In this episode Eric delves in a little deeper on a common question: who should be involved in a code of conduct project? Of course this depends a lot on what kind of project is being undertaken. Should you revise internally or bring in an outside team? What resources are available to your organization to conduct the project? Often organizations have the expertise, vision and skills to complete a code project internally — but do they have the time? Eric addresses these common issues that come up with many, many organization’s code projects. Eric also discusses the thought process a team might want to go through when making the call right at the beginning when you are first scoping out such a project. Eric also walks through some of the stakeholder expectations you will want to consider when contemplating a code project. Finally, Eric also talks about goals. Like any successful project, a code of conduct project needs clear goals from the beginning.
Interesting doings at the Department of Justice, and other recent issues have brought forward the notion of how valuable (or not) is it for an organization’s compliance officer to be “famous” or have a high profile in (or outside) the organization. Compliance officers want to market and communicate about their programs, of course, but what are the positives and negatives of compliance professionals being the face of compliance at their organizations? Eric relates some situations that he’s observed in the past and how having a raised profile can effect “effective” operation of the program. Eric also relates this all back to the fundamental role and responsibilities for the person or persons responsible for the “day to day” of the program as defined in the Sentencing Guidelines. Ultimately you probably don’t want to “be the story” and compliance officers have to consider what the real goals of the program ought to be.
Recently we’ve seen more activity from the Department of Justice (Fraud Section) and other regulators both in the United States and internationally that address compliance and ethics program standards and effectiveness. One topic that’s come up informally in some conversations is whether the Sentencing Guidelines still hold a central role in defining “effectiveness” for a compliance program. Eric addresses these recent questions head-on. The Sentencing Guidelines have staying power — going back to 1991. And they still underpin most, if not all, of the standards and guidance we see not only from the Department of Justice in the USA, but also internationally. Eric talks also about how the US Sentencing Guidelines’ success hinges on their unique nature and design. While new guidance and standards build and adapt these base standards, the origin and basics remain the same. The Guidelines aren’t going away. Bottom line. Guidance from the USDOJ and other organizations have changed and been abandoned over time and as administrations change in particular. While the guidance from the Fraud Section is new and evolutionary, it is subject to change in a way the Sentencing Guidelines are not.
Since incentives were first introduced in the Sentencing Guidelines there has been little guidance about what exactly make up incentives for compliance. It’s also probably no surprise that one of the most underdeveloped parts of many compliance and ethics programs is the application of incentives. In this episode Eric talks about some practical things organizations can do to consider incentives and talks about different ways that organizations have addressed incentives in the past and what probably has worked and what may not be so effective. Eric provides some advice on ways to approach the incentive issues and discuss the implementation of incentives with the applicable internal audience. Finally, Eric provides some practical advice for organizations on how to proceed in considering incentives past, present and future.
Should you have a web-based code of conduct? A common question that many organizations have when they are updating their code of conduct is should the code be a web-based document? If not, how might an organization use both internal and external-facing web resources? Eric has some ideas about adapting the code, and code content, for the web and how you might leverage these resources for a more useful implementation. Bottom line is that one size does not fit all and it’s important for organizations to really think about their audience and how best to reach them.