Eric Baim on Compliant Business Communications Through Messaging Apps [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

Email isn’t enough anymore, if it ever really was. Employees are communicating with each other, clients and prospects via texts, WhatsApp, Teams, Slack and many, many more tools.

Much attention has been paid to the US Department of Justice’s call for organizations to be able to produce all that communication, which is not an easy task. Eric Baim, partner at Dovetail Consulting Group, explains that focusing on producing the communications is important, but it is isn’t enough. Compliance teams need  to train employees to use these technology appropriately.

That education process begins with compliance developing an understanding of what these applications were designed to do;  facilitate quick, back and forth interactions, brainstorm, and ask a question less formally than one would via email. The problem is that often these interactions lack context because they are continuations of other conversations. As a result, an outsider seeing them can draw very incorrect conclusions about what was being said.

With that understanding in mind, it’s important to make it clear to employees that if they are conducting company activity via these communication tools, they still need to follow company policy. Next, help them to understand the risk of comments taken out of context and to ensure that they add some. If the text, for example, is a follow up to an in-person meeting, reference it.

Be sure also to underscore the importance of avoiding jargon, being truthful or making assumptive statements. Stick to the facts and keep personal commentary out.

Internally, compliance teams, he argues, should take the time to understand how they can use these channels to communicate with the workforce. Communicating with the business where it is can help keep compliance top of mind and relatable. It can also help foster greater dialog which is, after all, what these applications were designed for.