One of the ways to operationalize compliance and to drive it into the DNA of an organization is through a performance review. Indeed, the 2019 DOJ Guidance stated:

Incentive System…Have there been specific examples of actions taken (e.g., promotions or awards denied) as a result of compliance and ethics considerations? Who determines the compensation, including bonuses, as well as discipline and promotion of compliance personnel?

Most HR experts will opine that properly executed performance appraisals are crucial to organizational productivity as well as the development of employee skills and employee morale. Moreover, they can serve a couple of different functions for a best practices compliance program. First, and foremost, they communicate to each employee their job performance from a compliance perspective. However, one key is not to approach the performance appraisal review as an isolated event but rather a continual process. This means that instead of trying to play catch-up at the last minute, supervisors should provide feedback and assess job performance throughout the year so annual reviews are grounded in a year’s worth of experience. This includes the compliance component of each job. The second area performance appraisals impact is compensation. The DOJ expect that your compliance program will have both discipline and incentives. But those incentives need to be based upon something. The score or other performance appraisal metrics will provide to you a standard which you can measure and use to evaluate for other purposes such as employee promotion or advancement to senior management going forward.

Three key takeaways:

  1. To incentivize compliance, you must be able to accurately appraise senior managers and employees around compliance.
  2. Clearly communicate your compliance expectations, then fairly evaluate employees on them.
  3. Consider conducting an ongoing review.