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New Compliance Software? Here Are 5 More Ways To Help Ensure Complete Adoption

A new year, and a new decade, calls for new thinking. Here are five more fresh approaches to get employees enthusiastic about your new compliance platform

Last week in this space, we offered five ways to help ensure adoption of a new financial compliance platform, built around the idea that if you put the customers—in this case your end users—at the forefront of every compliance experience, you’re more likely to turn them into willing users of your compliance software as well as naturally enthusiastic participants in your overall compliance program. Here are five more ways to get there.

Just because compliance got the sign-off on new software doesn’t mean leadership is 100% behind it. As such, you may need to press your case for whole-hearted platform adoption in both directions of the company hierarchy. Training sessions should be scheduled with firm leadership as well as with the firm’s frontline troops. And leadership won’t necessarily be any more ready to drop whatever it’s doing to engage with the new software. Everyone is busy. So the same rules apply for leadership—treat them as customers you need to engage with. Consider having your c-suite attend general training and learn the new software shoulder-to-shoulder alongside everyone else. What better way to demonstrate leadership buy-in?

Marketing is all about messaging. Getting the word out. Building excitement around the launch of a new product. Marketing can help you get buy-in for your new compliance platform at every level of the organization. A classic tactic is to start early. To get the word out on a new product in advance. Think of a movie trailer. A film studio builds excitement far in advance of the actual release of the film, especially if it’s a major release. Depending on the sophistication of your particular marketing department, there’s nothing that says a trailer couldn’t be put together for your new compliance app. It will get people used to the idea in a highly relatable way.

If a promotional video seems a stretch, there are other, less ambitious options to consider. Flyers posted on bulletin boards can still do the trick. Messages broadcast on an in-house television system can help get the word out. This is part of what we talked about last week: spreading the word far and wide by any means possible. The most important thing is to understand that the concept has value. Your marketing department will come up with the proper strategies, tactics, and materials if given the opportunity. It’s what they do every day.


It’s traditional to think of training as having a defined beginning and end. You attend a training session and that’s it. Maybe when the next official version of the software is released there might be more, but otherwise you train once and learn the rest on the job. Try instead to think of training as ongoing. Many professions operate in this manner. Pilots, for example, once licensed are always licensed, but they need to fly a certain number of hours in a certain period of time to stay “current.” In the world of Project Management Professionals, or PMPs, they too have to put in a certain amount of regular training or study to keep their certificate valid.

Maybe you can’t formalize compliance platform training in quite so rigid a manner, but there’s nothing that says you can’t come back to it on a regular basis. Continual compliance software training will help keep learning manageable for those firm employees who aren’t in the actual compliance part of the business. And keeping compliance training manageable ultimately shows respect for your compliance platform end users, i.e., your customers. Compliance begins—and ultimately ends—with individual employees. Keep your approach to them positive and they’ll likely respond in kind.


“By changing how we approach compliance, as well as the terminology we use in our communications, we’ll get better turnaround times when it comes to the simple things, as well as better results overall.” So offered one compliance officer in a wide-ranging panel discussion held during a StarCompliance US Conference. One of those changes in approach to compliance that’s currently in vogue is gamification.

Gamification is taking typical elements of game playing—like point scoring and competition with others—and applying them to another area of activity to increase engagement. In other words, you’re trying to make something fun that’s not normally considered fun. Through the creative use of your compliance platform’s dashboards and reporting capabilities, direct managers can encourage completion of tasks within a certain time-frame. A prize might be a pizza party. Whatever it is, or however you set up the game, it’s an approach that puts end users first.

“We want to retain our people,” offers another veteran compliance officer from a large asset manager. “They know they can go to Google or Facebook without facing all these [compliance] restrictions. So we have to work hard to explain why they need to comply. Why the firm needs to comply.” The fact is, you have to take more time with certain groups and certain individuals who’ve never had to think about compliance before.

Tailor your message, in other words. Know your audience. And know your audience’s audience. Again, our veteran compliance officer: “With people who aren’t in active trading roles, their spouses won’t necessarily understand why they have to be involved. So I’ll occasionally get on the phone and explain why our policies are the way they are. I feel like if I take the time to explain the approach, to explain the regulation, I can get through to them. And compliance isn’t just about protecting the firm. It’s also about protecting the employee. We tell them: we’re trying to protect you as an individual from even the perception of having done something wrong. If you cross your t’s and dot all your i’s, but someone sitting next to you gets into trouble with the SEC or FBI, we can say—and you can say—you did everything you were supposed to.”