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Jan 27, 2020

How Comscore takes a data-based approach to compliance

Comscore recently won Corporate Secretary’s 2019 Corporate Governance Award for best compliance and ethics program (small to mid-cap)

Comscore is a great example of using technology to move a compliance and ethics program forward. Centralizing and automating its training program over the past year has brought benefits in terms of improving the timely uptake of courses, being able to spot areas that need attention and fostering a compliance-focused culture. Our judges appreciated Comscore’s use of data analytics as part of a ‘comprehensive’ program.

Comscore’s more than 1,500 employees across 20 countries receive compliance and ethics training that meets their respective needs and reflects local regulations. Skillsoft Compliance provides 13 mandatory training courses and 49 multi-modal optional compliance training units in English, French, German and Spanish. The training covers topics such as the code of conduct, anti-harassment, anti-corruption, data governance, disaster preparedness, privacy and security.

In August 2018 Comscore launched company-wide compliance training administered via Workday and delivered through Skillsoft’s learning platform. Ray Williams, vice president for compliance at Comscore, says the implementation process involved building relationships across teams, including HR. The company had to make sure everyone in the firm was signed up to the new system. Letting people know how important the system was and giving visibility and transparency to the process had an impact, Williams says, adding: ‘You could see the culture of the organization change.’

The new central learning-management system enables Comscore to automate the assignment of compliance training to new hires, existing employees and contractors. It can also differentiate between different groups’ needs. Administrators can schedule automated reminders before training is due and an overdue notice for those who do not complete the training. Employees who are behind schedule now receive an automated email telling them they will be denied access to all systems if they don’t complete the training on time. As a result, the average number of days overdue has been cut from 50 to eight.

The new platform also enables Comscore’s compliance team to run complex data analysis in 10 minutes or less, where previously it might wait hours or days for a simple data inquiry. This means compliance can create pivot tables and dashboards, giving it insight into noncompliance in different locations, business lines and teams. The level of data at the compliance team’s fingertips further means it can report to the general counsel and chief compliance, people & privacy officer on which risk areas or areas of going concern have been tackled.

‘As we [implemented the system], we recognized the need to improve monitoring,’ Williams says. The compliance team uses data analytics to improve awareness of comprehension and retention gaps among employees. In August 2018 it began using a new surveying tool developed by the company’s survey insight team. These surveys enable the firm to measure employees’ awareness of risk areas, understanding of how that risk relates to Comscore’s business and their ability to remediate that risk. The compliance team can then respond to areas that need a push in terms of awareness or training.

Together, these changes have led to ‘a tangible culture shift,’ according to the company. ‘Employees from all countries, departments and business units are proactively engaging with the compliance team, completing assignments and willingly taking surveys,’ it states. ‘Overall, Comscore has noticed a much more aware employee base that expresses interest in the training topics and appreciation for the knowledge.’

This article originally appeared in the latest Corporate Secretary special report.