Compliance will be one of the biggest challenges many small businesses face in the coming year. This has always been at the forefront of most small business owners’ minds. According to one recent survey, regulatory issues are small business owners’ biggest concern, with 31.4% of business owners rating them as their biggest obstacle.
Small business owners must understand the various compliance issues they will face and adapt their business models accordingly. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Potential Replacement of the Affordable Care Act
Congress is considering repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The details of the new law are still being ironed out, so it is too early to determine the impact on small businesses. The new healthcare bill could potentially eliminate the requirement for small business owners with over 50 employees to provide healthcare to their employees.
Data and Privacy Protection
State lawmakers are passing more stringent laws on consumer data and privacy. At the same time, the federal government is looking to repeal some of the existing privacy protections. Congress recently proposed eliminating policies that prevent Internet Service Providers from sharing consumer information.
Small businesses need to take the time to understand the implications of these changes and navigate them as best as possible. While some businesses need to be held to a higher standard, privacy regulations for some businesses and businesses in certain states will be tapered back.
Understanding Implications of High-Performing Employees
All businesses appreciate the support of their best performing employees. However, more and more companies are discovering that high-performing employees introduce new compliance risks for their employers.
Josh Young of Workplace Answers reports that higher performing employees are less consistent in abiding by company ethics guidelines, which can leave their employers vulnerable.
Young argues that problems often stem from the fact that company and workforce policies are not enforced consistently and managers often send mixed messages. Upper-level staff often imply that the company ethics policies are fungible if they advance company goals, which provides the temptation for top performing employees to violate them at their leisure.
“While the specific focuses of these concerns varied, each of them stemmed from the confusion caused by inconsistent corporate practices. And if your workers aren’t clear that ethical business practices should be a priority, they may sacrifice these theoretical standards for a more concrete bottom line — particularly if these moral lapses appear to be rewarded with career advancement,” Young writes.
Formal studies on the compliance risks of high-performing employees have not been conducted, but Young’s anecdotal observations suggest they may be significant. Employers must keep this in mind while drafting ethics guidelines and ensuring they are enforced. The temptation to turn a blind eye to top employees needs to be weighed against the compliance risks.
Address Workplace Compliance Issues in 2018
Compliance risks are becoming more severe over time. Growing political uncertainty is exacerbating the risk, as a new generation of political leaders from both parties are introducing new ideas on healthcare, tax policy and a variety of other issues. This is a problem that many companies will need to deal with. Fortunately, the issues they will face in 2018 will be easier to foresee, provided they do their due diligence.