Compliance is a HOT issue no matter what industry you’re in or who your customers are.
As a respectable business, you must always ensure that your communications remain inside the rules and regulations set by the government or industry officials.
This means that you must carefully craft and monitor all communications including:
- Employee Handbooks
- Social Media
- Operational Documents
- Instructional Guides
You’re asking yourself now, “How can we do that efficiently with all the different modes of communication?
How can you make sure that your business communications are compliant at all times?
In order to keep ALL of your business communications on the straight and narrow, you must engage in regulatory compliance as a company.
First of all, what exactly is “regulatory compliance?”
Regulatory compliance is the act of adhering to rules and policies that your company is bound by, whether by governmental or institutional means.
These rules are enforced in order to maintain consistency and transparency across the industry as well as to ensure that no one’s personal liberties and privacies are infringed upon. A good example of this could be adhering to the CAN SPAM Act enforced by the Federal Trade Commission(FTC), which forces companies to receive approval from users before initiating e-mail communications.
Some industries or business types may be subject to more rules and regulations than others, but keeping your business compliant is simpler than you think.
Here are 4 tips to ensure that your business communications are compliant:
1. Research Section 508
If you run a business and communicate with the outside world especially state or federal government agencies, you NEED to know about Section 508.
Section 508 ensures that businesses are actively making their content available for anyone especially the disabled population. The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) runs a complete audit of all websites within their peripheral to ensure Section 508 compliance of all websites.
Well, I am sure that you don’t want to get caught outside that law? Do you?
So it comes time to acquaint yourself with the ins and outs of Section 508 standards.
Here are a couple of handy links to help you acquaint yourself with this regulation:
- The Section 508 Website
- What Is Section 508?
- Why Comply with Section 508?
- Myths & Facts About Section 508
P.S. Prolific Communications is qualified to help you bring your content up to Section 508 code for the following types of documentation:
- Internet and Intranet websites.
- PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and files.
2. Audit Your Existing Documents or Content
Whether you’re a relatively new or well-established business, you probably have a horde of business documents and process templates that have been around since day one. We hate to say it, but those documents are likely out-of-date and non-compliant.
You will definitely want to take a hard look at those documents to ensure that everything falls into line and maintains appropriate compliance measures based on the industry you serve.
When you are auditing your documents, look for these 3 things:
- Documents that are front and center within your internal or external communications.
- Documents with a legal nature.
- Documents that reference legal contracts or systems.
Here are a few types of documents to review:
- Operational documents.
- Validation & Verification Documents
- Website Content
- Company Intranet Sites
- Presentations, Pamphlets, or Flyers
3. Implement A Communications Strategy
One of the biggest and most confirming elements of ensuring that your business communication is compliant is to implement a robust communications strategy company-wide.
A communications strategy is essentially a “do” and “do not” guidelines for each aspect of your communications as a business, both internally and externally. Read our recent blog about why a business communications strategy is a MUST DO for your new or established business.
Among other things, a comms strategy helps your business:
- Streamline documentation.
- Avoid legal pitfalls.
- Remain consistent with the rest of the industry.
- Reduce overall risk.
- Improve operational efficacy and productivity.
In fact, a communications strategy affects every single aspect of how your business communicates, including every other step in this article.
P.S. We do that too!
4. Institute A Communication Culture in the Workplace
Along the same lines as a business communication strategy, instituting and encouraging a healthy communication culture within your organization goes a long way in ensuring that all produced content is compliant.
Business communication culture is a set of unique ideals and values that are held by the entirety of the organization, and work toward making sure that everyone involved is aware of the needs and doesn’t perceive barriers to being communicative and always feels like their voice counts.
While a communications strategy accomplishes much of this for you, engaging in healthy communication practices and encouraging your employees to speak up and be heard also makes a difference.
Do you have another quick tip about keeping your communications on the up and up? Let us know in the comments!