Expert Analysis: The Year Past and the One Ahead

Start planning the best year yet with this new infographic

Hot off the press, our latest resource for you: Year in Review Infographic

It’s more common than not to start off a New Year with a list of improvements and resolutions. Of course, we start these off with gusto, fervor, and determination. But yet, a few weeks past from the New Year’s Eve ball drop, the confetti piles are swept away and we often find ourselves distracted, giving up or simply losing that determination. 

On the heels a very active year, we stand at the cusp of yet another exciting time ahead. From the many activities that took shape in 2016 such as the BREXIT decision, the election of US President-elect Donald J. Trump, the crises that took headlines at the Wells Fargo Company and Samsung to the data breaches across the globe — the compliance and ethics space is prime for some industry-changing shake-ups.

2017 is going to be the year that foundationally shapes many compliance and ethics programs based on lessons learned from the many companies who mishandled compliance and ethics issues or let their programs fall to the wayside this past year. From those catastrophic and damaging mistakes are lessons you can learn and employ in an effort to keep them from becoming your own mistakes. Looking back, there are many things that stick out and are worth being dubbed “big events”.

This in-depth downloadable infographic is easily-digestible yet highly-comprehensive. It features insight from our in-house compliance and ethics experts as well as data for how our clients plan to prioritize their programs as we move into the New Year.

Some of our predictions for 2017

Year in Review Infographic
Download the full infographic.

A larger emphasis in many of the areas listed above is echoed in our client survey. For example, over 20 percent of respondents stated that Anti-Bribery and Corruption is a main priority. And it’s no surprise this figure is on the higher side with changing global regulations creating a higher demand for expanded focus on international budget, personnel and/or growth. We are finding that many companies are reevaluating their approach to AB&C. When bribery is properly addressed you can identify similar risks through common initiatives – killing two birds with one stone – so to speak.

Due to an increased scope in AB&C, we predict more professionals to start seeking out the Cost of Compliance (COC) and Return on Compliance (ROC). The brand value of compliance and ethics is foundational, and producing those numbers on demand is a continued expectation from the board and your organization’s key stakeholders.

“You want to understand either the risk profile or conduct more in-depth risk assessments, understand the compliance program and how effective it really is. You can do them in very narrow areas like bribery and corruption or data protection or privacy or antitrust. You can do them in specific countries. I travel all over the world and do these in tough places where you have challenging concerns, whether it’s Southeast Asia or Brazil or Russia or China. You could do them in regions of the country. You could do them at the headquarters or enterprise-level. There are multiple ways that you can conduct these risk assessments, but the idea is that you have an ongoing process to be thinking about risk and how it’s impacting your business and then building your compliance program based on those findings,” says Stephen Martin, Partner at Arnold & Porter, a Denver-based firm.  

Creating organizational and employee awareness of compliance and ethics

Over half of the compliance and ethics professionals we surveyed indicated that “All Employee Compliance Training” is a top priority. With more governmental pressure to refine one’s workplace culture, the root cause of an issue – awareness, or lack thereof – is often the first to require corrective action and immediate attention. If a compliance and ethics program continues to build on a sour culture, its survival and impact remains low. Studies show that a culture of integrity drives ethically-backed decisions, and is one of the first places investigators look when misconduct occurs anywhere in the organization.

Employees who are connected to the why behind their roles and to the company’s values can make effective and appropriate judgment calls in their everyday. A compliance and ethics officer can design systems that are simple yet impactful, and put processes in place that make it possible for employees to make those judgment calls, according to Erica Salmon Byrne, EVP of Governance and Compliance at Ethisphere.

Find out what your peers are prioritizing for the New Year and take a look at our 2016 analysis. Download your copy.