What does your attitude towards compliance say?

Employees, Your Company’s Culture and Brand
We know that routine workplace inspections can be tedious, time consuming and some may even say boring.  The reasons for completing workplace inspections are clear –mandatory either from a regulatory or liability perspective, preventative maintenance and best practice; but it's time to adopt a new mindset about compliance.
Believe it or not, your attitude about compliance sends key messages and insights about your company to employees and externally.
For example the way you talk about routine inspections, the prioritization of inspections, reward and discipline for inspection performance and how quickly action is taken on deficiencies found during inspections sends messages to your employees and others about whether you really care about compliance or not. And this is not just noticeable to employees but also to clients and the broader industry.
Employees want to do work that is valued. If the work is not prioritized or they know they will not be recognized for their performance, employees will not associate importance with this work – meaning they may leave inspections to last minute, rush their inspections or not document deficiencies.
Secondly, if employees feel that action is not being taken on the deficiencies they find, they may become disengaged. Disengagement often leads to a loss in productivity and employees may begin to look for other employment opportunities, leaving your company with high turnover, loss of your best employees and loss of knowledge. 
Clients do not want to work and spend their money on space that’s riddled with deficiencies that can lead to serious incidents, particularly those that could have been prevented. Such incidents lead to poor client satisfaction and they may seek other spaces once their lease is up which has obvious financial implications.  
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon has been quoted as saying “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Your company’s reputation can be tarnished by health & safety incidents, lawsuits, poor media coverage, poor client satisfaction and negative reviews by current and former employees. All of these brand detractors have financial implications. Maintaining a positive and proactive approach to compliance will help reduce any risk to brand reputation.
Here are a few ways you can project a positive attitude towards compliance:

1.) Attitude
        • As a company and manager, you get to set the tone and create the culture. This is often done in subtle, unspoken ways
        • View compliance as a proactive way to identify and fix any gaps because it’s the right thing to do
        • Make compliance, routine inspections and safety a priority. Employees should know that inspections are important to you and that they will be rewarded/recognized and disciplined in relation to their performance
        • Talk about compliance frequently – not just when something goes wrong
        • Celebrate and recognize your wins and successes

2.) Training
        • Ensure employees are properly trained on how to perform inspections, the locations of equipment and how to document any deficiencies
        • If you notice an employee is having difficulty, pair them up with a partner or provide refresher training
        • Frequently circulate and communicate tips n tricks, best practices etc.

3.) Reward & Discipline
  • Talk about inspection performance frequently including:
    • areas that are well-inspected
    • areas that are frequently missed
    • areas with deficiencies, the resolution and the time it took
    • trends
    • inspectors that are doing a great job
  • Celebrate wins and successes
  • Reward and recognize employees that:
    • complete their inspections early or on time
    • complete 100% of their inspections without missing any locations
    • accurately report and identify deficiencies
    • have improved their inspection performance
  • Discipline employees that:
    • do not complete their inspections on time
    • miss inspections
    • improperly perform inspections
    • do not document deficiencies  

4.) Action
  • When deficiencies are found, take action right away to demonstrate that you care and value the work; this will help avoid feelings of disengagement
  • If action cannot be taken right away (i.e. budget restrictions, capital planning cycle etc.), advise your employees so they understand when action will be taken and that their work is still valued

As a company and manager, you have the amazing opportunity to set the tone and culture, often in subtle ways. It’s important that your attitude and actions towards compliance convey its significance. Your attitude should be positive and proactive if you want to get the most out of your inspections. Moreover, your attitude towards compliance can be leveraged as a competitive advantage – with your employees, your clients and brand.

It’s time we shift our mindset about compliance.