9 Key Takeaways from CONVERGE20

With CONVERGE20 behind us, we’ve had a chance to catch our breath, go over our notes from the event, and reflect on three days of powerful keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking. It was incredible to kick off The Ethics Movement with ethics and compliance pros from literally around the globe.

CONVERGE20 Global Attendees
Ethics and Compliance pros tuned into CONVERGE20 from all around the world

Now that a week has passed, we wanted to share the biggest takeaways from CONVERGE20:

The world in which we operate is changing—and we have to change too

We’ve all experienced massive changes in our daily lives this year, and our keynote speakers on Day 1 and Day 2 drove home the fact that if we want compliance to not just stay relevant, but change our organizations for the better, we have to shift the way we operate. Convercent CECO Asha Palmer laid out a set of key ethical imperatives that form a roadmap for change:

  • Leadership
  • Decision-making
  • Culture and Trust
  • Data and Digitalization
  • Transparency
  • Accountability

Accountability is the highest form of leadership

Sam Silverstein first drove home the power of accountability in his keynote, and then again during his two accountability workshops (which you can watch on-demand here). Accountability can’t be mandated—it has to start with leadership. If leaders aren’t accountable to their workforce, then the entire organization lacks accountability. He also asked workshop participants, “Do you have a culture by design, or by default?” A culture by design is driven by values, which are shared and demonstrated by leadership and celebrated often.

Gen Z isn’t the future; it’s our present

On Day 1, we premiered the short film #MakeItHappen by former Unilever Chief Business Integrity Officer Anny Tubbs. This powerful film showed how easily the public—especially Gen Z—can lose trust in organizations, and during the screening, the chat was filled with comments about the important role Gen Z will play in our organizations moving forward. This was even more apparent during Alyson Van Hooser’s session, Employee Engagement: Are You Prepared for a Gen Z Workforce? She outlined the mindsets and motivations that drive younger members of our organizations, and how to lead them most effectively.

Compliance has a central role to play in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

During our session Accountability Beyond Diversity and Inclusion, panelist Jonathan Chibafa pointed out that Ethics and Compliance teams have an important role to play after many corporate executives made powerful statements on equality in the summer of 2020. “Using, where appropriate, data and technology to measure important aspects of this topic, such as recruitment, retention, progression of people who are protected under those characteristics—I think there’s a real opportunity for Ethics and Compliance people to work with legal and other colleagues to hold accountable some of these commitments that have been made by senior executives.”

Remote investigations are here to stay

We polled the audience during our session on Remote Investigations and found that 60% of you plan to continue the practices of remote investigations even after current restrictions on travel end. Plus, nearly 70% of the audience said they would travel for future investigations only in a limited capacity. This is one area of business that the pandemic has shifted permanently.

Behavioral science is the key to better compliance outcomes

Behavioral science came up again and again in a variety of sessions, from How Behavioral Science Powers Empathetic Workplace Policies to Bad Apple or Toxic Barrel? Building a Culture That Preempts Bad Behavior and Behavioral Science: Why People Don’t Intervene. It’s clear that in order to evolve compliance programs, we need to take human behavior into account at the heart of our policies.

Integrity is the future

Does it feel like our profession has just gotten used to the “ethics and compliance” label? Well, the wave of the future is already here—and it’s all about integrity. We heard from two Chief Integrity Officers, Don Sinko and Adelle Elia, as well as Rob Chesnut, author of Intentional Integrity, in our session Integrity vs Compliance: The Future of our Profession. In another session, the British American Tobacco compliance team shared the results of their Integrity Pledge initiative, which drove global buy-in for their corporate values.

We’re stronger together

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of CONVERGE20 was the engagement from the audience. The activity in the chats surprised even our event planning team! Being able to hear from all of you throughout the event, whether you were sharing your experiences and insights alongside our speakers or re-connecting with old colleagues and friends, was an unexpected delight. And like Convercent CEO Patrick Quinland said on Day 2, the Ethics Movement needs the wholehearted participation of every member of the ethics and compliance community if it’s going to succeed in driving ethics to the center of business for a better world.

Join the CONVERGE community today

Fortunately, the end of the event does not spell the end of the CONVERGE community. If you haven’t signed up yet, do so now and get year-round access to your fellow leaders in ethics and compliance. They’re sharing expertise, insight, and inspiration in the discussion forums and we publish content on best practices and more in the Center of Excellence.