Culture > Trend

Since 2008, culture has been the poster child for the compliance industry as the fixer of all problems, and it returns now leading the industry into the new age

Culture is more than an emphasis, it’s the new must.

Companies caught in the heads lights of a semi-truck called scandal are more or less forced to look culture in the eye and promise a new route; a more permanent road. However, why is it that companies like Volkswagen AG and Zenefits find culture by making some serious, and detrimental, mistakes?

Quite honestly, we think it comes down to consistency. With the addition of Matthias Muller at VW and David Sacks at Zenefits, day one was about totally rebuilding the company culture by literally ripping the carpet out from beneath it.

In a recent WSJ article, Andreas Renschler, a board member at VWs truck business said, “We all realize that the crisis gives us a huge opportunity to change the company.” Matthias has made it his personal responsibility to focus his efforts on culture shaving away his focus on product – an area he has appointed outside experts for; a strategic move for an executive.

Culture’s impact determines success (or failure)
Any one of the major issues that have surfaced in the last few years indicate a breakdown somewhere between the formal values of the company they said they stood for and what actually happened inside the organization.

“What they did was set up systems inside their organization where the incentives and the processes were not compatible with the long-term culture of compliance,” said Erica Salmon Byrne, EVP of Governance and Compliance at Ethisphere in a recent interview with Convercent.

>> Watch a 3-minute video of Erica Salmon Byrne on Culture

Culture as a process
“I think you need to make sure as an organization of any size, that you’re thinking about why you are who you are. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you do what you’re doing? What is the purpose that’s driving the decisions that you’re making? Because the why is going to trigger everything else,” said Byrne.

The issuance of the DOJ SEC FCPA resource guide in 2012 has made the processes behind creating a culture inside an organization something that regulators are focusing on – to make sure the culture and the statements around such are intrinsically aligned. Byrne expects to see in the next five or six years a continue growth around the culture focus.

“What is really going to make a culture change is connecting with employees to the why behind the roles so that they are able to then make effective and appropriate judgement calls in their day-to-day work and putting systems in place that make it possible for them to do that,” said Byrne.

Measuring the intangible
As regulators move beyond culture checklists, you should follow. Putting definitive numbers to something that is loosely defined industry-wide is the first hurdle to get over.

Where does culture live? With the employees, the leadership and the actions taken by all in the company. Speak with your employees, conduct interviews, and get their insights on what is going well, what can be improved and what is not working. Don’t focus only on the fact that you’re speaking with them, listen to what they have to say and act on it. Identify trends and patterns; these are useful metrics to measure culture.

For more insight on culture and other ways to improve your case management processes, download the Definitive Guide.