responsible for implementing the changes. Depending on the complexity of the change, this could range from issuing a relatively simple instruction to providing training interventions.
Affected employees also need to know why the change is so important and what risks lie in store should the business fail to comply. Without this information, they may see the changes as inconvenient and trivial. Each person who will contribute towards achieving compliance must know his or her area of responsibility in the process and must be held accountable.
Managing Regulatory Change: Implementation is Only the Beginning
You might think that once you’ve undergone the required changes, your job is done & the transition is complete. Sadly, change is never as straightforward as it seems. Even small changes can have unforeseen impacts, and because you and your team are doing something new, there’s sure to be a learning curve on how to get the maximum out of your new processes.
During the early stages of implementation, you’ll need to, therefore:
- Analyze the new or revised workflows and assess their impact on related workflows.
- Determine whether each contributing task is being completed
- Evaluate results to see whether compliance goals have been adequately met.
- Report to stakeholders on the effects of the change, and the results achieved, using quantitative metrics where possible.
Improve and Streamline
Achieving compliance with new legislation is certainly a milestone to celebrate, but is your business doing so in the most efficient manner possible? Reducing the cost of compliance, be it in terms of resources or work hours spent, can only improve profitability. Having achieved compliance, it’s now up to those responsible for managing regulatory compliance to determine whether the company can achieve the same results with fewer inputs.
Once you have adjusted the system your business initially implemented, you need to re-evaluate and reassess the process and its results to verify that the adjustments you’ve made have a positive effect. As with all workflows, this process of analysis, refinement, and re-evaluation is an ongoing effort.
Using Software to Facilitate Change: Why Do It The Hard Way?
Adopting and adhering to regulatory change is critical to your business. Failing to do either might result in financial penalties for your company. So, rather than blindly go through the process and hope for the best, you can instead adopt workflow management software to ensure a seamless transition & adherence.
Workflow Management Software can be helpful in several ways, one of which is the actual transition to fit new regulations…
- Providing a platform to map out and test the changes you’ll make
- Indicating related processes that may be affected ahead of implementation
- Reducing risk by ensuring that no vital steps are missed
It can also help with adhering to your new processes, ensuring consistency in your employees’ work…
- Reducing the need for employee training by automatically assigning tasks together with required parameters
- Ensures that everyone follows the new way of carrying out the process, eliminating any risk of human error
Wondering how, exactly, you could implement workflow management software to help with managing regulatory change? Why not schedule a conversation with Tallyfy and find out?