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Internal Compliance: A critical component of Employee Program Management

Updated: Apr 9

Internal Compliance in ERGs

Companies have embraced various types of employee programs such as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), mentoring programs, volunteering programs and more. However, there is a key component in managing employee programs - internal compliance checks and processes. 

What is internal compliance?

Internal compliance encompasses the policies, processes and guidelines defined by an organization to safeguard against possible risks and introduce an element of accountability. Internal compliance sets up a defense against the loss or theft of data, establishes data privacy and security. However, this aspect is often overlooked by organizations until there is a breach of information.

How does compliance impact Employee Programs?

Discussed below are some instances where additional checks are required to ensure employee programs are secure and successful.

ERG Data Access

Employee Resource Group member information is sensitive. Their affiliation with the group and corresponding data shared during on-join surveys should be protected and treated as private and confidential. Access to this ERG data should be restricted. For example, ERG Program Managers might have the authority to view necessary data but the same might need to be masked for ERG Leads and other volunteers. Such customization is made possible by advanced ERG management software solutions that allow roles and permissions to be defined for each user type which facilitates data protection and internal compliance. 

Guest Speaker Vetting

Guest speakers are often invited by companies to share their experiences and expertise on various subject matters. The aim is to inspire and educate employees through such interactive events. However, vetting a speaker before inviting them is a critical compliance process. Introducing a speaker background verification process is vital for risk mitigation. This ensures that potential guest speakers' past and present offline views and online presence aligns with that of the company. Identifying discriminatory or offensive content serves as a red flag, prompting further investigation and potentially precluding their participation, safeguarding the organization's reputation. Advanced ERG platforms have multi-level approval workflows built-in to facilitate these checks.  

Anonymity in ERGs

Consider the scenario of an employee belonging to an underrepresented group who is not comfortable sharing their identity at the workplace. Advanced ERG platforms like Teleskope have a feature that allows employees to join ERGs anonymously. This feature allows them to be a part of the ERG, accessing valuable resources, connecting with like-minded individuals, and participating in events without compromising their privacy. The anonymous join feature in ERGs acts as a powerful shield, protecting the identities of members from both fellow colleagues and administrators. This commitment to privacy and confidentiality fosters a more inclusive environment where individuals can feel safe and supported regardless of their background or experiences.

Inter-departmental Mentor-Mentee Matching

In mentoring programs, mentors and mentees are matched using algorithms. These algorithms apply the rules defined by the program manager to map participants. HRIS and ERG data are used as input attributes for mapping. However, there can be a conflict of interest in mapping individuals belonging to different departments. For example, in financial firms, investment bankers and the financial advisors may have a conflict of interest. To avoid any unintentional sharing of information in a mentoring relationship, the members of these two teams should not be mapped to one another. A compliance check of not matching members belonging to these teams should be incorporated into the logic of the algorithm. It is possible to introduce these special and organization-specific conditions using advanced mentoring software like Teleskope

Department-wise Resource Sharing

Sharing information with team members using spreadsheets or documents is quite common. However, the data shared in these files could be private and confidential. For example, members of the Human Resources department access files that have sensitive data such as employee compensation. This data should not be accessible to employees from other departments or to certain employees within the department as well. Introducing dedicated online spaces for cohorts of employees based on their department, location or role, where data and other resources can be shared easily can mitigate data breaches. Teleskope Office Raven is an advanced tool that facilitates customized information sharing among teams.

The Complete Compliance Checklist

Compliance Checklist for ERGs

Teleskope has created a comprehensive compliance checklist that can help identify potential gaps in minutes. This guide deep dives into eight aspects of ERG compliance such as Data Access Compliance, Employee Identity Protection, Communication Compliance, Approval Workflows, Employee Consent, Region-specific Compliance, Fairness and Accessibility and Conflict of Interest. You can download the ERG compliance checklist here.

Though the primary aim of employee programs will always remain to build inclusive workplaces where employees can thrive, program managers need to be vigilant about incorporating internal compliance practices into the programs right from their inception. Investing in the right employee program software solution that prioritizes data security can protect the organization from internal and external data threats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if there's a compliance violation within an employee program?  

If a company lacks proper compliance measures, it faces a higher risk of penalties and legal trouble.  This could include fines, damaged reputation, and even lawsuits. Even though an employee may be at fault, the company can be held responsible for not having all the safeguards in place. This can lead to steeper fines, as regulators may view the company as irresponsible. Lawsuits become more likely, and the company's reputation suffers for being lax on compliance.

Do ERG software solutions integrate with existing HRIS or data management systems?

Yes, ERG (Employee Resource Group) software solutions integrate with existing HRIS (Human Resource Information System) and data management systems. This integration allows for a smoother flow of information. For example, employee data like contact details and department affiliations can be synced between the two systems, saving time and reducing errors. This makes it easier to manage ERG membership and activities. Ensure the ERG software has comprehensive compliance checks that can protect employee data across HRIS and data systems.


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