Bringing on new tech for RIA compliance can be a major undertaking on top of handling the constantly-updated compliance regulations a firm must navigate. Usually any new tech is software of some kind to help make compliance easier to handle. But once you have new tech selected from a vendor, there’s another huge task. The software has to be implemented with and understood by your staff.
At the beginning stage, as a chief compliance officer, you have spent time learning the ins and outs of your new software, and are ready to get your team on board. You’ve set up training sessions for advisors and others in the organization. You’ve given demonstrations and offered knowledge base articles. But when you’re introducing new processes, or software, with compliance training, the challenge increases – especially when you have to get an entire team ready to use new software.
Every group has early adopters, and you know those people. Especially in the RIA compliance sector, the software you use is only as good as the people using it, and the number of people using it. Here are some strategies for helping your team adopt new compliance tech:
Identify the people responsible for training, understanding and using your new compliance software. A recent Harvard Business Review report studied a large multinational oil company on its adoption of R&D. The study included a decade-long review of 7,000 drilling projects, career histories of more than 30,000 engineers back to 1979, and a series of interviews with current engineers, managers, and executives. The findings showed that it’s important to have key people at the top, but …
… if the people on the ground aren’t excited about the project, they can always cite the need for adaptation as an excuse for declining or delaying implementation. But when people are on board, they’ll embrace the challenge and do the work necessary to make the advance succeed. … start by engaging with the people who will actually use their solutions, rather than with the bosses who sign off on budgets.
Find those people who are most likely to latch onto your new tech. Chances are you already know who they are in your workplace. Also be open to lifelong learners as well as new blood. Early adopters are found throughout organizations, not just in the younger digital native generations. Identify the people – perhaps it’s you – who are responsible for implementation and find those who understand the vision of your organization. Who will be responsible for integrating the new technology? Who do they need to work with?
Advances in compliance technology give employees more time to spend on other priorities. For an RIA, that’s more time gained to manage and attract clients. A Pew Research Center article from 2017 said …
… workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments.
Engage your entire team by looking for tools that include 2-way communication around notifications and alerts. You’ll want the process of sharing information to be easy for all involved, because that helps your compliance team to succeed. Tools like SmartRIA’s software have automated notifications and alerts that tell people when it’s time to complete compliance objectives and when data indicates a potential compliance deficiency needs to be reviewed or corrected.
Mentors, how-to videos, and a robust knowledge base of how-to articles help you implement new tech. A recent Forbes Human Resources Council article gave 13 suggestions to implementing new tech. Those included scheduling training sessions, offering supporting documents in a knowledge base for employees to follow up those sessions, and offering multiple options for training. Forbes wrote:
As companies bring on more and newer technology to help improve productivity, employees who were initially trained on older systems or who are new to a higher-tech workplace may struggle to keep up or even resist using the new tech at all.
An extensive and varied approach to training is important to helping your tech resistant employees to adopt your new software. And the more chances there are to learn, the better. Encouraging employees to seek out those opportunities can be done with a calendar offering multiple sessions.
Once your team members complete new software training, don’t forget to recognize their progress. Everyone appreciates a heartfelt pat on the back sometimes.
Your software partners also can provide support. SmartRIA’s system, for example, includes real people leading regular weekly training sessions, with backup sessions available. In the field of RIA compliance, look for organizations with a robust knowledge base you can access. Find a firm that is constantly updating their tech and providing regular product releases and notes.
Pro Tip: when exploring your options, pay attention to your prospective compliance software vendor’s approach to usability. Have they gone out of their way to make the software easy to use and understand? If it doesn’t look easy to you as a compliance professional during a demo, it’s likely to be doubly hard on your IAs, access persons and admin support professionals.
Helping your staff learn new tech isn’t impossible, but does require a little finesse. For firms in RIA compliance, time saved with software that simplifies compliance helps you and your staff get up to speed with new tech in other areas. Technology that you implement should be a timesaver, simplify complex processes and provide security for you and your clients. Once that’s in place, the time and energy you once spent on managing compliance is saved to use elsewhere to develop and grow business.