1. Use the Code of Conduct as a basic framework
Most companies now have a central Code of Conduct. Ideally, this should already convey your company’s essential values and compliance standards. Use the Code of Conduct as a basis for designing the content of your compliance website.
However, it is not sufficient to make the 80-page document available as a PDF file. Instead, use the Code of Conduct as a basis for content and convert the most important parts into a graphic format suitable for the web. Ideally your internal guidelines will already include some imagery that can be easily transferred to a website.
Some companies even go so far as to make the Code of Conduct its own standalone microsite and this can be a great way to make corporate regulations more accessible to different audiences. A virtual Code of Conduct also contributes positively to a company’s public image.
2. Leave a lasting impression with a strong slogan
“Fair Play”, “Driving in the right direction”, “Our company’s business is clean business” – if your compliance programme already has a slogan, it should definitely feature on the compliance website. If not, it may make sense to start developing one. A slogan catches a wider audience’s attention and highlights the importance of compliance to your company.
3. Convey tone from the top
Compliance officers are in agreement: your compliance efforts are useless if management is not behind them. Top management is also a powerful ally when it comes to communication. It makes sense therefore to demonstrate that top management actively supports and lives the company’s compliance values.
For example, a quote from the CEO or managing director, ideally accompanied by a head-and-shoulders image, is sufficient here. Even more powerful, but also more time-consuming to prepare, is a short video message. The top corporate executive expresses in their own words what the company‘s compliance programme stands for and means to them.
4. Explain the core features of the compliance programme
Depending on the size of the company, compliance systems can be very complex. No one is expecting an organisational chart that depicts all internal responsibilities and local compliance officers. Rather the aim here is to make the core features of the compliance programme understandable for the layperson.
For example, an infographic that illustrates all the important elements of the programme is a good starting point. Some companies build on known standards and adapt them to their own company – for example “Prevent – Detect – Respond” or the core features of the compliance programme according to ISO 19600 or IDW PS 980.
An overview like this shows non-specialists how you live compliance in your own company. That the company analyses risks, draws up and distributes policies, conducts training and enables the reporting of breaches gives a wider audience a good insight into your compliance efforts.
5. Let employees have their say
Tone from the top is important, of course, but equally important is letting employees explain the importance of compliance in their day-to-day work. How do they perceive the company values and what touchpoints have they had with issues such as corruption or conflicts of interest?
Letting employees have their say shows that the company’s compliance efforts are not just paying lip service to the regulations, but that corporate values are deeply rooted in the organisation. A campaign like this requires some time and effort to organise. Employees and subject matter have to be identified and photographed or filmed. However, it is worth investing this time and effort because many people would rather learn details about the compliance programme from real people on the ground than from the board or abstract graphics and text.
6. Offer a whistleblowing system and contact options
Most companies that have their own compliance functions also have a whistleblowing system. Whistleblowing systems are now becoming mandatory in the European Union through the ongoing transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive. If your whistleblowing system is publicly available, it should certainly feature on your compliance website.
Not only should the different whistleblowing options be explained, but also what should be reported and why. If you use a digital whistleblowing system, link directly to the system; often the most important information for potential whistleblowers is explained in the FAQ section.
If your whistleblowing system is not open to the public, it may be worth considering doing so. Companies often miss out on valuable information from suppliers, business partners or customers if the whistleblowing system is only accessible internally. The proportion of abusive reports that come in via whistleblowing systems is generally very low, regardless of whether the system is public or not.
7. Add contact information for compliance officers
Do not forget to add contact information for the compliance team on the page. This will ensure that your employees always know who to contact in case anything compliance-related crops up.