Managing compliance risks during Covid-19

Few businesses, if any, will be unaffected by the Covid pandemic. While crisis management and compliance may not be natural bedfellows, managing compliance risks will be vital if organisations are to be properly protected. The business response to Covid-19 is under considerable scrutiny, getting this right could have a long-term impact on reputation and sustainability.

The big picture is one that is hard for ethics and compliance professionals to influence. Many organisations have been forced to reduce the size of their operations or cease trading altogether. In the UK alone, more than 70 per cent of companies have furloughed staff and unemployment figures are set to rise around the globe.

Companies hit by the pandemic need to decide how to fund the costs of business survival. Already we have seen allegations of unfairness in the media, as lowly paid workers are furloughed while managers, star employees, partners and shareholder protect their own incomes. We have also seen examples of managers taking pay cuts in order to try help the company and protect cashflow.

Ethics and compliance professionals should be trying to ensure that such decisions are made transparently and against fair criteria. It is all too easy for companies to target the weakest group of stakeholders. These choices are far from straight forward and decisions are often being made under extreme time pressure.

To ensure these compliance risks are managed, it is vital to remain visible and where possible at the forefront of decision making in order to ensure that organisations are properly protected.

In an article for Governance & Compliance Magazine, Leo Martin explores the steps can be taken to manage the compliance risks currently being faced.