The contributions of a Compliance Officer and their team often go unnoticed, despite the fact that their roles have expanded exponentially over the last decade. As new regulations arrive with greater frequency and major ethical and cultural issues challenge organizations worldwide, Compliance Officers work hard to keep us on the right side of the law. Here at SAI360, we’re proud to have recognized the important role they play by creating Compliance Officer Day in 2016.
To mark the occasion this year, we’ve put together a list of the Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate Compliance Officers:
1. September 26 is Compliance Officer Day
It’s not every day that a job title is honored with its very own day, but this one’s official—it’s even on the National Day Calendar. We launched National Compliance Officer Day because we think it’s important to recognize the critical role Compliance Officers play in promoting transparency, ensuring security, and shaping the culture of organizations.
Don’t wait until your Compliance Officer gets you out of a jam—give your CCO and their team a shout-out! Use the hashtag #ComplianceOfficerDay to share stories about the contributions and achievements of the compliance professionals you work with.
2. Compliance Officers Ensure Good Governance
Compliance Officers have a big job. They not only ensure compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies, and procedures, they’re responsible for setting a company’s overall standards of good governance, which is a very big (and stressful) job.
ISO 37301:2021 makes this key part of the role official: “An effective, organization-wide compliance management system enables an organization to demonstrate its commitment to comply with relevant laws, regulatory requirements, industry codes and organizational standards, as well as standards of good governance, generally accepted best practices, ethics and community expectations. An organization’s approach to compliance is shaped by the leadership applying core values and generally accepted good governance, ethical, and community standards.”
3. They Ensure we Behave Ethically
Compliance Officers consistently promote ethical behavior and encourage people to do the right thing. By integrating compliance into operations, policies, and procedures across an organization, they help embed ethical behavior into the corporate culture.
This isn’t always an easy task, especially as pressure to bend the rules is on the rise around the world, according to the 2021 Global Business Ethics Survey conducted by the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI). Compared with 2017, U.S. employees experienced 2x more pressure to compromise than in 2020. Globally, in 2020, 29% of employees reported pressure to compromise, up from 20% in 2019. In addition, the survey found that approximately 8 in 10 employees have reported acts of misconduct.
4. They’re Respected as “Guardians of the Good”
Not quite reaching superhero status (yet), Compliance Officers are expected to bring what are sometimes referred to as “heroic” qualities to their job. Besides the head-spinning volume of work involved in keeping tabs on compliance details—including data protection, privacy, cybersecurity, fraud, and so much more—overall, they have to be dedicated to ethics, plain and simple.
This commitment to doing what’s right often earns high respect from their colleagues. When we launched the first Compliance Officer Day, a member of our team shared a post about his first compliance officer: “I’ll never forget my first compliance officer, because whether he realizes it or not, he changed my life…I completed every piece of compliance and ethics training assigned to me, passed every mandatory regulatory exam that was conditional to my job, and generally did all the right things, but the behavior of other people had an unintentional, direct impact on me.” Any chance you’ve experienced something similar?
5. They Have “Mad Skills”
To keep up with regulatory obligations and keeping us behaving ethically, Compliance Officers require a special set of skills to routinely handle challenges that would likely keep most of us up all night. Beyond the obvious “keen eye for detail,” some people overlook the fact that Compliance Officers need excellent communication skills to effectively promote the benefits of ethical behavior.
Here’s a partial list of some of the common skills required in a Compliance Officer, according to human resources firm, Robert Half:
- Innovative problem solver
- Interpret facts quickly
- Solid time management skills
- Ability to multitask
- Diplomacy as a necessary soft skill
- Deep understanding of a company’s culture
If you’re thinking about who you know who’d match the job requirements, here’s a fun read on whether Willy Wonka would be a good Compliance Officer.
Why National Compliance Officer Day?
Hopefully by now we’ve convinced you that celebrating Compliance Officers is a good idea. It’s a well-deserved moment to say “thanks” for all of the work Compliance Officers and their teams do. Jennifer Farthing, EdD, SVP of Learning at SAI360, sums up our perspective like this: “Without the contributions of Compliance Officers, we would not have a bird’s eye view into both ongoing challenges and promising practices that inform what we do at SAI360. As collaborators in our shared work, our Learning products reflect their real-world experiences. And as our relationships deepen and develop over time, we appreciate the engagement of Compliance Officers along the journey.”
Join the conversation about Compliance Officer Day on Twitter and LinkedIn using the #ComplianceOfficerDay hashtag. And don’t forget to take a look at how others are acknowledging the day to find ways to enhance your relationship with the Compliance team and show them they’re valued—not just on September 26, but throughout the year.