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Revealed, top policy management challenges faced by EMEA compliance professionals

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Changing Regulations” is top challenge for compliance professionals. EMEA companies trend higher than the global sample in citing “Customising Policies across Languages & Regions” and “Managing & Updating Translated Versions” as top challenge.

Keeping ethics and compliance policies up to date with new and changing regulations is the top policy management challenge for compliance professionals in EMEA. And companies in EMEA have a greater challenge than their global counterparts in keeping policies up to date with changing languages and jurisdictions. Those are the key findings in the 2016 EMEA Policy Benchmark Report released today by ethics and compliance software and services company NAVEX Global®. 

The report surveyed nearly 400 ethics and compliance professionals from companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – half of whom were in C-suite or senior management roles – about their approach to policy management, including creation, review, distribution and attestation. The report is a subset of NAVEX Global’s full Policy Management. 

Benchmark Report, which surveyed 1,075 respondents across the globe.
36 percent of respondents in the EMEA Policy Management Benchmark Report listed ‘Keeping up to Date with Changing Regulations’ as one of their top three concerns, which is in line with the global findings. However, the respondents trended higher than their global counterparts in citing ‘Customising Policies across Languages and Regions’ and ‘Managing and Updating Translated Versions’ as top concerns. 

“The results show that organisations in EMEA are broadly experiencing very similar trends to companies reporting globally and it comes as little surprise that keeping policies aligned with new regulations is a top priority given the rate at which new regulations evolve”, said Randy Stephens, J.D., NAVEX Global’s vice president of advisory services and the report’s author. “However, organisations doing business in EMEA do report that customising policies across languages is more of a challenge than those reporting globally, due to the number of cultural and language differences across the geographical area.”

 Organisations in EMEA also ranked their policy management programme maturity slightly lower than the global cohort. Globally, 17 percent of respondents noted that they were advanced in their policy management practices and 48 percent were maturing. Amongst organisations in EMEA, only 10 percent thought their programmes were advanced and 51 percent as maturing. 

Stephens continued, “Compliance professionals in EMEA can mitigate some of the challenges they face and mature their policy management practices in a number of ways. First of all they should develop standard protocols for policy localisation so that there is logic and cadence to prioritisation and localisation of policies. 

“Technology can, and should, play a pivotal role in this. Policy management software profoundly impacts an organisation’s policy management programme outcomes as well as the compliance programme as a whole by eliminating or reducing many of the challenges and headaches associated with developing and improving policy management programmes. Yet only 12 percent of EMEA companies we spoke to are using automated software at some point in the policy management process. 

“The return on investment for putting dedicated and centralised policy management programmes in place can be seen in the survey results – 44 percent of organisations with automated policy management programmes rate their programme as Very Good or Excellent, compared with only 22 percent of those without. EMEA policy managers that are not already using automated software would therefore benefit from upgrading their current systems to a dedicated policy management system to improve their policy management outcomes.”

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