Compliance with various policies is a critical part of running a Small Business. And the key here is knowing what you need to track and how to do it. As a small business, keeping up-to-date with these policies can be overwhelming. However, compliance with such is essential to avoid penalties and disruption in your operations.
With that, this guide will walk you through compliance management.
What Is Compliance Management?
Compliance management is the process of ensuring that an organization is meeting the standards and expectations set by its industry or governing bodies. This means that in addition to complying with industry regulations, you’re also ensuring that your company follows internal policies and procedures, such as utilizing a legal document template for your operations.
Here’s how you can ensure compliance management as a small business:
1. Write And Update Policies
As a small business owner, you must ensure that your employees understand and follow the operational policies. For one, they need to understand a policy and how it affects their jobs. A written policy should indicate what is expected of them, including any consequences for non-compliance. Emphasis on clarity is essential since if an employee isn’t able to follow your established procedures and guidelines because they’re too complicated, they’ll likely take shortcuts that could lead down a path toward disaster.
You can tie up your internal policies with the standards implemented by regulatory bodies. For instance, if you’re a manufacturing company, ensure that the safety protocols in place in your organization are aligned with those of agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
In addition to having clear policies, it’s also crucial to update them from time to time to stay current with new standards and regulations.
2. Train Your Employees
Training is an integral part of compliance management. Your employees will be better positioned to handle the day-to-day tasks involved with complying with regulations if they’ve undergone training. The following points could help you train your employees:
Ongoing training is essential. This means that don’t just train them once; instead, keep going over crucial concepts as often as needed. You can conduct training annually to refresh your team with various policies that need to be observed.
Customize the training program to industry needs. For instance, suppose you’re in the construction sector. You can conduct seminars about building code requirements and safety compliance. This is especially critical if there are revisions in the current policies.
3. Conduct Compliance Audits
Compliance management is an ongoing process. It’s not a simple task that can be done only once. By routinely reviewing your business operations, you can find opportunities to improve how you run your business while still ensuring adherence to the industry’s standards. Doing so can also help identify problems that need fixing or rules that need updating before negatively affecting your operations.
On the other hand, monitoring data can help identify trends and patterns in the numbers that aren’t always apparent when looking at isolated instances of information. This can also provide insight into what’s happening with your business over time and give you a heads-up about potential issues down the line if something doesn’t change as expected or planned.
4. Observe Proper Record keeping
One of the crucial things you need to prioritize and ensure as part of your compliance management program is proper data management. This covers not just your business’s critical data but your consumer information too.
Protecting Customer Information: Whenever an employee acquires or processes a client’s data, like their name or address, they must follow strict rules about how long they can store it. Moreover, your team must also be trained in ensuring clients’ private information will not fall into the wrong hands.
Protecting Employee Information: Similar rules apply when dealing with employee data; however, most companies have policies on how long they retain records, such as employment contracts from former employees (usually around 3-5 years). This means there are two ways in which this kind of data needs protecting – one way through legislation (like GDPR) and secondly through internal policy within each business itself.
In addition, keeping organized records can be a great way to stay on top of things and make it easier to find information later. For example, for taxation purposes, if you’re keeping track of purchases made by your company, it would be best if you kept these records in a spreadsheet or another database software so that they can quickly be sorted and searched later on.
Another note to keep in mind is to store essential printed documents in a fireproof and waterproof location, such as a safe, but make sure they’re also easy to access. Don’t skip reinforcing security measures on your digital storage too. This can go a long way in ensuring the safety and protection of digital assets and files against cyber threats.
The key takeaway is that compliance management is a continuous process. You don’t want to be the small business owner who gets hit with a fine because they didn’t know they had to comply with a specific law or regulation. It can be overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time, compliance is achievable and could even help ensure your business’s success.