We can’t check out the news, turn on the TV or listen to the radio without hearing about another integrity, ethics and compliance situation. The first month and a half of 2015 has already brought us deflate-gate, Brian Williams and now the Jackie Robinson Little League fiasco.

These incidents have one thing in common – a person who chose to ‘break the rules’ for the betterment of someone or something. A team pushed the limits, an employee thought it better to embellish than tell the truth, and a coach “stretched” the geographical boundaries for recruiting. These are only the incidents that come to mind quickly. I am sure we could all think of other examples of unethical behavior.

For corporations, ethics and integrity violations have serious consequences, not the least of which are fines and public scrutiny. It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure that there is a culture of ethics and compliance in their organization, and that ALL employees are on board with this culture. Creating the culture is a start, but sustaining it is crucial.

Including employees in the process goes a long way to making this happen – in experience with our clients we have seen that employees are more likely to act in an ethical way if they feel they are part of the process. By having employees evaluate the firm’s performance on Ethics and Compliance and share what they know (and don’t know) an organization is more likely to sustain that culture of Ethics and Compliance.

A stand-alone employee survey dedicated to Ethics and Compliance – rather than just a few questions on a Corporate Culture survey – should be used for this purpose. This sets the tone, stresses the importance of compliance and allows for much deeper and richer information gathering.

Our clients have been able to use our survey analysis to address potential issues – before they become real problems. For one client, our survey results suggested a specific region where additional training was needed on a specific topic. The client provided the training and in the follow up survey we saw a significant improvement in understanding of that topic – and more importantly the client saw a decrease in violations.

While utilizing the results of a stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance survey can’t eliminate all potential ethics and integrity issues, it can help to keep your company out of the news.

Interested to learn more? Please reach out to Sindey Dranoff of The Melior Group by phone 215-545-0054 (x-108) or by email sdranoff@meliorgroup.com.

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