How Ethics & Compliance Professionals Measure Efficacy

Global insights about the most important Key Performance Indicators a company can measure

What Are the Most Essential KPIs in an Evolving Ethical Landscape?

Throughout the past 18 months, we’ve witnessed a transformation in the ethics and compliance industry. Not too long ago, everyone was primarily concerned with checking boxes to meet regulatory requirements, not how to measure ethics. The biggest fears we faced involved courtrooms and unwelcome visits from government officials.

But, as we’ve discussed, everything changed in 2017 when the ‘Speak Up’ culture gained momentum. We only have to turn to this iconic Time Magazine issue that named The Silence Breakers as the Persons of the Year. For the first time on a massive scale, people and companies who had acted unethically were being called out in social media and on the news.

Now, we’re held responsible in courts of law and in the court of public opinion. People want to work for and buy things from companies that do good in the world. As a result, acting ethically is a competitive advantage, which means we have to work smarter when it comes to modifying employee behavior to help them move down the right path.

These goals drive everything we do at Convercent, and this spirit of being better and doing better comes up often during the roundtables and other events that we hold in the U.S. and around the world.

If you’ve ever wondered how to measure ethics or how real life compliance professionals just like you measure the effectiveness of their programs, join us for a recap of our most recent solutions forum in London. During the event, 40 leaders joined Convercent to discuss this changing ethics landscape, along with the most important KPIs we should all be measuring.

Which compliance key performance indicators most accurately quantify efficacy and how do we use them to measure ethics?

During the event, each attendee was given a sheet of KPIs. First, they reflected independently on the KPIs they already use to measure effectiveness in their organizations. Then, we broke people off into groups for further discussion. Each group ranked the five KPIs that they felt were most important for measuring the effectiveness of a compliance program, and here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Of all KPIs listed, Employee Voice was consistently ranked most important to the group. It’s clear that cultivating a Speak Up Culture is an important endeavor.
  • Other high-ranking KPIs included: Training Effectiveness, Anonymous Reporting, and Brand Sentiment of Customers.
  • Root Cause Outliers was consistently marked among the top ten, although not all companies are currently measuring this.
  • One KPI was often mentioned as an aspirational metric: Revenue Correlation to Ethics. It’s usage wasn’t common amongst our group, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more companies measuring it in the future.
  • Media Impact was the only KPI which was not marked as currently measured nor considered important by the group.


How to measure ethics

The breadth of KPI measures led to a key discussion on how to turn these metrics into early warning signs in order to better establish a predictive, low cost ethics and compliance program. As we reviewed everyone’s key benchmarks, one question guided the discussion:

How can we move from flat, one dimensional metrics that measure activity to vibrant, multi-faceted insights that measure effectiveness?

The exercise offered a great introduction, but it was the discussion that ensued after the activity that was most valuable. As everyone shared their thoughts, experiences in the field, and struggles around getting context-rich data, we all walked away with insights that could be used to drive action.

How to measure ethics

The state of Ethics and Compliance reporting

There’s no better way to put it: Ethics and Compliance reporting is a mess.

Due to the historical evolution of the discipline, E&C has been underfunded for years. It’s like we’ve been on our own deserted island. In most cases, if we want data it has to be borrowed from another department and extracted from another data silo.

Getting the information is difficult enough — integrating it into existing systems and doing meaningful analysis is even harder.

Overcoming data silos

Time and time again, we listen to stories about how difficult it is to overcome data silos within an organization. There are so many useful metrics out there, but us ethics and compliance professionals often can’t get our hands on it.

The “how to” part of connecting disparate data silos will vary from one company to the next, because every organization uses different tools in different ways. If you’re battling data silos, take some time to learn more about the types of modern technology that can help. This webinar titled Is Your Compliance Technology Good Enough? will show you what’s possible with the right tools.