Regulatory Compliance – Small Business’s Biggest Buzz Kill (or is it?)

When we ask clients what wins the prize for providing the most headaches, it’s almost unanimously regulatory compliance. Most comments seem to be something like: “compliance administration takes the fun out of being an entrepreneur”. No matter what your business focus, governmental agencies such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, OSHA, ADA, FINRA, SEC, etc. will have an impact how you do business.

Don’t get us wrong, we are the first to recognize that regulatory administration plays a vital role in protecting consumers, the workforce and our economy. Unfortunately the task of keeping compliant is onerous – or so we thought.

Dan Heath and Chip Heath had a great piece in Fast Company a few years ago discussing how and why to make corporate training “rock”. The story introduces us to Russ Berland, a man charged with taking a company’s (BearingPoint) compliance training to a whole new level. How he did it was amazing in itself. In one weekend he directed the filming of 10 episodes of compliance 101 for his company Bearing Point.

Getting compliance training down earns kudos – but changing corporate culture hits the ball out of the park. Can you imagine taking topics that most employees ignore or misunderstand, effectively training the same group and finally promoting a closer healthier culture?

That is exactly what Berland did. By taking key topics and setting it to a series (admittedly based on the film “The Office”) BearingPoint’s compliance training became a must see. The videos tailored specifically for the company went viral and for good reason. Every office worker could identify situations and individuals in their own environment. Phrases and situations in the broadcast soon became jargon, employees eagerly awaited next Monday’s new episode. According to Dan and Chip:

“Every business has these “untouchable” issues. They make us uncomfortable, and we usually deal with our discomfort by retreating behind legalistic language. But if we really take these incidents seriously — if we’re committed to putting an end to sexual harassment or improper billing or dishonest communication — then we need to show a little bravery. Our three-ring binders won’t change a thing. But a little humor and humanity might.”

We say “bravo”. Ignorance of regulatory compliance is not an excuse – embracing regulation sets you free!

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