Fun and Smart Ways to Celebrate Compliance & Ethics Week

Posted by Joe Stefansky on October 3, 2022 in Industry News,

Adhering to compliance standards protects all consumers of healthcare services and ultimately enables the delivery of the highest levels of healthcare across the country. An annual Compliance Week provides a great opportunity to change your workers’ attitudes towards compliance, educate them, and generally raise awareness of compliance in your workplace. It is also a prime chance to thank compliance “heroes” and recognize the huge amount of work that compliance staff put in to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of healthcare services by their company. Below are some tips for planning your Compliance Week and ideas for how to engage staff in creative and enjoyable ways.

start planning early

Compliance Week raises awareness of compliance issues and can instill a greater commitment to compliance that can stay with participants long after the event has ended, However, events like this require a lot of planning, so start early. Many of the activities suggested below require leadership approvals, securing facility space and time to design materials and can take longer than you may expect. You also don’t want to conflict with other work-related obligations in your colleagues’ calendars.

Consider using Compliance Week as a team-building exercise for your compliance staff.  Since compliance staff often have more regular contact with an organization’s staff than a compliance officer might, give them the opportunity to use their knowledge to help design activities that will be well-received. Planning an event and having to address time, space and budget constraints can increase staff engagement and understanding of how complex an event like this can be. Since many of the activities involve both upfront costs as wells prizes or other forms of recognition, compliance officers may want to build in a line item in the department’s budget to cover the additional costs related to Compliance Week activities.

ENGAGE OPERATIONAL LEADERSHIP

To drive home the message that compliance is everyone’s business, having senior business leaders participate in the kick-off and in activities throughout the week is crucial to success. To often, Compliance can be viewed as a department that is tolerated but not appreciated. These perceptions can change at the staff level if senior leaders engage directly with Compliance in highly visible and positive ways. For example, if a senior leader can record a short clip regarding how the organization’s commitment to ethical business practices influenced their decision to join the company, that can be a powerful message for staff. Also, if your organization has recently gone through a difficult audit where a particular department has been found either very compliant or very non-compliant, having the senior operational leader responsible for that department involved in the Compliance Week enforces the message that Compliance and operational partnership is strong and essential.

PLAN ACTIVITIES THAT ARE INCLUSIVE

Not all staff will want to attend in-person activities, and in many cases, they cannot. For that reason, you need to plan activities that can engage staff where you find them. With many organizations now allowing staff to work remotely all or part of the time, on-site events will likely experience less attendance. Therefore, a focus on other ways to reach staff is even more important.

Planning a splashy Compliance Week Fair can be a fun and creative exercise for your compliance staff. However, this type of activity can have limited impact because the small number of staff who can attend such in-person events due to location and the ability to leave their work stations. This is particularly true for staff located at clinical sites. Also, with budget constraints, you may want to consider a video kick-off with your president or CEO that can be sent out the day before to all staff and a smaller in-person kick-off event.

For clinical staff who have limited time away from their units and those that work in more remote locations, a focus on games and online activities which they can do anywhere is the best way to promote engagement.  If there are staff satellite locations or departments where recent compliance issues have been particularly prevalent, a personal appearance by the Compliance Officer with boxed lunches for all can provide an opportunity to meet staff and put a face on Compliance other than as an enforcement entity.  

HOW TO MAKE COMPLIANCE FUN

Compliance is not routinely viewed as a source of fun within most organizations or viewed as inherently interesting. Compliance Week can be an opportunity to change perceptions. The ideas mentioned below were compiled from a variety of message boards, forums, and podcasts. Chief among them was the HCCAnet Forum and Rebekah Latchis’ Compliance Mastermind podcast. Also, each year, HCCA offers both ideas and merchandise that can be used for annual Compliance Week activities.

COMPLIANCE GAMES

Compliance-related games are always a popular element of Compliance Week, especially when there is a prize to offer! Participation and enthusiasm go up exponentially once there are prizes and/or food and drink involved.

Many compliance departments hold some type of scavenger hunt. You could share 10-12 questions to check your colleagues’ awareness of compliance issues, ranging from naming the compliance officer in their department to describing the correct mode of conduct in a given situation. Several organizations hold in-person or virtual “spot the violation” games. They set up a desk or an entire room rigged with compliance violations, like confidential documents left visible, an expensive gift bag “from your favorite vendor,” and a few decoy items. Employers could either enter the room or study a photo sent by email, newsletter, or on posters and then submit their list of violations. To boost participation there would be a prize for the winners.

Another really creative idea is a Real or Reel game – create a list of compliance situations and ask if each one really occurred or was instead the plot of a movie or TV show. 

All sorts of crosswords, trivia games, compliance quizzes and puzzles like Sudoku, are effective too and can be done on-line by all interested staff.  One compliance officer organized a casino theme for Compliance Week, complete with Spin the Compliance Wheel Roulette and Compliance Bingo. If “Compliance Points” that can be used toward Compliance Week prizes are awarded to quiz and game winners, you may find increased engagement as well. 

Another new game to consider including is a version of “Wordle”, although it might require the assistance of your IT department to develop. Compliance Wordle would give participants a chance each day to determine what five letter word related to compliance is being featured that day.

COMPLIANCE COMPETITIONS & CONTESTS

Another approach is to hold an inter-departmental compliance competition. It’s up to you what the competition involves; you could ask for compliance-related posters, snappy slogans, short videos, or even the creation of a compliance superhero character.

Each department could need to enter a submission, which you would then display throughout Compliance Week. This gives plenty of time for your colleagues to admire the entries and absorb the compliance messages that they convey. Employees can vote on their favorite entry, with the winner revealed at the end of Compliance Week.

There can also be individual competitions. With so many staff working from home, a photo/meme contest where employees submit photos of their children, pets, plants or other at-home “co-workers” can be a fun way to share their work-life world with others. Some compliance departments have also created  a competition where staff can submit a proposed compliance mascot, tagline or meme that can be used on future compliance communications. To increase engagement, awarding a prize such as gift cards to contest winners can be incentive.

TECHNOLOGY AND COMPLIANCE

Compliance Week activities can harness audio, video, and technology as well. Short videos, audio podcasts, or cartoons that spread compliance messages or just share a communication from the Chief Compliance Officer, CEO, or any staff member can liven up Compliance Week. One organization created short cartoons about a character who became their compliance mascot. Other visual media ideas include compliance-related slogans or images that are pushed through screensavers, weekly newsletters, or special Compliance Week emails, public monitor displays, and other media.

You don’t even have to create your own video. One organization held a fun version of compliance training by screening a thought-provoking documentary about why people lie. Employees were curious to learn about the topic and enthusiastically joined in a discussion after the movie.

RECOGNITION

Recognition can be a powerful tool. If your goal for Compliance Week is to raise awareness of compliance in your workplace, one great way to do this is by asking managers and peers to nominate an individuals who makes a significant contribution to the organization’s ethical profile in the last year. Alternatively, you could choose a representative from each department or just one overall “Compliance Hero” or “Compliance Champion” for the entire organization, depending on the size of the staff. A story about the work of the winner (or winners) could be included on the organization’s intranet site or other widely distributed company news platform.

Engaging on social media platforms can be another way to reach a wider audience about the work of the organization related to compliance and to educate social connections about why compliance is so critical to both the organizations and its partners.

Some organizations take Compliance Week as an opportunity to recognize the hard work of the entire compliance department or compliance committee or to honor the Chief Compliance Officer through special dinners, emails, displays, or awards. You may also want to recognize a department that has been faced with and successfully addressed serious compliance issues in the last year.

Whichever approach you take to making Compliance Week fun, begin by thinking about your goals. Make sure that whatever activity you choose fits with these goals, whether that’s raising awareness of compliance among your colleagues or thanking them for their assistance in compliance. With just a little creativity and ingenuity, you can kick up a storm of compliance enthusiasm throughout your workplace.

EDUCATION

While the competitions and games suggested here serve the dual purpose of both fun and education, Compliance Week can also be used as time to up the ante on training, Daily email blasts to staff about particular aspects of compliance, such as the seven pillars of compliance or some of the high-risk health care laws such as false claims or the federal whistleblower laws can be developed. To increase engagement, these mini-trainings can include both a request for staff/departments to submit examples of how their department upholds the standard discussed or mitigates risk and the chance of a prize each day. A prize awarded each day for the department or individual who submitted the most inventive or successful process used to further compliance related to the day’s topic. To further increase interest, a larger prize for the best submission of the week may drive greater participation overall. This will also give a compliance department line of sight into the innovative ideas that have implemented across their organization.

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    About Joe Stefansky

    About Joe Stefansky

    Joe Stefansky has a keen sense of business opportunities in complex problems, using technology to transform difficulty into efficiency. The CEO and founder of Streamline Verify specializes in solving compliance, legal and administrative issues through intuitively designed software that reduces costs and saves time.

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