Employee Ethics and Compliance Programs

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Doing the next “right thing” and doing the next “thing right” is made easy for employees thanks to ethics and compliance programs. 

According to a new LRN survey of corporate ethics and compliance managers, companies are trying to get their employees to behave more ethically. Consequently, there has been a 20% increase in employers considering ethical behavior as part of employee performance reviews and bonuses.

Ethics and compliance survey participants rated the following statements on a five-point scale ranging from “almost always true” to “rarely true”:

  • We tolerate high performers that violate our code of conduct or values.
  • The managers within my company sometimes act as if they are above the rules.
  • Leaders consistently make values-based objectives that our employees trust.
  • Employees within the company feel pressured to achieve immediate objectives; even it is means acting in a way that would be inconsistent with our values.
  • Employees worry about how their managers will react, so they hesitate to speak out during team meetings.
  • When decisions conflict with our values, employees ask questions.
  • Even if it’s not in their best interest, employees will always do the right thing.
  • Employees are comfortable with skipping leadership levels above their direct boss to raise ethical concerns.

The program effectiveness index

After this, LRN then grouped the programs into quintiles so that they could compare the impact of E&C programs across additional survey questions.

The organizations that made it into the top two quintiles were labeled as having a high organizational impact, while the bottom two quintiles were a low organizational impact.

5 key similarities in high impact ethics and compliance programs.

  1. Employees use a moral compass and don’t need a manual as a guide.
  2. Ethics are embedded in all business operations.
  3. Every staff member and stakeholder takes part in ethical compliance, not just certain staff.
  4. Accountability starts with senior leaders.
  5. A proactive and comprehensive approach is taken to managing risks.

Creating a new compliance and ethics program can be challenging. Below are five tips for getting your compliance and ethics program started.

  • Proactively Manage Compliance and Ethics

Be proactive in establishing controls and processes, defining accountability, and centrally managing compliance requirements so that they are easily accessible by all departments.

  • Adopt and Communicate an Ethical Profile

Ethics begins at the top. Create policies and procedures that define the culture and expected behavior of everyone working within the organization.

  • Train Employees on Ethics and Compliance Policies

Employee training is always a smart move. They need to understand the organization’s ethical boundaries and culture.

  • Integrate Hotlines with the Corporate Compliance Program

Some organizations implement hotlines for employees to anonymously report bribery, fraud, ethical violations, discrimination, and other misconduct.

Use a Risk-based Approach

A risk-based approach involves identifying high-risk areas within the organization, and then managing and monitoring them.


Ethics and compliance training is a continuous process that requires businesses to keep vigilant. With ethics and compliance training programs being integrating into more-and-more companies, it’s making “doing the right thing” easier for employees.

For more helpful tips form our DLC blog, click here.