Taking a Moment to be Thankful
It’s that wonderful time of year to pause and express thanks for all the good things in our lives. Let’s do the same thing in our professional lives, including finding ways to be thankful for our compliance programs.
As compliance professionals, we sometimes focus on what is going wrong. It’s only natural, as part of our job is to identify non-compliance and correct it. But we can also find ways to emphasize the positive, which can boost our attitude and motivate others to continue to support compliance.
Be grateful for those who report concerns
Our compliance programs have hotlines and communication channels for individuals to report potential concerns and non-compliance. It is not always easy for someone to report a concern – they may be afraid of retaliation or have a general sense of guilt for reporting, as it might result in disciplinary action against an individual.
With this in mind, let's be grateful for our colleagues who notice potential areas of concern and have the courage to report it. Even if the reported issue is not substantiated, we should thank anyone who reports something through a hotline or directly to the compliance officer and explain that a compliance program cannot work without input and insight from individuals like themselves.
Thank a trusted colleague or mentor
We’ve shared in previous eBriefs that compliance can be a lonely profession. Sometimes, there’s a perception that compliance is an afterthought or a function that exists solely to add complexity to a process or project. This can result in many compliance professionals feeling alone in their efforts.
If you have a trusted colleague or mentor, within and/or outside your organization, make sure to express your gratitude for their support. Maybe they listened to you vent about a tough meeting or they provided essential insight on a compliance issue that you needed help resolving. Whatever it is, take a moment to say thank you to these individuals in your professional life.
Recognize the blessing of having a compliance committee
Not every compliance program has an executive compliance committee, but they likely should. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) “recommends that a compliance committee be established to advise the compliance officer and assist in the implementation of the compliance program.”
The OIG believes that “the compliance committee benefits from having the perspectives of individuals with varying responsibilities in the organization, such as operations, finance, audit, human resources, utilization review, social work, discharge planning, medicine, coding and legal, as well as employees and managers of key operating units.”
Any compliance officer who has had a well-functioning compliance committee will tell you how grateful they are to have that support. Without it, it can feel like the entire burden of the organization’s compliance program rests squarely on the shoulders of the compliance officer. With a functioning committee, that burden eases and key leaders within the organization share the challenge of ensuring the compliance program is effective. If you have such a team, take a moment to express appreciation to all those who serve on that committee.
Be thankful for technology
Gratitude for technology? Here’s why!
There are many layers to our relationship with technology – both negative and positive. But many of us have been in the compliance industry long enough to remember how we previously tracked compliance issues, training records, and updating policies and procedures: with paper and pencil. Then we began using email and spreadsheets. Now there are sophisticated software tools that help us manage the daily needs of a compliance program. This reduces time spent on administrative tasks so we can focus our efforts and skillset on the more important aspects of a compliance program, such as intelligent risk assessments, data analysis to identify the needle in the haystack, and tracking compliance metrics to assess our program’s overall effectiveness. Be grateful these tools exist and use them the correct way. Remember – they don’t run us, we run them.
These are just a few things we can be grateful for regarding our compliance programs this time of year. If you spend a little time contemplating your compliance program, you’ll find more to be grateful for. And when you do, express that gratitude. It will make you and others feel good and appreciated. And who doesn’t want that?
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