Building a compliance culture

In my last feature for Recruitment International (May 2016), I focused on the importance of compliance and how it can be achieved. Given the changing world in which recruitment businesses now have to operate, compliance is very much on people’s minds.  As we saw in the June issue of RI, Jeni Howard of Scantec talked about building a culture which values and drives compliance and creates an environment where colleagues recognise that systems need to be improved.

Every managing director and investor wants their recruitment business to be successful, and will be aware that compliance is relevant. The ultimate goal, full compliance, may sometimes seem to be out of reach or regarded as an administrative burden. However, the most successful companies have always recognised the value that compliance plays across their business.

Whatever the size of your recruitment company it is important that you operate within the relevant legislation to avoid claims and probable reputational damage.  Compliance management is part of sound business practice and a way to achieve business excellence.

Ensuring that your business practices are in order also makes good commercial sense as it helps build company reputation, confidence with your clients and candidates, and most importantly both the top and bottom line of your profit and loss (P&L).

Compliance good practice

Making sure that you are compliant does not need to be complex, but sometimes it is easy to overlook small, yet important processes. To help you identify these, Standards in Recruitment (SiR) has produced a short guide to help everyone working in a recruitment business identify some of the most commonly overlooked compliance procedures and how to address them. The guide, Six of the most commonly overlooked compliance procedures, provides examples that recruitment businesses will recognise and, for each, outlines a typical scenario and concludes with how they can be addressed. Topics include:

  • putting contractual terms in place with clients
  • how to make a company opt out valid
  • registering with the Information Commissioner’s Office
  • correctly identifying the party you are working with
  • checking a candidate’s right to work, and
  • including correct company information on your website.

Blueprint for improvement

SiR is the only independent compliance programme developed just for recruitment businesses and is entirely suited to the new compliance era that now exists within the context of agency introduction, worker supply and supply chain compliance. Undergoing the SiR programme brings a whole host of benefits to a recruitment business including:

  • a blueprint to improvement and business success
  • independent assessment and accreditation
  • the right to use the SiR logo on your website and in your marketing collateral

How SiR works

The SiR programme is all about helping recruitment businesses achieve good business practice as painlessly and cost effectively as possible. As well as addressing the regulatory aspects of recruitment the Standards themselves reflect the rules of engagement that your clients and candidates expect, effectively working as your operational blueprint or code of practice for you to use to your advantage.

On application you receive the Standards and accompanying guidance notes, so you can see the pathway to improvement. The Standards have been developed by a stakeholder group of hirers and agencies to reflect good business practice and capture client and candidate expectations.

The next stage is a gap analysis, an onsite pre ‘MoT’ undertaken by an independent recruitment business auditor. The outcome will help towards any further fine tuning of your processes or give you the thumbs up that you are ready for the final legal and onsite accreditation audit.

Reassurance to investors

Following a successful final audit you will be awarded SiR certification and given the right to use the SiR accredited logo, a well-deserved flag to fly. This will give reassurance to investors as well as clients, candidates and suppliers that you operate a high-quality and reliable recruitment business in what is a highly competitive market.

What to do next

Download a copy of the Six of the best compliance guide at

This article was first published in Recruitment International on 14th July 2016

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