5 Hard-Hitting Takeaways From CONVERGE18

Lessons Learned From the Ethics & Compliance Industry’s Top Conference

CONVERGE18 is a wrap!

From October 9-11, ethics and compliance professionals from around the world gathered for three days of hard-hitting insights, solutions-oriented workshops, and a ton of great food. The theme was ‘Ethics in Action,’ and every attendee left with actionable takeaways they can use to improve their compliance programs.

On behalf of the entire Convercent team, thank you for joining us in Colorado!

Picking the top takeaways from CONVERGE18 wasn’t easy. The roster of speakers was fantastic, with experts from Unilever, Philip Morris International, Microsoft, and more. Attendees learned about practical benchmarking tools, how artificial intelligence is changing the game, how to create meaningful interactions with globally dispersed employees, and so much more. With that in mind, here’s our best attempt at distilling three days of knowledge and discussion!

1. There’s nothing more important than organizational justice

Convercent’s CEO, Patrick Quinlan, kicked off the conference with a personal and passionate keynote speech. He touched on the #metoo movement, CEOs taking a public stand about issues they believe in, and perhaps most importantly, the concept of organizational justice.

In the past, powerful people and high performers were protected, so long as results were delivered. We don’t live in that world anymore, and today’s employees are demanding organizational justice. That’s why organizations that use the Convercent platform have a 57% higher reporting rate per 1,000 employees (when compared to business as a whole). There’s a greater level of trust and faith in business who express a commitment to organizational justice, and its all supported by the data.

Patrick challenged attendees to seek out the skeptics in their companies and to find the courage to put themselves into, “the uncomfortable position of making sure you’re always trying to find the hard answers.” He also made a commitment to Convercent’s partners and clients:

I’m going to bring everything I have, and everything this company has, to make sure every company that partners with Convercent is committed to organizational justice, so people never doubt the reality in front of them.

The organizational justice theme continued throughout the conference; Patrick and Chuck D (you might remember him from Public Enemy), even talked about it during their fireside chat. Chuck D emphasized taking the time to listen, learn, and even out the conversation — “That’s justice, and that takes organization.”

2. We need to believe in the impact we’re having

Sharon Gebhard (Global Business Integrity Director, Unilever) — Driving Ethics In Action In A Global Organization

When you hear Sharon talk about Unilever’s compliance initiatives, it’s hard not to feel inspired. Her team has managed to make a huge impact with a relatively small budget. As she puts it, “We actually believe that we’re making a huge impact, and that we’re changing the world for good.”

From their offices in London and Rotterdam, to the plantations of Rwanda, Unilever is creating training and outreach materials that resonate with people on the ground. They tailor communications to the audience based on local culture, connectivity, job title, and more.

So far, 56,000+ employees have pledged to do their training, uphold values, and cascade values throughout the organization. Clearly, ethics and compliance can have a massive, positive impact in a company.

3. Sometimes, keeping it simple is best

Hui Chen (Ethics and Compliance Advocate at HC Ethics) — Measuring Ethics & Compliance: Process vs. Outcome

Do you have a favorite code of conduct? Hui Chen does, and it’s beautifully simple. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point Cadet Honor Code is simply, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Everyone abiding by this code understands what behavior is expected of them. Could you use a similarly straightforward approach in your own company?

4. Data science wasn’t taught in law school, but we still need to learn how to use it

Tom Fox (Principal, Advanced Compliance Solutions) & Michael Volkov (CEO and Founder, The Volkov Law Group) — KPIs That Drive Ethics

Tom and Michael’s session answered the question, “What specific things can we do to measure the effectiveness of a program?”

For starters, consider teaming up with accounts payable employees to break down silos. They can help look for financial anomalies. On the topic of benchmarking, remember that context is everything: You need to benchmark your data against appropriate verticals. They also discussed important metrics like how long it takes your organization to address a complaint, even bringing it back to the core concept of organizational justice — if it takes more than 60 days (unless it’s a very serious sanction), you don’t have organizational justice.

5. Silence is never a good thing

Autumn Sanelli (Global Director Solution Consulting, Convercent) & Alexandre Anselmi (Sodexo) — Convercent Helpline: Harnessing Helpline Technology and Branding to Bring Your Speak-Up Culture to Life

One quote in particular stood out during this session: “Silence within your organization should raise red-flags; there is no longer a no-noise, no-problem methodology that works.”

Simply put, low reporting rates are not a good sign.

That’s why you need a helpline that employees feel empowered to use. Remember that statistic about reporting rates that I shared at the beginning of this blog? There’s a reason 57% more employees speak up when a tool like Covercent’s Helpline is available — it’s an easy and safe way to communicate concerns and feedback. Sodexo realizes that, which is why they rely on Helpline.

Do you want better results from your ethics and compliance program?

CONVERGE18 was full of insightful lessons and actionable takeaways that can be used in your compliance program today. That’s why we created this ebook with 10 more of the top lessons learned: Top 15 Takeaways from CONVERGE18.

These takeaways, lessons, and best practices are perfect for those times you need an extra dose of inspiration or a reminder of how vitally important ethics and compliance is. Grab your copy by clicking the link below, then share the takeaways with your team!

What Did You Learn at CONVERGE18?

If you joined us last week, what was your biggest takeaway from the conference? Don’t forget to share your favorites moments with the community by tagging #CONVERGE18 on Twitter and LinkedIn! Tom Fox also wrote a great blog about his top three lessons from CONVERGE18, and Matt Kelly over at Radical Compliance shared some of the top moments from the conference.

If all of these roundups have you wishing you could have attended, never fear — planning for CONVERGE19 is already underway. Will you be joining us?