What Will You do if Your Compliance Officer Quits Tomorrow?
As The Great Resignation continues into 2022, it is increasingly difficult to find and hire good compliance talent. There are about 11 million job openings in the U.S. with 4.2 million people (about twice the population of New Mexico) quitting their jobs in October 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Workers—including those in the compliance field—have their choice of jobs.
What would you do if your compliance officer quit tomorrow? Would it be easy for others at the financial institution to take over? Is the compliance program attractive to a candidate who has their pick of positions—or an internal candidate that has no compliance experience but is a great employee? Replacing a compliance officer is not as easy as just assigning it to a manager that missed a meeting. It needs to be a well-thought-out, targeted search and hire. That means it can take a while!
Banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies with automated compliance management systems (CMSs) built and backed by a team of financial institution experts have four huge advantages when dealing with personnel disruptions.
1. Working more efficiently
2. Working more flexibly
3. Continuity of knowledge
4. On-the-job training and support
Working more efficiently. Community bankers and credit union employees are known for wearing multiple hats and doing more with less, but there are limits, and some employees are starting to show the strain. BAI found 37 percent of financial service employees report the pandemic is having a negative impact on their mental health, and another 22 percent said it impacted their workload.
If you’re asking employees to do more because of unfilled positions and COVID-related employee absenteeism, or as your institution works to increase its efficiency ratio in response to squeezed net interest margins, it’s important to consider how the institution can make those expectations more realistic and less overwhelming.
Automation is one way to increase efficiency. McKinsey found that about 60 percent of all occupations could automate at least 30 percent of their activities, especially in areas like collecting and processing data. Not only would this speed work, but it would also reduce errors and improve quality—all while making employees’ workloads more manageable.
Working more flexibly. While some employees prefer to come into the office every day, others look to remote work to create work-life balance. Offering employees this flexibility can be a valuable recruiting tool, but it only works if there are systems in place—like centralized, cloud-based compliance management tools that allow employees to work collaboratively whether they are down the hall or across the state.
It can also be a retention tool. If an employee wants to move due to a spouse’s job change, to be closer to family, or just wants to live somewhere else, a cloud-based CMS can make it possible for that employee to continue working for the financial institution—retaining valuable institutional knowledge.
Continuity of knowledge. Your compliance officer maintains huge stores of institutional knowledge. The question is: Where do they store this knowledge? Sure, a lot of it is in their head, but what about all the policies, procedures, and documentation the institution relies on? What about the tasks they’re managing and implementing? What about where the FI is in the change management process (after all, some regulation is almost always in flux)?
A good compliance officer knows to document everything, but if they aren’t working in a very collaborative environment—or they rely on manual processes—they are probably keeping it all in spreadsheets or emails or documents on their hard drive. If your compliance officer left, would you be able to find these documents? Would you be able to access them? Would you even know they exist or what you are looking for?
Having a centralized, cloud-based compliance management system ensures continuity of knowledge if a compliance officer leaves the institution. Whether they give two weeks’ notice or up and quit, a CMS makes it possible to know what compliance activities are underway, what needs to be done, and what’s been resolved. It should provide alerts and action plans when new regulations are required or existing one's change. It will notify you of required dates, what is required, and ideas for implementation.
Just as important, it will make it easy to find all the documentation you need when exam time comes.
On the job training and support. The perfect candidate has compliance experience and an eye for detail. What if you can find a smart candidate with an eye for detail but no compliance experience? When you have an automated CMS, you have a tool that can help onboard a new compliance staffer as they undergo compliance training.
In addition to the continuity of knowledge a CMS provides, it also helps make compliance research easier, especially automated tools that have libraries of policies and procedures stored and saved by version control. It also simplifies change management, identifying regulatory change that applies to your institution and plans for implementation.
We hope that your compliance officer will remain at your institution for a long time—but hope isn’t a plan. Make sure you have a CMS succession plan that will ensure a smoother transition in the event your compliance officer moves on. You’ll also make their job easier by taking their manual process and automating it!
Plus, a CMS will never quit on you.
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