Following Rules Versus Being Truly Ethical
We recently attended “Building a Resource-Efficient Ethics and Compliance Program” hosted by KPMG, Convercent, and Winston & Strawn LLP. in Dallas, Texas. Over the course of the day, there were many topics discussed such as using data to measure the success of your ethics and compliance program, how to leverage technology and data to drive ethics to the center of your business, and explored the DOJ document on “Evolution of Corporate Compliance Programs.” However, the main theme throughout the day was the idea that “compliance without ethics is just following orders” from Hui Chen.
Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity, so how does a company ensure all interactions internally and externally are ethical? If this is a question you frequently ask yourself, you are not alone.
The attendees at the event had the same concerns.
“There is no magic pill,” explained Kurt Drake, the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Kimberly Clark. To create ethical values for a company, one must understand the company culture. You will have companies who base their actions from their values, which is enticing to younger generations who prefer these companies attracted to value-oriented goals. There are also companies that are completely black and white or very traditional with their ethics and compliance programs. Unfortunately, you cannot control that. What you can control is to understand where the company currently stands and weave your program into that.
For instance, leveraging technology and data in ethics and compliance can help you visualize multiple data points. Otherwise, you may not be able to pinpoint correlations between problems. In our latest interview with the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Kimberly-Clark, he discussed how having technology sit over your intel and data can help understand certain behaviors in your organization.
If you have ethics you will get compliance, but if you have compliance you may not always get ethics
Everything within a company starts from the top down, from executives to the rest of the staff. It is crucial that key stakeholders are consistent with the company values, and values are always more important than compliance. Steve Scarpino, the Director of Ethics & Compliance and Liaison to the Independent at BP explains, “If you have ethics you will get compliance, but if you have compliance you may not always get ethics.”
In order to build a holistic ethics and compliance policy, you must first examine your company, the executives, and, most importantly, the values that permeate everyday life. This will become the basis of ethics and not just follow the basic procedures and regulations.
There is no magic formula to create an ethical company. However, we can create an ethical culture within our company by driving values to the core of everything, both internal and external. This effect will trickle down to positively affect your employees, moral, relationship with clients, and how you are viewed externally as a company. Key stakeholders must align with the values you identify or the they will be lost. Strong values can create a strong company culture, and a strong ethical culture determines the destiny of your employees and clients.
For information on our CONVERGE18 Event coming up in October, check it out here!