The truth is compliance officers and all the employees who are responsible for keeping up to date on the ever-changing landscape of compliance are not given enough credit for the hard work they do. Additionally, a lack of support from management is one of the most common reasons that these teams experience compliance burnout. 

So, why has the compliance burden grown so much in recent years, and why are people leaving the industry in large numbers? Also, what are some things that organizations can do to help prevent burnout and to retain their much-needed compliance personnel? 

Let us take a look at these concerning trends as well as identify some of the ways organizations are working to resolve these issues.  

How Has the Compliance Burden Grown? 

During the pandemic, organizations were forced to go through a rapid digital transformation. With this transformation came the monumental challenges of data privacy, network security, and a large increase in the complexity and number of regulations that organizations needed to comply with. When it comes to how the compliance burden has grown in recent years, much of it has to do with the new rules and regulations that are always coming out in response to the rapid digital transformations that many organizations underwent during the pandemic. The transformation occurred and now regulations are playing catch up. 

This rapid digital transformation changed the way we work and the way we connect to our company networks to access the resources we need to do our jobs. This digital transformation also increased the complexity of regulations making the role of the compliance officer even more critical than it already was. The increase in responsibilities that CCOs took on often required longer hours and more intense compliance research, and in return, many people in this industry did not see an increase in pay and/or recognition for their contributions. 

At the same time, the burden often falls largely to compliance officer and the IT team, even if it’s not their strong point. They are responsible for ensuring that regulatory standards and laws are followed and that no violations occur. 

One of the main difficulties that CCOs and their compliance teams face is that there are always new regulations coming out that need to be followed. The increasing burden of assessments and attestations has grown with changing nature of cybersecurity, cyber threats, and the ways that cybercriminals are infiltrating the digital infrastructures of organizations. In fact, compliance specialists must be aware of new and updated regulations, understand them fully, and ensure that they are put in place action plans that detail changes that need to be made to comply.  

Why Are IT and Compliance Staff Leaving the Industry? 

In 2021, a survey of compliance officers was conducted to get an idea of how they and their teams were handling the changes in the landscape that came out of the pandemic and the work-from-home movement. Out of 240 CCOs surveyed, around 59% felt burned out with their jobs and the industry as a whole. Additionally, 56% of the compliance officers surveyed felt that their mental health has been negatively impacted as a result of their work.  

The main cause of this stress and anxiety was keeping up with emerging technologies, new security threats, and new, more complex rules and regulations. Other factors placing an incredible amount of pressure on compliance officers and causing them to quit the industry include a lack of support from management, a lack of recognition for their contributions, and the burden of blame for violations that sometimes can occur outside of their control.  

Related article: How the ‘Great Resignation’ Is Impacting Cybersecurity. 

Compliance questions? Get answers!

Book a free 30-minute consultation with a specialist to find your path to compliance. Secure your spot today.


What Can be Done to Improve Conditions in the Short Term? 

When it comes to improving conditions for your compliance team, there are several things that you can do in the short term to help reduce burnout.  

Here are the top three ways to help reduce burnout in the short term.  

  1. Use compliance management software: Compliance management software can be an extremely effective and convenient tool that can help keep track of all relevant rules and regulations. The software can help manage processes for communicating, monitoring, and documenting all efforts required by your organization’s industry.  
  2. Outsource: If your IT team is stretched thin, you may want to consider outsourcing security tasks. Plus, instead of outsourcing entire responsibility of compliance, you could always choose to co-source or a fractional compliance specialist who can work directly with your staff to help alleviate complete engagements while serving as a trusted source of current information.  
  3. Create a compliance committee: Smaller organizations may want to consider forming a compliance committee with other members of your management team. Having a committee would make the burden of compliance more of a team effort rather than the sole responsibility of one employee.  

Related article: You Don’t Really Need to Hire a Compliance Officer – Benefits of a vCCO. 

What Can be Done to Prevent Burnout in the Long Term? 

Using compliance management software, hiring outside help from a compliance consulting firm, and creating a compliance committee may be excellent ways to reduce the risk of burnout in the short term, but what about in the long term? 

Here are just a few of the many ways to help reduce compliance burnout in the long run: 

  1. Promote work/life balance: Work/life balance should be promoted at an organizational level allowing time for employees to exercise, spend time with family and friends, have hobbies, and get an adequate amount of rest and relaxation.  
  2. Provide work-from-home opportunities: Not all jobs can be working from home, however, there are some hybrid models that may help reduce burnout from your compliance team. Working from home saves time and money spent commuting, helps working parents balance work and family responsibilities, and demonstrates that the company has trust that their employees can be treated like adults and fulfill all of their work responsibilities from home.  
  3. Promote workplace wellness: Having quiet and comfortable spaces in the office for employees to meditate, nap on their lunch breaks, or simply unplug for a little while can do wonders to reduce stress in the workplace. Also, larger organizations may want to consider having a gym with shower facilities for employees to work out over their lunch breaks or before or after work. They can reduce stress and take care of their physical and mental health without needing to leave the office.  

Related article: How Fractional Compliance Roles Can Alleviate Pressure on Your Team 

Hybrid Compliance Services Support Your Staff 

 Contact I.S. Partners today to make a plan that will ease the burden on your security and compliance team, without losing ground on your regulatory goals. 

About The Author

Get started

Get a quote today!

Fill out the form to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with a senior-level compliance expert today!

Analysis of your compliance needs
Timeline, cost, and pricing breakdown
A strategy to keep pace with evolving regulations

Great companies think alike.

Join hundreds of other companies that trust I.S. Partners for their compliance, attestation and security needs.

Scroll to Top