Zurich : Lunch & Learn

27 Jan 2012

Governance and Compliance Challenges of Today’s Corporations:
The Intersect with Human Resources

Speaker:  Gabe Shawn Varges

Gabe Shawn Varges, who spoke in a personal capacity, began the interactive session by telling the 40 IHRC members present that it’s helpful for HR professionals to understand the “big radar” of compliance and how to direct it to their own agenda as the two have many and increasing overlaps. He explained that in the current environment it’s critical to understand the international economic environment and the private and governmental responses to economic and social pressures.  These have impact on corporate practices and on regulation.  With globalization there are even quicker developments in these areas and more international standard setters in the game.

Mr. Varges posed probing questions about how various situations such as turbulence in international markets and issues such as social media, new technologies, and more emphasis on corporate governance and ethics impact the HR function. He commented that it is of help for HR people and their organizations to keep up with the internal and external developments in these areas, such as the increased focus by law enforcement authorities on bribery which can potentially touch on a company’s travel and entertainment practices if not well defined and controlled,  for example.  He presented the HRCI (“HR and Compliance Alignment Index” ) which is tool which allowed the audience to chart their company’s HR and compliance alignment in various areas such as organization and governance; employee recruitment, development and separation; performance management and compensation; legal and regulatory issues; and culture, values and ethics.

Mr. Varges concluded the session with six tips for the audience:

1)  Recognize areas common to HR and Compliance.

2) Make sure the Compliance Department is not just operating at one end of the motivate versus control spectrum.

3) Be true to the organization’s values.

4) Recall the technician vs. leader debate; effective compliance cannot be done only by technicians.

5) Recognize and exploit the value creation side of compliance, not just the risk side.

6) Avoid rush solutions. Don’t put compliance issues at the end of a work process. Bring them forward and place them front and center.

Gabe Shawn Varges  of FINMA is Chairman of the annual Compliance Management Day of the University of St. Gallen.
The next such day is on 25.10.2012, at the Haus zum Rüden in Zürich.

Text by Mary Bronson/IHRC Support Team