COVID-19: How to Mitigate Compliance Risk Amid a Crisis

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Around the world, governments and regulators have recognized the need to unburden businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, relaxing certain rules and expectations in recognition of the unprecedented challenges businesses and their workforces now face.

This should not be taken as free reign to ignore the law or engage in unethical conduct. Otherwise, you risk adding to the current crisis by creating one of your own making. Once business returns to normal, we expect organizations will be held liable for their regulatory and compliance failures.

The need to practice compliance and ethical behavior today is more important than ever; regulators will seek to hold accountable businesses that take unfair advantage of this dire situation, and the reputational harm associated with an investigation into such behavior would be catastrophic for your business as we emerge from this crisis.

Luckily, there is much your business leaders, compliance teams, and HR departments can do to help mitigate any further fallout from the pandemic.

Going Back to Basics

The uncertain impact of COVID-19, coupled with the constant news coverage and potential health threat, is undoubtedly creating anxiety within your workforce. Add to this the fact that members of your workforce are now juggling a full-time job from home (potentially from a makeshift office), waiting in line for groceries, home-schooling their children, ensuring their elderly parents are healthy and complying with quarantine mandates, and frequently cleaning their homes to prevent transmission of the virus, thereby making the level of stress and anxiety higher than ever. Successful companies will take all possible steps to relieve their employees’ stress and anxiety during this time.

It may seem obvious, but communication is your best friend. While it is easy to rely on bulk e-mail reminders and communications, it is critical for HR and management to touch base with employees directly whenever possible.

Consider scheduling Q&A discussions via Teams, WebEx, Skype, or Zoom with company leadership to present key messages and answer frequently asked questions. Ensure line managers are having direct contact with their direct reports on an individual basis by phone (and, if possible, videoconference) at least weekly; encourage them to check in on employees’ personal well-being, not just whether they are getting their jobs done from home. Read more here…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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