Publication Date: 2011, Summer
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Be a ‘Compliance Champion’
A journalistic approach to compliance matters earns respect and attention from employees.
Be a collaborator in promoting the value of compliance to the organization; celebrate training and results.
Drive Message Discipline
Sync up with PR colleagues on message strategy and timing. Have prewritten materials and train the appropriate parties.
Strive for Distribution Diversity
Smart companies recognize that employee populations vary. The right message with the wrong delivery channel won’t resonate. Diversify these methods for different audiences.
Show the Metrics
Sophisticated companies now link compensation to compliance training and participation. Use such metrics to validate your role in driving employee participation and understanding.
Don’t underestimate the power of philanthropy. Allowing employees to direct charitable contributions provides “an emotional outlet that helps counter negativity and stress,” says Wanda Lee of the Lee Group. “That tells them that despite its faults, the company is committed to its values and the community.”
Whistle-blowers amplify everything, and public legal documents can be inflammatory. Communicate your organization’s plans to investigate the issues. Use your response to cite the ethical business practices and training that your company already has in place.
Conduct and Communicate Internal Audits
Internal audits and fact-finding are required responses. Communicate their timing and highlights as much as possible.
Continue Making Preparations
Just because an investigation has been settled doesn’t mean that everything has gone away. Prepare to manage the undertow that can affect your organization’s reputation, sales and internal morale.
How did customers, prospects and others receive your tough news? Provide real-time answers and recommendations to management.
Ben A. Singer is a PRSA member and principal of SingerStrategic, an Orange County, Calif.–based public affairs consultancy specializing in health care and nonprofit communications support.
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