Hey HR, Compliance isn’t Everything
by Angie Rupp
If you’re like most HR professionals, you bleed compliance. It’s the piece of your job that’s all-consuming and keeps you up at night. You likely dedicate countless hours to syphoning out legal intricacies and attempt to understand complicated legal jargon despite your lack of law degree. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Yeah, okay…what’s the problem? Compliance is important and the last thing anyone wants is to get audited (or worse…sued).” Well, you’d be right for thinking this. The problem lies with allowing this mentality to become your primary focus at your company because (and I really hate to be the one to have to tell you this) your executive team doesn’t care about compliance. They care about the bottom line – money.
Today, we’ll be exploring the divide that exists between HR and everyone else regarding compliance and how HR can strike a much needed balance between legal limits and strategic contribution.
Okay, so how did this compliance disconnect happen?
I know you’re not quite ready to accept my assertion that perhaps HR has misjudged the importance of compliance just yet, so let’s talk about how this happened. It’s natural for any employee to feel as though their superior doesn’t fully understand the ins and outs of what he/she does let alone grasp the importance of his/her role. The impact of compliance is no different.
What matters most is how your C-suite views your position and the contributions you make.
Here’s the thing though, at the end of the day, what matters most is how your C-suite views your position and the contributions you make because they write the check. Now, I’m not here to debate with you about the rights and the wrongs surrounding this mindset, I’m just trying to help you accept a sometimes difficult truth – money will always be the core driver for business because if it wasn’t, everyone would be out of a job and the organization would cease to exist.
Compliance doesn’t make money.
The truth of the matter is compliance is a necessary evil – it’s one more legal box a business owner has to check in order to stay within the governed limits of running a successful company. If you as an HR professional dedicate the vast majority of your career to managing the complexities of compliance, then your CEO is going to view you as a necessary evil as well which severely limits your credibility and the strategic value you offer to your company. In other words, you’re hurting your chances of ever being taken seriously and having your needs met.
Compliance is comfortable.
Obviously you, me, and your executive team can agree that compliance is necessary, but I think there’s another reason why HR clutches so furiously to being compliance’s keeper and that’s because it’s comfortable. When it comes to meeting the compliance needs of your organization, the lines are very clearly drawn. Yes, you have to wade through piles and piles of legal-ease to get to the bottom of what standards you’re actually expected to uphold, but it’s a very easy thing to control. It’s also an easy thing to measure which to the stressed and overwhelmed HR professional offers a type of refuge.
Sticking with something comfortable is not going to do you any favors long term.
While it may appeal to you to stick with something that is within the realms of your comfort to boast success in your position, it’s not going to do you any favors long term. Again, if you limit your potential to something like compliance that is viewed as “one more thing,” you’re never going to step outside of your comfort zone to develop skills that wow your C-suite and make you irreplaceable.
Stop leaning on compliance.
The takeaway for today is this: stop leaning on compliance to help you feel like you’re exceeding the expectations laid out before you as the HR representative at your company. The truth is, it’s weighing you down, not holding you up. You’re using it as a crutch because it’s an easy focus to hide behind. But you’re better than that, and your executive team deserves to see this in action. So, step outside of your comfort zone and start pursuing tasks that include more of what the company wants from you: solutions to bolster the bottom line.
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