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Managing a Global Team in the Compliance World

Mohammed J. Khan, CISA, CRISC, CIPM
| Published: 7/6/2015 8:14 AM | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Human resource management (HRM) is an area in which every manager has to constantly mature  throughout their career. It becomes even more of a challenge when dealing with intra-regional and extra-regional boundaries that are inevitably going to stretch the demands of a robust and well-balanced people manager. Add to that the complexities of compliance, whether it is audit, privacy, ethics or information security, and HRM becomes exponentially harder, considering the sensitivity of these areas. The issues of a multigenerational workforce, along with increasing challenges with cultural diversity and inclusiveness, can lead to some challenges in having a global team. However, the benefits are quite significant, and this becomes even more important for an organization that is truly global in nature. Some of these benefits include proximity to customers (internal and external), a broader reaching talent pool and flexibility in managing resources.

The idea of HRM within the compliance world requires careful planning and interaction with the human resources (HR) function, but not just at the headquarter level. It has to be a transformative and collaborative approach, spanning across the various businesses, regions and functions  of the organization with close partnership with business and the local HR functions. Engage the compliance department heads along with business resource groups (BRGs) in order to fully assess and absorb the amount of resource requirements and the skill set needs. Close partnership with the HR recruiting functions and local recruiting agencies specializing in fulfilling key skill sets is vital to have a steady pool of qualified candidates applying for open positions in the organization. 

Upon hiring of qualified resources, retaining such resources can become a daunting task. This becomes even more challenging if the team is global and management of the resources is remotely performed, which can result in a higher risk of a dissatisfied professional. Clear expectations and role definitions have to be laid out, and proper training and development has to occur from the beginning. One of the key ways to build on this is to have a business partnership with the various BRGs and the compliance team to help engage the on-boarded compliance resources. This not only helps kick things off in the right direction, but it also helps build trust, which equates to collaboration with the BRGs—a positive synergy that cannot be neglected. This can also result in positive staff movement from the compliance departments into the business functions. This can result in a positive start and synergy that can be used in the right conditions.

One of the key challenges of managing a global compliance team is the comfort and use of various communication technologies such as teleconference meetings, live TV sessions and virtual collaboration with chat sessions. This can be even more challenging when accounting for time differences. Building trust is vital, and in order for this to happen, there has to be some form of face-to-face interaction. It certainly has to make business sense to travel, and there are always ways to make the most out of technology, however, there is much to be gained by having physical interactions during the beginning of the resource’s on-boarding process.

The global economy has not seen its peak, and it can be argued that the world we live in is getting smaller and smaller. With that said, connections between global teams can become farther apart, even with the advent of technological advances. There is still the proven fact that having a global team can be attained and utilized in a productive manner, however, it takes a lot of nurturing and support from the top.

Read Mohammed Khan’s recent ISACA Journal article:
Data Protection Act and GAPP Alignment,” ISACA Journal, volume 4, 2015.

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