2010 Global Ethics Summit: Compliance Enforcement

Successful enforcement of a compliance program is a team effort.

Posted by Joe Gerard in Code of Conduct, Ethics, Ethics & Compliance, Human Resources on February 25th, 2010

The big topic this week has been the 2010 Global Ethics Summit. On Tuesday, Doug Lankler, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, at Pfizer spoke at the Global Ethics Summit. Lankler was quoted, stating “you can have a problem, and still have a good compliance program. The two are not mutually exclusive.” Having a compliance program in place will not stop incidents from occurring. What it will do, if implemented properly, is save your company a lot of time and money.

Corporate Culture and Communication

Successful enforcement of a compliance program is a team effort. At the Global Ethics Summit, Lankler also said, “I believe culture is the most important aspect of a compliance program…and communication its primary driver.” It’s easier for your employees to adhere to a compliance program if they understand:

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  • Why the program is in place.
  • Why the program is important for success and safety.
  • How the program will help them in their own job.
  • What the consequences are for not abiding by the compliance program.

Communication and training are the only ways that employees will get the answers to these questions. As they say, the key to any successful relationship is communication. Communication is the largest component in training. Training helps employees learn the skills they need and better retain information to apply to on the job tasks. Putting your compliance program into action is the difference between having a compliance program and really having a compliance program.

Recognizing Your Efforts

Compliance programs establish reporting structures- we discuss the importance of reporting structures in our article “7 Common Workplace Investigation Mistakes”, and are necessary if you want to prove that your business is taking appropriate measures to protect employees in the workplace, should the case end up in court. Developments are being made to help companies that have established compliance programs within the workplace, but still find themselves caught in tricky situations due to the select few that choose not to abide by compliance practices. In this article from the Wall Street Journal, a proposal has been made by the US Sentencing Commission, outlining the following:

“Corporations facing criminal prosecution could face reduced penalties if they meet standards for tackling white-collar crime at their companies, under changes proposed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Under the proposal, corporations could receive credit during sentencing if they have corporate compliance programs designed to combat white-collar crime. To qualify, a company’s compliance officer must have direct access to the board of directors and be responsible for detecting criminal activity. The company must quickly report the misconduct to authorities.”

The results of this proposal are not expected until the spring, but I will keep you up to date on any developments.

Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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