“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” ~ Rita Mae Brown
Last week’s entry addressed the importance of knowing your company, and how the company policy manual is the bedrock of an organization. This week I want to address the mirror image of the policy manual, which is compliance with those policies.
Many companies require all or designated new employees to complete certain mandatory training within a specified time frame following their hire. This is necessary to comply with corporate policies, many of which are based on federal, state and local laws and regulations. Following are examples of mandatory training that might be required:
If you work for a financial services company, for example, you might be required to complete anti-money laundering training upon your hire. Because financial institutions are targets of money launderers – and that includes terrorist organizations — federal regulations require the establishment of strong anti-money laundering programs that include staff training. The U.S. Department of the Treasury conducts audits of financial institutions to ensure that they have appropriate anti-money laundering policies and procedures in place and can provide evidence that designated employees have attended training. If a company fails to correct deficiencies discovered by such an audit it might face severe penalties that can impact its financial status and even its ability to conduct business. Prior to a scheduled audit, the company’s internal auditors typically prepare for it by examining each business unit’s training records to ensure that they are complete, accurate and up-to-date. You will want to ensure that your name is on the current and not the delinquent list.
The prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace is a federal law and all employers are strongly encouraged to provide employee training. While each state is allowed to set its own training requirement, any company anywhere can mandate such training. If your company requires it, there’s often a timeframe involved in which it must be completed following your hire date or promotion to supervisor.
You might have to sign up for classes to learn or refresh yourself on certain industry-specific software systems. As it could take time to register and find dates for such training, don’t delay in accomplishing this, and don’t miss your classes for any other reason than illness, disaster or unavoidable clashes with business events that cannot be changed.
As mentioned in a previous entry, don’t put off necessary administrative tasks that could impact your ability to work effectively. These include ordering your business cards, gaining approval and applying for certain signing authorities, such as authorization to approve up to a certain dollar amount for ordering supplies or other expenditures, setting up travel and expense reporting accounts, and any other online accounts that you need to conduct business.
In addition, there are ongoing administrative responsibilities that you need to remain on top of, as they can affect others. For example, one could be the completion of time sheets, so if you’re an hourly worker be sure to keep your time sheets current and accurate, and if you approve others’ time sheets ensure that you review them carefully and approve them on time. Another could be a routine monthly report you are required to submit. A third could be the annual code-of-conduct questionnaire that you are expected to complete and submit on time.
Black Marks vs. Gold Stars
In business, black marks against you are more easily racked up than earning gold stars. Thus, it’s important to take care of as early as possible requirements such as training and administrative details that have a high profile, because those are easy gold stars.
Aside from demonstrating stunning outperformance, few actions come to the attention of senior management faster than compliance – or noncompliance – with company policies. Those who drag their heels on compliance issues drive the top of the house mad! No matter how good you are at your job, failing to complete routine but essential tasks on time will eventually make you a liability. Better to keep on top of those requirements and bank those easy gold stars when you can.
The Powerhouses You Need To Impress
In addition to your immediate manager, important staff members who will notice your diligence in completing essential compliance and administrative tasks on time, and who can have an impact on your career, include:
Executive and Administrative Assistants – Those who support your department as well as senior management are often involved with tracking and reporting the status of compliance requirements, and they either will hold you in high esteem for making their jobs easier or in deep contempt for making their jobs harder. If EAs and AAs must keep after you to ensure that you fulfill your corporate responsibilities, their unhappiness with your lack of cooperation might eventually reach the ears of their managers. It’s far better that those executive ears hear how on top of things you are!
Human Resources Representatives – HR reps are involved in employee compliance issues. If your name turns up on a delinquent list even once it will raise a red flag. Many issues come into play when promotions are being decided, and your HR rep might be consulted. Need I say more?
Compliance Officers– These are company associates who’ve been assigned to your particular business unit to ensure that all compliance requirements are being met accurately and on time. You might work with your compliance officer on matters affecting business transactions and specific clients, but also regarding your personal compliance with corporate policy. It’s critical to your progression up the corporate ladder that your compliance officer trusts you on all matters.
Coworkers and Team Members– Consideration and respect for your team will bolster your credentials as a trusted member and potential leader. Being delayed or prevented from attending a meeting or client visit because you’ve been ordered to complete past-due mandatory training instead can weaken that trust.
Don’t Be Deterred
There will be many distractions when you join a new organization, but do not be deterred from completing mandated time-sensitive training and admin tasks. Not only will it be a relief to cross them off your list, but it will also demonstrate that you understand and take seriously compliance issues that affect the company’s good standing and reputation and increase your knowledge and skills. Another benefit is that it will allow you the opportunity to meet employees from around the company and start building your intra-company network, which is also an essential component to your career advancement.
Until next time,