Over the past couple of months we’ve been asking survey questions of visitors to our website. In November, we asked, “What Ethics and Compliance Issues Do You Plan to Address in 2012?” Maybe it’s the time of the year, maybe it’s what ethics & compliance officers ponder on a daily basis, or maybe it’s because of all those seedy headlines we keep seeing, but the response to our survey was overwhelming. The numbers have been tallied, and while informal, the results have us nodding our heads in agreement.
It was a fairly even split between the Big Four – anti-bribery, data privacy & security, fraud and reporting of internal misconduct – as the issues that most CECOs want to tackle next year. More than three out of four respondents checked one of these areas as their primary concern. Of these, fraud was number one, but only slightly.
Of course, these concerns have some overlap, and of course every one of these is truly a corporate-level concern. In fighting unethical behaviors, business leaders will no doubt turn to tools such as training, policy management systems, top-down communications and more robust internal systems to meet their needs, and we’ve seen the most positive results coming from an integrated, holistic approach to ethics & compliance programs.
Two other quick notes about survey results: first, “sexual harassment” and “social media” (that is, unethical social media behavior that impacts the organization) were the next items on the list of important issues. The same tools apply here, too, of course.
The other item of note is that while most respondents were from the US, it’s apparent that ethics and compliance is global: the survey was taken by folks in Great Britain and other EU countries as well as the Middle East, South America, and Africa.