Every single industry and every business has certain things they must comply to. These include legal requirements, regulations that must be followed, and voluntary compliance with industry and employer norms.
There are different consequences when it comes to non-compliance depending on what specifically we are talking about. When it comes to government regulation, these can often be disastrous, and we will talk more about those in a moment. Below are five compliance measures every business should take.
Internal Operations Compliance
What is internal operations compliance? There are some requirements of corporations like forming a board of directors and having annual meetings. Smaller companies like LLCs simply have to file annual reports and have less stringent regulations.
Then there are your internal compliance rules that you establish.These are essentially your rules for doing business on a day to day basis. They include a number of things.
Here are some examples of internal rules you should consider:
- Physical Entrance Rules: When can employees come and go, and who has access when and where? These should all be clearly outlined in a policy document.
- Virtual Access: Similar to an entrance policy, this tells your employees who can access what data from where, how, and using what equipment.
- Password Protection: What are your password requirements, and how often do employees have to change them?
- Security Updates: How often do security updates need to be done? Are they done by IT or do employees have permission to initiate them on company equipment?
- Media Removal/Addition: When can media be removed or added to the company systems, by whom, and when is it appropriate?
- Audits and Reviews: How often will audits and reviews be done, and what will they look like?
These items should all be clearly defined so that employees know what to expect and what is expected of them.
External Government Regulation Requirements
Of course, there are government requirements of your business, and many of them are related to HR and payroll. From overtime laws, which can vary from state to state, minimum wages, break policies, and more, there are regulations that govern how you treat employees and the benefits you offer them.
On top of that every business must deal with tax laws, both Federal and local laws which can include city, county, and state regulations. Many businesses choose to deal with these by outsourcing HR services to a professional employer organization or PEO. What is a PEO? A service that can offer professional employer tasks such as payroll and compliance.
The best PEO companies handle legal, payroll, benefit, and other requirements for a number of companies and corporations. These are options to consider as your company grows and dealing with these regulations becomes more than you can handle on your own.
Industry Specific Requirements
From factories to mines, each industry has specific requirements they must deal with. From OSHA and MSHA to the EPA and other environmental regulations, industries must deal with a number of compliance issues on a daily basis.
The key is to know the requirements for your business, and to follow them. Most agencies want you to be successful in compliance and they offer primers and courses that will help you follow the specific requirements for your industry. If you have questions, check with the regulating agency or a compliance expert.
Voluntary Employer Compliance
While some things are not requirements for your business per se, they are expected by employees, customers and others. For instance, you may not be required legally to offer certain benefits, but employees in you industry may expect them as they are “normal” for businesses of your type.
For instance, restaurants often offer food discounts to employees. While this is not a legal requirement, it is pretty much expected. Many office type jobs offer gym memberships to help employees stay active. While not a requirement, it is something employees have come to expect an employer to provide.
In other cases, customers expect businesses to be environmentally conscious and engage in recycling and energy conservation efforts. Using or paying into renewable energy and other responsible tactics are not only desirable, but almost compelled. Not participating in these things can drive your customers toward your competition.
Understand Consequences for Non-Compliance
There should be consequences attached to non-compliance with internal regulations, as they are related to the smooth everyday operations of your business. These can include written warnings and range up to dismissal for cause. Whatever structure you choose should be written in policies provided to the employee.
Government compliance comes with penalties at the state and Federal level, and can be small and inconsequential or disastrous for a small business. As mentioned above, tax penalties or violations of payroll compliance issues like overtime and labor regulations can easily bankrupt a smaller company.
Voluntary compliance violations can result in huge amounts of recidivism, lost employment prospects, lost sales, and lower profits. Sometimes what is expected of your business is just as important if not more so than what is required of your business.
As with any endeavor, compliance with laws and expectations is vital to the success of nearly any business. These are just five of the many compliance measures a company should have in place. Find out what your industry demands, and be sure you are in line with both what you need to do and what you are expected to follow.
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