Manager or Supervisor

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Why compliance matters to me

Compliance is a willingness to follow a prescribed course of action, such as laws and regulations. As a manager or supervisor, you are usually the person everyone turns to with questions about what processes and rules they need to follow. You need to know a little bit about a lot of compliance areas, and you need to know how they apply to the activities under your management.

Compliance specialists and legal advisors can assist you in interpreting laws and understanding what requirements apply to your work area. But ultimately you understand your unit’s activities best, and are best placed to determine whether legal obligations are relevant and being met. You are also best placed to foster a culture of compliance within your unit. The University’s reputation, funding, and ongoing success are dependent on every member of the U-M community taking responsibility for their own activities, and for the compliance of those activities with legal and ethical standards.

To strengthen U-M’s compliance culture and to support you in managing your obligations, the Office of the General Counsel has developed this website, as part of a University wide initiative that takes a big picture view of compliance by U-M.  This Compliance Resource Center is designed to guide you through the various compliance topics relevant to your work.

Read more about the goals of this initiative…

How compliance intersects with managerial functions

Every manager or supervisor has different compliance obligations that impact on their role, depending on the precise nature of the activities under their supervision. The following is a sampling of the issues that most managers and supervisors need to be aware of:

  • There are many compliance requirements associated with employment. See our Employment Issues compliance page for an overview.
  • Safety and environmental issuesEHS can provide training and support for the safety needs of your unit. See our EHS compliance page for an overview, and our People, Safety & Environment pages for other related topics.
  • Work climate is something that is driven by you as a manager within your department – and a positive work climate can prevent a whole range of compliance issues down the track.  See the U-M Retention Toolkit, with guidance for keeping staff and faculty engaged and committed to continuing their careers at U-M
  • If you are hiring or hosting foreign nationals, additional process and documentation may be required to sponsor them and verify their work eligibility, and it is important that you consult with the International Center early for guidance: see the Faculty & Staff page under our International & Immigration section.
  • Financial transactions – as someone who is delegated to engage in financial transactions on behalf of the University and to handle U-M funds, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with all relevant laws, and acting in a fiscally responsible manner. See our Tax and Financial compliance pages for guidance.
  • University records and confidential information – make sure you understand the requirements and procedures around privacy, confidentiality, access to records, and proper records management at U-M. See our Information Management pages for guidance.
  • Conflict of interest and commitment – it is important that you encourage the disclosure and proper management of conflicts within your unit. See our Conflict of Interest pages for details.
  • Learning and Professional Development offers a range of courses in training, leadership and supervision that will help to educate you in many of the compliance areas which may be relevant to your job responsibilities.
  • As a manager or supervisor, it is important that you deal promptly and appropriately with reports of compliance issues – you are the person people come to with concerns, and it is important that they feel you will resolve or escalate issues appropriately. You should always encourage open lines of communication, and never retaliate. In some cases, you have an obligation to escalate concerns reported to you – for instance, you must report sexual harassment complaints to the Office of Institutional Equity, and you must report threats of violence to the Department of Public Safety. For other escalation mechanisms, see our Report a Concern page.

Given the diversity of U-M’s activities, and of the roles that different manager and supervisors perform, no-one expects every manager to understand or know how to solve every compliance issue.  But with improved awareness, you are able to identify potential issues – and seek help to follow up.

How this website can help

As a manager or supervisor, you need to know a little bit about a lot of compliance areas, and you need to know how they apply to the activities under your management. This Compliance Resource Center can help you improve your general awareness about compliance and more quickly connect you with experts and information about compliance – ultimately, empowering you to understand better how and when compliance intersects with your unit’s activities. We suggest you spend a few minutes browsing the compliance topic areas, or the operations and activities library to familiarize yourself with the wealth of resources that are housed on this site.

The Compliance Resource Center can also provide a useful tool for the orientation of newcomers to your department, as well as a quick and constant reference for those with more knowledge and experience in handling compliance at U-M. Promoting this resource within your unit – including by linking to it from your department website and commonly used faculty/staff pages – will help people take ownership of their compliance responsibilities, and reduce the number of questions you receive about compliance. We are also happy to come and talk to your team about this resource, and compliance in general.

Read about the general awareness training sessions we are offering to U-M units…

Download a badge for linking to the Compliance Resource Center on your local website…


Established 3/4/11, last updated 11/14/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated