Own Your Company’s Ethical Health and Earn The Trust Of Your Board Series #3

In the last two posts (Blog #1, Blog #2), we have touched on the changing nature of ethics and compliance and the need to upgrade our integrity programs. In this last post in the series we will explore how to elevate the board conversation to focus on the value as one avenue for securing the funding you need to deliver a visionary integrity program.

Changing the dialog

When your CFO presents to the board do they have spreadsheets, charts and graphs showing the financial performance of the business? When the Head of Marketing presents to the board do they have charts and graphs of marketing activity, pipeline creation and lead generation? When the head of sales presents to the board do they have spreadsheets of data showing prospects conversion rates, sales quota attainment and trends?

The answer to all the above is a resounding Yes!

Now let’s ask a slightly different question: do each of these individuals feel comfortable, or have a team that is skilled in, working with data, analyzing the tables, charts and graphs, manipulating spreadsheets?

Again, the answer is a resounding Yes!

Now let’s turn the lens on ourselves in the compliance industry. How many CECOs are comfortable manipulating data, pivot tables, charts and graphs in spreadsheets? How many have a team of analysts or data scientists at hand analyzing and merging data? Sadly, very few. As one CCO said to me recently, “The reason I went into law was because I hated math”. But in this age of analytics, it is essential that we speak the language of the board, and that language is data, metrics, analysis and insights.

But we have been hampered with underfunding, few resources, and poor technology. This has to change. Convercent is committed to enabling this change. Our mission is to bring ethics to the center of business. To do this you need great technology, a great team, and the adoption of leading practices. To get these you need funding, which requires a conversation of a different caliber with your board.

A different caliber conversation

There are several areas where ethics and compliance professionals can elevate their dialog with the board:

  • Too many compliance officers walk into the boardroom and report on what has happened. They spend their days looking in the rearview mirror. Progressive programs look through the windscreen.
  • Too many programs focus on reporting activity. Progressive programs report on effectiveness.
  • Too many programs report raw metrics. Progressive programs provide context, for example they report on trends as compared to peers.
  • Too many programs use the helpline as the only barometer of culture. Progressive programs use multiple data sources to create a multi-dimensional heat map of the health of the organization.
  • Too many programs use Excel to build limited charts. Progressive programs use advanced tools and visualizations. The most visionary employ Data Scientists to analyze the vast amounts of data available today.

At Convercent, our data science program, works to uncover key insights for our customers. Real-time benchmarking, that tantalizing and elusive goal, is now a reality with our most recent addition to our technology platform.

We can now show how key indicators that measure the health of your ethics and compliance programs can be used to communicate the value of your contribution:

  • The percentage of helpline reports that are reported by open-door rather than through the webline, helpline, or text is a great indication of the level of trust your employees feel with their management, HR and ethics & compliance.
  • The percentage of helpline reports where the reporter fully discloses who they are is another great indication of trust.
  • The percentage of managers and supervisors that are late completing their ethics and compliance training, gives insight into how engaged they are and in turn what that, all important, tone in the middle might be.

All three of these are interesting in their own right, but overlaid with benchmark data you start to gain some great insights. Overlay it with benchmark percentiles over time and you have an incredible story to tell:

  • Are your metrics showing you are in the bottom 20% as compared to your peers? You need investment to raise this up.
  • Are your metrics showing that over the last 6 months you have raised your organization from the 75th percentile to the 25th percentile? You are making a real measurable difference and can now show how the time and money you spend is contributing to the organization.
  • Are your metrics showing that you are in the top 10% of companies as measured by employee trust? Share that with your board, and explain the programs you are executing to maintain this differentiator.

Ethisphere has shown here that highly ethical companies outperform the US Large Cap Index. Over the last 5 years the difference is 10.72%, and over the last 3 years it’s 4.88%.

Now you can offer your board a 10% increase in shareholder value over a 5-year period for an investment that is a small fraction of that amount.

If you would like to continue this conversation in person, please join us at a Converge Local event near you that will be focused on exploring these topics:

Tuesday, April 10 – Silicon Valley (4:00-8:00pm)

Tuesday, April 17 – New York (4:00-8:00pm)

Wednesday, April 18 – Chicago (12:00- 4:00pm)