Five Key Insights from the 2017 Ethics and Compliance Survey

Our ethics and compliance environment is rapidly changing, so sharing insights along the way is vital. That’s why we recently teamed up with The Ethisphere Institute to conduct the 2017 Ethics and Compliance Survey. Senior Ethisphere analysts and Convercent partners surveyed senior-level executives in ethics and compliance worldwide in early 2017.

The results reinforce that an ethical culture is gaining importance in the executive suite and the boardroom. The survey also shows the need for all employees from top to bottom to be aware of it and participate in it—driven by company leadership. While chief ethics and compliance officers (CECOs) face challenges in tying ethics and values to the core of the business due to program gaps and inefficiencies, opportunities to make this important shift are clear. Here are five key insights from the “2017 Ethics and Compliance Survey” report:

  1. Limited program visibility – Many companies are behind the technology curve, wrestling a mountain of compliance data using legacy processes, outdated tools, and disconnected systems. A surprising 88% of respondents continue to use spreadsheets as an ethics and compliance reporting tool, impeding their ability to proactively address ethics and compliance risk.
  2. Data silos and the impact on decision-making – Most organizations manually gather data from multiple departments and different systems for ethics and compliance reporting. And 74% collaborate via email, creating a divide between analysis and decision-making and real-time data.
  3. Open-door reporting gaps – 94% of respondents report capturing ethical incidents via hotline calls, 90% through website forms, and 40% through open-door/proxy reports (which means that 60% aren’t currently tracking open-door reports or reports received by managers). A 2016 Ethisphere survey, “Ethical Culture and Perceptions Assessment,” reveals that 73% of employees in the overall culture data set raise concerns primarily with their manager, their manager’s manager, or HR, creating a huge gap in company-wide ethics and compliance reporting.
  4. Ineffective root-cause analysis – The survey shows that 50% of respondents don’t track root cause effectively, 26% track root cause ineffectively in spreadsheets, and 25% don’t track root cause at all. This presents particular risk where DOJ Guidance 2.17 and global regulatory requirements are concerned.
  5. The elevating role of the CECO – CECOs are spending more time with their CEOs than ever with 47% talking to their CEOs more than once a month and over 75% designing audits, reviewing results, attending HR training events, and adding ethics and compliance questions to employee surveys.

Ethics and compliance leaders are well positioned to move their programs from reactive to proactive, and to play a pivotal role in influencing the ethical culture of the organization. The good news is that overall, the 335 survey respondents—including CECOs, CCOs, general counsels and others—show an increasing understanding of the importance of ethical behavior as a long-term differentiator.

Interested in learning more about the data and insights revealed in the study? You can download the report, “2017 Ethics and Compliance Survey: Align Business Goals with Your Ethics and Values,” here. We also have an upcoming webinar you might be interested in that will show how software can help you address these ethics and compliance challenges.