Compliance, Colleagues, Communication
Gaining buy-in to a trade compliance program may seem like a daunting task, but do not worry, it is possible to achieve.
You are already aware of all the reasons that it's best to have everyone on the same page when it comes to trade compliance. But engaging and training internal business partners can be a challenge.
Since everyone in your company may not value trade compliance as much as you do, it helps to use your knowledge and commitment to your advantage. How can you share your understanding in an effective and beneficial way for others?
Try using the tactics below
A recent Harvard Business Review article outlines eight steps to communicate your strategy effectively and it's called the Internal Communications Framework. Although these steps can be used by any department or team, it's a sound approach to use to gain understanding and support of compliance throughout your organization.
Use this structure to inspire, educate, and reinforce your compliance communication efforts. If nothing else, these steps will begin a dialogue around trade compliance issues within your organization.Let's see how you can use the Internal Communications Framework with the following example:
- Your company submits 85% of its entries accurately to U.S. Customs, but your goal is to reach 99% accuracy.
- The intention is to gain an additional 14% in accuracy by the end of 2018. This is an achievable goal, but requires the compliance team—and maybe that's only you—to communicate the objectives to other disciplines.
Internal Communications Framework
Inspire - So you would like to reduce inaccurate or incomplete entry submission and save your company money and improve outcomes along the way. Consider these tactics:
- Storytelling is an excellent method to inspire teams to achieve their goals.
- Start an online forum for all interested and affected parties.
- Brainstorm methods to achieve the desired outcomes.
Fast Company says that delivering these messages via email is no longer the most effective way to communicate your company's complex goals. Look for methods used in today's business environment that are more engaging mediums that not only grab - but keep your audience's attention.
Videois a great interactive tool, animated or live.
- Infographics provide an excellent snapshot for details and numbers.
- Podcasts may be a worthwhile and innovative way to interview members of your compliance team.
- Traditional internal webinars or training sessions offer a proven learning method.
Educate - Provide information to these groups identifying how achieving 99% entry accuracy is essential to the overall company objectives, as well as their daily responsibilities.
There are four actions that will help your audience grasp and take action on your message:
- Illustrate how to achieve this goal - the steps needed to ensure data accuracy.
- Provide your audience with the resources and contact information of people in trade compliance who can support and guide them.
- Ask for their feedback. Where do they see improvement? Where are they running into obstacles? Do they need to schedule a meeting for review?
- Explain the importance of trade compliance and the risks of non-compliance.
Communication is a two-way street. You may have a solid plan, yet you won't get buy-in without your co-workers' input and experience.
Reinforce - You will need to reiterate the goal(s) again and again but avoid sounding like a broken record. Stay fresh, find new and creative ways to ensure your message does not become stale. It would help if you repeated the benefits to their business unit - for instance improved inventory management, cost-savings, better procurement relationships.
- Start with a message from senior leadership - perhaps the CEO.
- Begin telling the story through the participation of various internal business partners who already support your efforts.
Ambassadors of Change
Can you find people from affected internal teams that support your cause? Work with them to become ambassadors of change!
Celebrating successes will also help to reinforce your message. People get excited when they experience a victory. They will spread the word as results naturally grab the attention of other people. As with everything, there will be ups and downs, but transparent communication opens the floor for other areas to aid in overcoming obstacles.
Getting involved in communications, providing access to non-traditional forms of training, and engaging others using creative tools will help the compliance team garner support from across the company to achieve the desired goal, in this case, 99% entry submission accuracy.
So, put on your communications hat, use social media, or another forum for employees to share their victories in reaching every goal. Use story-telling to inspire, educate, and reinforce your message. Watch accuracy ratings increase, and enjoy the support you receive across the company.