In order to answer this question, it’s important to first look at the data on retaliation. In three different reports, two in 2012 and one in 2015, the Ethics and Compliance Initiative examined the percentage of employees that report witnessing misconduct. These reports found that 40% to 50%, or approximately four out of ten employees, witnessed misconduct. The percentage of employees that then report misconduct is around 60%. Of the employees that report, 21% employees, or about one out of five, reported experiencing retaliation after reporting. These reports also found that retaliation spikes with organizational change.
In order to prevent retaliation, we have to understand what it looks like. Fear of retaliation is the number one reason why employees don’t report misconduct. What is and isn’t retaliation can be very nuanced. The key is to look at retaliation from the perception of the person experiencing it. Most of the people who experience retaliation cite being treated differently, such as being intentionally ignored or excluded. Retaliation can also take more pernicious forms, such as losing one’s job and verbal abuse.
In this episode, Eric examines the data on retaliation and discusses how to prevent and address it as well as create an environment in which employees feel comfortable reporting misconduct. He answers:
- To whom do employees most frequently report misconduct?
- What factors of a compliance program and of corporate culture create an environment that encourages reporting misconduct?
When addressing concerns about reporting misconduct and retaliation in your organization, you should focus on an effective compliance and ethics program that includes structural pieces, such as clear communication that addresses employees’ fears of retaliation and strong corporate culture.
Like many compliance professionals, Che’s path to his current position as Executive Director, Compliance at Hill-Rom was a bit circuitous. He started his career as an IT consultant. Che left IT consulting for a job in sales at LION, Inc. From sales, Che became a manager in Ethics and Compliance Audit at a pharmaceuticals company where he helped establish the company’s first ethics and compliance audit function. He rose to a Senior Manager position in R&D Compliance Programs when Che left to join Hill-Rom’s compliance division. Che was hired at Hill-Rom to restructure, develop, and implement a comprehensive risk-based compliance program focused on managing the company’s U.S. and global risk. In his current position, he is responsible for developing, updating and executing the strategic plans, and the associated activities specific to compliance auditing and monitoring, written standards, communications and training. Eric and Che discuss how his background helps him in his current position and Che’s predictions for upcoming trends in compliance and ethics.