Imagine having a picnic by the river, when suddenly, child after child appears in the water needing to be rescued. Your friend leaves you, saying: “I’m going upstream to tackle the guy who’s throwing all these kids in the water.” A similarly proactive approach is needed to protect companies from compliance catastrophes.
For decades now, compliance and ethics professionals, and many corporate executives, have sought to build “values-based” cultures rather than “rules-based” cultures. Such initiatives are grounded in the well-founded belief that, unlike rules that merely dictate what employees can and cannot do, values have the power to inspire, motivate, and engage people to do their best work in accordance with high ethical standards.
While serving as senior safety, health and environmental counsel for a multinational specialty chemical company, a vice president named “Jim” came to my office and spoke the magic words that always get a corporate counsel’s attention: “I think we have a big problem. We need to talk.”
Let’s suppose that you’ve just done an employee survey and discover your firm falls far short of the mark and that a significant fraction of your employee population is dispirited and disengaged. What can you do to change course and point your ship in the right direction?
There is an illness that has afflicted the US healthcare industry that has exacted a staggering toll on healthcare companies, patients, doctors, investors, and taxpayers. It is not a virus. It is a different kind of pathogen that is far more difficult to eradicate: rampant, unbridled fraud.
When contending with the worst economic and public health crisis in a century, the oft-used phrase “just do the right thing” is of no more use to a CEO than the phrase “just go in the right direction” would have been to me on that sweltering August day in the forest 39 years ago.
Thank you again for publishing the ECCP and the 2020 amendments. I ask that you continue to use your clout to induce firms to improve their capacity to manage their legal and ethical risks and reduce the prevalence of corporate corruption.
The 2020 GBES observes that the pressure employees experience to compromise their organization’s ethics standards, policies, or the law is linked to an increased likelihood of observed misconduct. With this in mind, it sets out to answer three important questions.
As employers and corporate executives, we face a choice between two competing business models. We can build our business by following the traditional practice of driving productivity by pushing our employees hard and letting them fend for themselves when they hit “potholes.” Alternatively, we can follow Appletree’s example and create a more compassionate, empathetic workplace.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jerry Grisko, the CEO of CBIZ. The following are excerpts from an interview in which we discussed the root causes of systemic corporate corruption and the measures Grisko and his company take to promote and ensure ethical business practices.