Make Technology Compliance Sexy: Embrace The Culture

Technology compliance is a necessity. But it isn’t sexy — yet. Certainly, innovating ways to approach compliance has contributed to a greatly transformed world of work. It’s underscored the need for the power and scope (Cloud) and for agile processes and insights (talent analytics). It’s leavened a sense of mission with an edict for ethical conduct (I’m speaking generally here), and that’s certainly a trend given the trending values of a changing workforce population.  

And the topic elicits sighs among most of those not charged with its administration. It’s not sexy because it’s complicated, and it’s required. It’s like the buttoned-up older brother who insists we eat our vegetables at the picnic. HR wants to focus on talent acquisition across all the shiny platforms; to forge new paths for talent management; to help create amazing employer brands that practically vacuum eager talent our way; to futurecast. But we can’t ignore compliance. And given the profound global shift in our workforces, whether Fortune 500 or SME, it’s an even larger challenge given the need to address not just state and national, but international regulations.

But we need to love it. We need to make it sexy. How?

Make a clear part of the employer brand. As the future brightens, though not necessarily as bright as before — I’m thinking of the jobs report out Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that the U.S. added a modest 173,000 payroll jobs in August, and that unemployment was at 5.1 percent (down from 5.3 percent in July). Given the pervasive concern with successful recruitment, make compliance clear not only at the level of hire, but as part of candidate experience.

Dovetail it into the company culture. This is different than the employer brand: this is about what happens in the workplace — and certainly has an effect on engagement and retention. There are countless compelling arguments for this. Again, the majority of the workforce (yes, millennials) has made it clear that values , transparency and accountability are key. Compliance is part of that: a functional reflection of positive integrity and deeper ethics.

Make it functional. In its Predictions for 2015: Redesigning the Organization for a Rapidly Changing World, Deloitte reports that HR technology is now an industry in excess of $15 million, and that organizations are “scrambling” to replace their existing HR technology. Despite the incredible growth — the LMS market and talent management software markets each grew by about 24 percent, the capabilities are not improving as fast. Less that 14 percent of those surveyed stated they had made significant programs in terms of talent analytics and workforce planning. As we evolve to the next phase of HR tech, it needs to embrace all requirements, including compliance. To leave compliance out of a revamp is to have to revamp the revamp. 

Make it work for us. Leverage compliance as a structure for increasing diversity by adopting compliance software that addresses diversity and other workplace issues. Dismal statistics noone was surprised by showed that Silicon Valley has a long road ahead, and there’s a stunning lack of minorities and women in STEM pipelines. Google, for instance, reported that its tech workforce is 60 percent white and 1 percent black. Yet it’s been made abundantly clear that without reaching into these population we’ll never be able to fill the rise in STEM jobs coming up — which prevents our ability to compete in science and tech moving forward.

The legacy of HR meets Technology is that we’re endlessly bringing talent and organizations together and aiming for the best; tech and trends aside, sometimes, the marriages work; sometimes they don’t. By including compliance in the equation from the onset, we may not only increase the chance of employee engagement, we may also decrease the risk of external complications. And everyone’s happy, right? Well, maybe.

Photo Credit: Big Stock Images

A version of this post was first posted on Forbes on 9/5/2015