A Culture of Compliance

Chris McClean

For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, Ethisphere is generally a great source for interesting news about corporate ethics violations, insider trading, bribery, fraud, and other embarrassing news stories. This recent article has a much more pleasant ending than most, with a former general manager of a waste collection company earning nearly $47 million for obeying the law. After repeatedly refusing to fire three of his employees over the age of 60 despite ongoing pressure from his superiors, he was wrongfully terminated, according to the jury. Partly responsible for the large settlement were actions taken by his employers after he was terminated, including tampering with memos related to his performance review. The good-guy-comes-out-on-top stories are always nice to see. But while it may work for the IRS (which reminds me, I have this colleague...) and the occasional waste collection company, most organizations can’t rely on the promise of riches to entice staff to behave appropriately and report wrongdoing. This quarter I will be writing a report on how compliance professionals work to create a culture of compliance and responsibility in their organizations. I have seen very interesting videos, training programs, and other awareness campaigns to drive the message home, and there are certainly examples of reward and punishment, but I’d like to hear from you as well... any good examples of how your company distributes or enforces policies, or maybe stories of a colleague who was singled out and embarrassed for not following the rules?