A Compliance Manager’s Guide to Shaping Compliance Culture

By William White, NERC Reliability Specialist

So here we go again; compliance, standards, and requirements. Many of your plant employees may be asking, “why are we doing this?” and “does it really matter?” At some point, most compliance management employees have heard this question. And, although we can easily relate this question and idea to any realm of compliance, NERC and the Bulk Electric System (BES) is the specific topic of the hour. How do we minimize or remove negative pushback and, in its place, build a positive outcome? Through

training and education, Compliance Mangers can foster a positive understanding,  promotion, maintaining, and staying ahead of the curve mentality. Built on a well-structured program, this simple practice will solidify and strengthen the compliance foundation.

As new standards and requirements fill our compliance folders, there tends to be a little more frustration and apprehension. The Facility has been running for a decade without any issues, why are we required to implement this new testing schedule?  A valid question that requires a structured and supported answer. The Compliance Manager must first understand their employees and establish mutual trust and respect. Without these fundamental skills, leading the group to understanding is much more difficult.

It is important to read through supporting documentation, white papers, guidance documents, and other related standards and requirements. Understand what you are presenting to your compliance team will prepare you for difficult technical questions and help ward off shrugs of indifference. If the Compliance Manager starts by showing employees the impact that following the standards has on them as well as the Facility, the compliance team is more likely to follow and take the same ready to go attitude.

If you as the Compliance Manager struggle to keep your team together and on board with the correct actions and practices; go deeper. Is your culture of compliance clear and understood? Does your team know what is included in your culture of compliance? What is your role and Focus and do employees at the Facility understand it? Do you have a strategy for leading your NERC program? We know “compliance: is the act of following the rules, but what about culture and how it relates to the work place?

What is your role and Focus? Do you have a strategy for leading your NERC program?

A good place to start is understanding and setting the base for your culture of compliance. What is YOUR culture of compliance? What is culture of compliance? We know Compliance is the act of following the rules, but what about Culture and does that relate to the work place?

Culture is the manifestation of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. How do we maneuver throughout the day, completing tasks, scheduling meetings, conversing with others, essentially doing our jobs and thus living life?

Our workplace culture starts with the Compliance Manager. The Compliance Manager is the one who is molding it into a workable and successful model. The Compliance Manager should create a positive and useful culture of compliance that subordinates will buy into and follow.