Tips for Compliance Professionals in Their 30s



Compliance professionals in the 30-something age bracket are both blessed and cursed to be launching their compliance careers in a time of increased rules and regulations around the way companies can do business. Every industry from financial services to healthcare is affected, which of course means plenty of jobs in compliance, but also places a greater responsibility in the hands of its proponents.

As a young professional it can be tempting to refer to your classroom teachings and texts to set the path for actually working in compliance, however lesson number one should be that books will only get you so far.

In her 2019 article for, compliance professional, Margarita Derelanko, compared her experience as a new mother with how one should approach their early compliance career, saying: “I needed the awakening that life ‘by the book’ is not achievable and that a compliance profession ‘by the book’ may not be realistic, effective or rewarding.”

So, we’ve thrown out the books and got you some real-life advice from a senior recruiter in the risk and compliance space, and a seasoned compliance professional.

Lee Hine, Director of the APAC Region for KPP Search points out that compliance professionals should have a good operational understanding of the business. “You should be able to think in compliance terms as to what the business needs and what is important to that particular organisation,” he says.

Thus, the need for intentional relationship building and stakeholder management and engagement is crucial. “If you’re selling ideas and concepts in order to implement compliance policies and procedures, you need the business to be behind you,” says Hine bringing in the communication piece that is so essential for good compliance practice. “You need to get people to understand regulatory compliance; that it is there to protect them not hinder them.”

You also need to be creative in how you present information. “You want people to engage with the fact that they are building a sustainable business by embracing compliance,” says compliance professional, Renita Vink.

Hine asserts that compliance professionals should be able to understand and interpret legislation that is relevant to their organisation. “Think about how it can be applied in practice and how it will impact the business,” he says. “Most importantly, think outside the box.”

Lead by example and make sure you’re being respectful of your colleagues. Your aim is to educate them on following the rules and regulations and promoting a proactive culture of compliance at work. Don’t go in guns blazing, work on being kind, considerate and commercial in your approach and you’ll see a far better response. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Compliance means listening to the needs of others. If you take the time to understand the objectives of a department or team within your company, you can thrash out their needs, and the challenges they’re facing together in order to come to a mutually beneficial compliance solution. “By partnering with the business and getting involved in the design stage of processes, you will bring a commercial lens to compliance by saving potential increased costs when additional controls need to be implemented after the execution of the new process,” says Vink. Undeniably you will at times face resistance, it’s the nature of the job, but this is where that relationship building comes into play, particularly with the stakeholders. Highlighting the areas in which they already practice healthy compliance habits is a good start to get them to see how further compliance could benefit them and their team.

Don’t expect people to follow your lead from the outset. Consider it a marathon, not a race and prepare yourself for the fact that it takes time for people to see the value in better compliance practices.

Be proactive. Don’t sit around waiting for someone or something to break a process, go out of your way to play detective with your stakeholders before they come knocking on your door with concerns. You won’t be able to evade every misstep but so long as you are always doing what you can to prevent, mitigate and control compliance risks then you’ll know you are doing your job to the best of your ability.

Compliance is ultimately underpinned by good intentions, learning from your mistakes and implementing ways to prevent them from being repeated in future.


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