Krista Wolff on Memes, Printers and Compliance [Podcast]


Adam Turteltaub PhotoPost by Adam Turteltaub

San Diego-based Qualcomm was having a tough 2018. The company was going through a whole host of highly destabilizing activity including an attempted hostile takeover. Needless to say, it was a challenging time for the company and the corporate culture.

The compliance team very much wanted to be a part of the solution, Krista Wolff, Senior Manager, Corporate Compliance Communications tells us.  Their goal was to amplify the positive and strengthen the organization’s culture, despite all the challenges it faced.

To help, in the Spring of that year they launched the Lead the Way employee ethics recognition program. In the Fall they launched the newly revised code of conduct and their first Compliance and Ethics Awareness Week.

Through the years since they have rolled out a number of activities to involve employees and communicate important messages. One of their more fun ideas was a “spot the issues” exercise. They staged desks, photographed them, and asked employees to spot items on the desk that could be indicative of something problematic. When the pandemic struck and people began working from home, they continued this program although now featuring desks in a home setting.

One of the more interesting efforts they did was focused on protecting confidential corporate information. As a technology company IP is very important to Qualcomm and the compliance team wanted to stress to people the importance of protecting data.

They worked with the IT department to identify printers around the globe at Qualcomm offices. They then sent to the printers in these in these offices a document marked confidential company information with a message about the importance of protecting IP and asking the employee who found it to email compliance letting them know where they found that document and when. It was a great way to demonstrate that people sometimes send things to printers that they shouldn’t and leave them there far too long.

This activity had an interesting response rate that illuminated cultural differences. They found that people in Asia rarely emailed in. From Europe, by contrast, the response rates were very high, and in the US employees tended to leave the document on the printer for others to find as well.

To make other parts of the program relevant globally they worked with their ethics liaisons and in-country compliance teams around the world to plan local events. The response has been very positive, and the level of innovation has been equally high.

Listen in to learn more about how Qualcomm’s Compliance and Ethics Awareness Week both helped to meet their compliance goals and strengthen the overall corporate culture.