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How to Effectively Manage Compliance in Engineering Teams

Engineering control of robotics

There are many motivating factors behind the need to manage compliance within engineering teams – with the main two being that the integrity of your projects and the reputation of your company hang in the balance if you aren’t up to scratch.

That said, ensuring that all procedures, systems, and outputs meet industry standards can sometimes be as complex as the engineering work itself. 

So to overcome potential hurdles, here’s a look at how to keep your engineering team aligned with essential regulations without compromising on innovation or efficiency

Understanding Compliance Requirements

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of managing compliance, it’s sensible to have a clear understanding of what exactly is required of your engineering team. This comprehension forms the bedrock upon which all compliance strategies are built. 

Here are some steps to take:

  1. Identify Relevant Regulations: Start by identifying the specific regulations that impact your industry. Are there local, national, or international standards to consider? This could include environmental standards such as the EPA’s Clean Air Act requirements – which have led to a 50% drop in air pollution over the past 30 years, safety protocols governed by OSHA, or international standards like ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems.
  2. Engage with Legal Experts: Consult with legal experts who specialize in your sector. They can provide insights that are not immediately obvious but are critical for full compliance. The cost of failing to handle legal aspects can be steep, with one YouGov survey suggesting this costs UK businesses £13.6 billion ($17.2 billion) annually.
  3. *Continuous Education: Ensure that team leaders and members are abreast with current and emerging regulations. This might involve regular training sessions or subscribing to industry publications.
  4. Utilize Technology: Incorporating the best compliance management software can streamline complex processes involved in maintaining standards across projects. Such tools not only ensure accuracy but also efficiency by automating repetitive tasks and simplifying data management.

Cultivating a Compliance Culture

Embedding compliance into the daily operations and mindset of your engineering team is a must-do for long-term success. Building a culture that inherently respects and adheres to necessary regulations not only eases management but also enhances team performance. 

To achieve this:

  • Lead by Example: Leadership should embody the principles of compliance in their actions. When leaders prioritize regulatory adherence, it sends a strong message to all team members about its importance.
  • Implement Transparent Communication: Maintain openness about why compliance is necessary, detailing how it protects the project, the company, and even the team’s reputation. Regular discussions on compliance topics can demystify complexities and reinforce their value – with strong communication skills like these also serving you well more generally as a decision-maker.
  • Roll out Recognition and Rewards: Implementing a system that acknowledges individuals or teams who excel in maintaining high standards of compliance can motivate others to follow suit. This could be through recognition in meetings, small rewards, or public acknowledgment in company communications. Given that 79% of team members will walk away from roles if they aren’t adequately recognized by managers, this is as much about retention as it is compliance.
  • Enact Regular Compliance Audits: Schedule periodic audits to review practices and systems against required standards. These audits help in identifying non-compliance and also in recognizing areas for improvement before they become issues.

Final Thoughts

A holistic approach to managing compliance in engineering teams – one that looks outwards to the requirements imposed upon your industry while also looking inwards to ensure the culture is aligned with these expectations – will stand you in good stead going forward. It’s just a case of taking steps to perpetuate this, rather than resting on your lau

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