The state of ethics in the executive world Many executives and compliance professionals believe that ethical companies are more profitable. This seems to be the result of a survey conducted by the Ethicphere Institute. Last month, March 9 and 10, over four hundred executives from companies from around the globe, attended Ethisphere's Global Ethics Summit in New York city. Having all these people together in the same room lead to an opportunity to pick their brains about their thoughts on corporate integrity. One hundred and twenty executives were surveyed during the event, answering questions on what they determine the impact of corporate ethics and behaviour is on profits and growth. Some interesting questions and results based on 120 responses:
The conversation on the need for ethics reporting continues We recently jumped on the conversation arguing if employees can really speak-up with ethics reporting hotlines. In an article, the theory was was that if companies employ an ethics hotline, it's because under normal circumstances employees can't speak up and the use of the hotline is how the employer can get information they want / need. And again the conversation continued (here) talking about how "having an anonymous reporting system communicates to potentially abusive bosses that their employees do have a way to get help." This supports the argument that a company may not have a safe speak-up culture so a hotline is the place to do it. The bottom line is, whether it is directly to HR, or via an anonymous system, it's important to allow employees to speak-up about issues that could become potential disasters if left unchecked.
Let's not be shy about reporting ethical issues and doing something about them In a recent Compliance & Ethics Blog post, called So You’ve Received an Anonymous Complaint, Why You Shouldn’t Just Ignore it, the author talks about how many compliance officers may be faced with anonymous complaints, so maybe they should just ignore them. After all, they're anonymous - who's going to know if they're followed up on or not? There's the argument that companies who don't allow the submission of anonymous complaints will reduce the number of frivolous or bogus complaints. Then there's others who say that allowing anonymous complaints to be filed provides employees with an avenue to report misconduct without fear of retaliation. Both valid points.
Should you consider an internal, or external ethics reporting system? If you are considering implementing a whistleblower hotline, there's much to take into account regarding features and benefits of an outsourced program compared to an internal system. Things to think about are budget, resources, and implementation plan, training and report review, response and analytics. What policies and codes need to be developed to support the system? What types of reporting do you need? How do you measure success? And of course, how important is an anti-retaliation policy?
There's a code of silence that our healthcare workers live by A "Code White" means a healthcare worker is being assaulted. Usually by a patient. And nurses refuse to blow the whistle. Unfortunately it's happening everyday in hospitals across Canada. With assaults in the thousands, nursing is one of the country's most dangerous professions - that is if the nurse chooses to continue working. Many quit their jobs, while others leave the healthcare profession altogether as a result of violent events. It's not a stretch to say that Canada is losing its nurses. In fact, nursing has the fifth highest number of reported violent incidents of any profession with more violent events in 2014 than reported by corrections officers. Across Canada, between 2008 and 2013, there were more than 4000 assaults on nurses, serious enough to prevent them from going to work - more than police officers, and firefighters. Unfortunately, these 4000 reported assaults don't even come close to the real number of attacks that are occurring in hospitals across the country.
"An ethics reporting system... what a great idea!" On Wednesday, October 28, we set up our booth space at the Vancouver Board of Trade Show. Once attendees started to arrive, we got into some great conversations around ethics reporting. A few people came by, asking who we were. We excitedly explained what we do: provide 24/7/365 anonymous employee ethics reporting and case management solutions, where employees can come forward and voice their concerns confidentially. And management can investigate these concerns while communicating anonymously back and forth with the reporter, digging deeper into the issue, while ensuring the employee feels safe. A number of people said, "wow what a great idea, I've never really heard of that!" Not too surprising for the smaller businesses. An anonymous ethics reporting system isn't necessarily on the minds of the smaller business operators. Their energies tend to be focused elsewhere, mainly on day-to-day operations.