Trust Is Good But Control Is Better
April 10, 2020
The issues of corruption and governance are topical and affect us all.
Administrators voice commitment but appear unable to get a handle on the problem. I have been following the issues with keen interest and feel compelled to shed some light on them.
TRACKING AND MONITORING
The quote in the title about control was from the CEO of a German company. It goes to the heart of some of the challenges that leaders have in curbing corruption and exercising good governance.
Even if an organization is blessed with the best policies and procedures, they do no good if the entity is not able to track and monitor compliance across the board. The German CEO’s control factor is what is missing.
The will might be there. However, the capacity to effectively monitor compliance might be absent.
COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
We have the experience of working with organizations in high stakes environments who need to ensure compliance in critical areas. Our SPIKE electronic compliance management solution monitors their entire population.
Our clients have the option to track any compliance issue and monitor specific groups or the entire organization. Incorporated notifications and reporting make it easy to monitor even large populations and improve the quality of governance.
There are high profile situations in which Boards have been found wanting with respect to governance issues. In some cases, the Boards were blind to the situation until the matter was exposed. The sad reality is that ignorance does not relieve Board Members of their responsibility. The buck stops with them.
Board Members can take action to reduce their exposure to incidents that approximate to negligence. They can insert themselves in the notification regimes of the SPIKE compliance management module in respect of key issues. They can opt to get e-mails when selected events trigger a notification.
Taking this decisive action beats relying on sanitized reports and sterilized Board Meetings. Pleas of ignorance wear thin when viable control mechanisms are available.
A current issue in the news is the concern about nepotism in hiring practices. A series of cross-linked compliance items could be set up to monitor the hiring process. Notifications could be sent to alert appropriate levels in the hierarchy when a compliance item is triggered.
This facilitates early action without the tedium of having to tie up executive time in micro-management.
It is important to track the compliance item from different angles. In the case of the hiring issue, HR, IT and the Payroll Unit could be required to trigger notifications to C-level executives and Internal Audit, for example. Boards could be included for certain ranks.
So, what if a new hire gets paid without notification from any of HR, IT or the Payroll Unit? That would be indicative of a serious deficiency in leadership requiring a thorough-going intervention.
Interestingly, well-thinking members of staff welcome a structured compliance environment. They are embarrassed by bad publicity related to their organization and rue the lack of effective controls. It is noticeable that when a compliance issue is driven from the highest levels of Management, conformance levels soar.
Consequently, non-compliance is largely a failing of leadership. That is why “set it and automate it” electronic solutions are so valuable. They keep on doing the job even when leaders shift their attention to other issues. The tracking, notification and reporting become routine. Management attention is only required when there is a breach.
Smart organizations do not limit “compliance” to regulatory issues. They use the SPIKE solution to track and manage Work Plans. Annual Work Plans are loaded into the system and can be broken down into monitored, weekly deliverables. Employees and their Managers know exactly what needs to be done and when it must be done. Missed deadlines are easily tracked. That tracking then becomes an ongoing performance appraisal process, and without the subjectivity challenges of traditional appraisals.