Even if Covid were to disappear tomorrow, it’s clear that things will long remain different, including how we work. Many employees will never spend eight hours a day, five days a week in the office again.
So how should compliance teams address the new work environment and ensure a culture of compliance? That’s the subject of this podcast with Lisa Beth Lentini Walker (LinkedIn), CEO & Founder of Lumen Worldwide Endeavors and a member of the board of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics & Health Care Compliance Association. It’s also the subject of the chapter “Building Cultures of Integrity in Remote and Hybrid Environments” in the latest edition of The Complete Compliance and Ethics Manual.
As Lisa Beth explains, even though we have grown accustomed to new ways of connecting online, it’s still not the same as being in the same physical environment with someone. That’s a challenge, she reports, because there is an element of proximity bias in how we interact, preferring people that are closer to us. This bias will require a conscious effort to avoid creating an “us-them” culture where those who are in the office differentiate themselves from those who aren’t.
Preserving and strengthening a corporate culture will also be a greater challenge since culture, itself, is an accumulation of experience of everyone in the organization. When people are less connected, it takes more work, particularly when it comes to communication, to build clarity around vision and values, the stories people tell about the organization, and the support of leadership.
Compliance teams will need to be alert for signs of trouble, including ethics incidents and disengagement.
To address these problems, she recommends starting with the senior team. Educate them as to what is happening and gain their support for a renewed, resilient culture of integrity. Then, make sure the policies and procedures are designed to help support the culture.
Throughout, it’s important to communicate, not just once but frequently, More, you need to do so in a tailored way that reflects the needs and mindsets of the various groups within your organization and encourages their feedback.
Listen in to learn more about how to build and sustain an effective compliance and ethics program in the new work world.