As you may know, we have recently launched our new Agile Code of ConductTM. It’s a Web-based Code of Conduct that uses the Web to give employees the information and guidance they need. It kind of moves your Code from a static document that says “Do no harm” – to one that employees might actually think of as a place to go to look for answers and resources.
The big thing for Agile Code is that it lets employees take in information in the way they choose. Do I want a deep dive? Did I spot this related issue? Are there tools like interactive decision trees that can actually walk me through this problem? How do I solve this problem?
Agile Code is the latest in a series of compliance developments that really turns the usual information paradigm upside down. Traditionally, a small number of people – lawyers, leaders or compliance professionals – have specialized knowledge. They have the answers. Regular folks outside the circle have to go to the specialists to get the answers.
If you think about it, this paradigm is a natural part of our life outside of work. For example, I go to doctors to find out what the pain in my leg means. I go to lawyers to find out what special words have to be used in a will. I go to a person with specialized knowledge. I get the answer. This model works – but it’s hard to scale. Experts can only see so many people in a day – and I only go when things are bad enough or important enough to justify the time and expense of seeing one of them.
A resource like Agile Code turns this all upside down. It democratizes a part of the process – because it gives employees direct access to critical information and resources. Employees can take the deep dive when they need a deeper understanding in an area. And the Web format means it is easy and seamless to connect employees with other tools and resources they may need.
I’m not saying that something like our Agile Code does away with the need for experts and one on one guidance. It doesn’t. An automated tool will never replace the guidance of experts and leaders. But something like Agile Code does begin to push more guidance to more people without the bottleneck of seeking out “experts” – and that has three important consequences.
First, it makes information scalable. Employees need information but you simply can’t hire enough experts to coach each and every employee. A resource like Agile Code makes more information, deeper information and better information available to employees directly – empowering them to make better decisions and to know when to seek guidance.
Second, it means that employees may actually begin to see the Code as a central hub – the place they go to for guidance, direction and understanding. It becomes a place employees turn to because they see the value of what it contains. The Code stops being just a document that we absent-mindedly certify to once a year.
Third, it transforms the roles of experts. While they will continue to be invaluable “one on one” advisors – tools like Agile Code give them a way to share their special knowledge with a much larger audience and to guide and advance the entire organization.
And all of that really is a big deal.
This post was contributed by Scott Schneider, Vice President of Major Accounts at The Network, a NAVEX Global company.