“Compliance leaders typically focus on driving trust in reporting and emphasizing anti-retaliation policies,” said Audet. “But often highlighting the ways that a speak up culture can benefit individual employees or their teams is overlooked.” and this is the most important factor driving a decision to report.”
Drivers of Misconduct Reporting
Compliance often assumes that employees report misconduct because it is simply the right thing to do, and leaders tend to play to this by emphasizing how misconduct reporting helps the company. Yet around half of employees take a more pragmatic, rather than idealistic, approach to reporting and only pursue it if they see no harm or even some personal benefit to themselves.
“Compliance leaders need to drive the pragmatists to report too,” said Audet. “Instead of assuming all employees will be compelled by the moral value of reporting, companies need to build a value proposition for reporting. That is a shift from what many compliance leaders have emphasized in the past.”
The value proposition - what will drive an employee's personal responsibility to report - has three core components to it: trust, safety and benefit. Trust and safety in reporting are areas that are routinely addressed by compliance already through such things as anti-retaliation policies. But very rarely do compliance teams create or emphasize a personal benefit for the individual reporting or their teams.
The current situation is that employees have very poor perceptions of reporting being beneficial for them. Only a third believe reporting will lead to a better work environment or improve their team’s morale or performance. Just over one in five employees think reporting will be good for their career.
“Addressing the benefit of reporting is a big untapped opportunity for compliance leaders,” said Audet “It is the biggest single factor driving a sense of personal responsibility to report, yet employee perceptions in this area are typically negative. It is rarely a prominent component of speak up messaging from compliance teams.”
This content is adapted from a Gartner executive retreat for chief compliance officers held in May 2022. Gartner clients can register for future events on the same topic, and can find details of all executive retreats available to them here.
Gartner clients can also read more in: Encouraging Reporting in a Hybrid World: Building a Reporting Value Proposition. Non clients can watch the webinar: Build an Action Plan to Respond to the Latest Misconduct Trends.
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