Companies have embraced their organizational values during the past two disruptive years.
Recent world events have had a profound impact on so many aspects of work and have pushed employers and workers alike to adjust and adapt. Interestingly, four out of five companies agree that one area they have strengthened is their ethical culture, according to the 2022 Ethics & Compliance Program Effective Report from ethics and compliance (E&C) program solutions provider LRN. Researchers surveyed about 1,200 ethics, compliance, and legal executives and professionals from global companies with 1,000 or more employees.
"The pandemic, in particular, has challenged organizations to respond, adapt, and pivot to meet unprecedented challenges to their operations, the health and safety of their employees, and financial viability in a manner consistent with their values and culture," the report states. Results show that three-quarters of organizations emphasized their values, as opposed to rules, to motivate employees.
Respondents also didn't let the disruption to remote work stall E&C training. Ninety percent of companies with high-impact E&C programs said that they made significant adjustments to those programs to meet remote workers' needs. Two-thirds improved their training platform to make E&C programs available remotely, and more than 70 percent integrated their E&C program into a mobile app and simplified policies and procedures and made them searchable. Topics that organizations plan to incorporate or strengthen include post-COVID-19 return guidance, IT security for remote workers, data protection, and antiracism.
Additionally, leaders took action in the face of business disruption. Nearly all respondents said leaders communicated candidly about the business challenges. The majority also said those leaders integrated E&C considerations into their decisions, further engaged staff to tackle remote work challenges, and balanced business goals with employees' well-being.
"Measuring and assessing an organization's ethical culture has also emerged as an important metric in understanding whether an organization's E&C program works in practice," the report notes. Seventy percent of respondents said their organizations periodically assess their ethical culture. The majority use general employee engagement surveys with some E&C questions or broad surveys centered on trust, values, transparency, and ethical conduct. Overall, 83 percent said they have the E&C resources, reach, and authority to identify and mitigate risks.
Researchers point out that "Gaining insight into the emerging landscape of the new normal can help ethics and compliance professionals plan for the future and ensure that their programs stay current and effective in mitigating risks."