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How to Boost the Performance of Your Compliance Liaison Program

Using a network of liaisons throughout the company can be a cost effective way to boost the compliance team's influence, but it's not always easy to coordinate such a disparate group of employees

Nearly 60% of corporate compliance teams use liaisons, who work for other functions and spend about 5% to 10% of time helping with compliance projects and activities. In fact, the average compliance program has more liaisons than full-time employees, according to CEB data.

When it works well, a liaison program is an extremely cost effective way to ensure thousands of employees understand the importance of compliance programs, and why and how to comply with the controls that are in place.

Three Steps to Take

But what’s most likely to cause problems is getting the most out of a bunch of busy disparate colleagues who all report to different managers in different parts of the company, all with different priorities and work processes. Three tactics will help.

  1. Use clear metrics to communicate expectations: Don’t confuse your liaisons. Clear-cut metrics are a good way to spell out your expectations to liaisons and spur desired behaviors from them. Chart 1 has a sample list of ideas for measuring common liaison activities. Pick metrics that best match your program activities, and use them to clarify what are considered minimum requirements for liaisons’ work.

    Breaking down a vague requirement into several specific tasks will help liaisons spend more time and energy on what really matters in the limited time available.

    Chart 1: Ways to measure common compliance liaison activities  Source: CEB analysis

  2. Incorporate liaison performance into the review process: Including compliance work in performance reviews will motivate liaisons. It will make them feel valued, ensure they get credit for their efforts, and help them identify how to improve their compliance work.

    To do this, you’ll need the involvement of your liaisons’ direct managers, who should be receptive since they have already approved the liaison assignment in the first place and may have even nominated the candidates.

    Ask managers for input in the following processes:

    • Individual development plan (IDP): IDPs help employees create action plans to improve the competencies that they or they supervisors identify as needing it. If a liaison already has an IDP in place, suggest adding a few compliance-related development objectives to the plan.

    • Formal performance review: If your company has a multi-rater performance review system, ask the manager to invite your feedback regarding the compliance assistance rendered by his or her direct report.

    • Scorecard for informal or formal reviews: Use a liaison activity scorecard to provide suggestions and feedback when coaching or conducting informal reviews.  If you see progress in liaisons’ work quarter-over-quarter, make sure to ask their managers to recognize the improvement in their regular performance evaluations.

  3. Give rewards and recognition for liaison work: Choose the what works for your budget and compliance program from the following low-cost, high-payoff options:

    • Recognition at a live awards ceremony or town hall meeting.

    • Birthday cards to high-performing liaisons.

    • Intranet mentions of liaisons by name.

    • Articles spotlighting liaisons in company-wide or business unit newsletters.

    • Office parties or after-work happy hours to show gratitude.


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