How important is a communication strategy to your compliance program? Getting the message out to your employees, third parties, and stakeholders will make your program stick and, over time, create a culture of compliance and ethics within your organization. Communication is an integral part of your program, but don’t take my word for it; here’s an excerpt from the 22nd Annual Ethics and Compliance Conference (you can read the full transcript here):
Compliance programs must be put into place and—more importantly—communicated repeatedly and enforced properly throughout the entire organization.
A company should implement mechanisms designed to ensure that its compliance code is effectively communicated to all directors, officers, employees. This means repeated communication, frequent and effective training, and an ability to provide guidance when issues arise.
-Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell at the 22nd Annual Ethics and Compliance Conference, October 1, 2014
We are closing in on one year since these notes, and we are seeing a major rise in the trend of compliance communication planning. This is not a new idea in this industry – back in 2010, Corporate Compliance Insights’ blog featured 13 Characteristics of a Great CCO, with “gifted translator” of compliance messaging coming in at number 7. A few years later, Ethic-Intelligence included “communicator” in their top six traits of What Makes a Good Compliance Officer. And now, from a mere 2 weeks ago, Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical (WME) Insights whitepaper features an incredible statistic about their 2015 Honorees. In the years between 2013 and 2015, there was a significant jump in WME Honorees developing a compliance communication strategy: from 72% to a whopping 94%. Of the 2015 WME Honorees, 94% of them, “develop a communications plan to organize and articulate their compliance and ethics messages across the enterprise.” This powerful information only further points to the rising importance of creating an actionable communication strategy to complement an existing compliance program.