By: Aarti Maharaj
There are multiple layers of complexities that can make compliance seem like a herculean task. Whether it’s document retention, third-party risk management, training and development or promoting integrity, compliance can be a challenge—especially in an evolving regulatory landscape. But the key to driving compliance, according to a recent roundtable discussion, is through the process of “simplification”. This was one of the hotly debated topics at Ethisphere’s recent Executive Compliance Roundtable, hosted by Al Rosa, Chief Compliance Director and Senior Executive Counsel, General Electric(GE) at the company’s headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut. Other companies that participated in the event included: The Boeing Company, C.R. Bard, Dell, Eli Lilly & Company, Johnson Controls, MWH Global, MasterCard, MassMutual, Realogy, Sony Corporation of America and United Technologies Corporation.
“The Executive Compliance Roundtable was an exceptional way to build relationships and interact with compliance leaders across industries to share practices that we can leverage in our respective companies,” said Diana Sands, Senior Vice President, Office of Internal Governance, The Boeing Company. “As we operate in increasingly competitive markets while regulatory requirements escalate, it is valuable to collaborate with thought leaders in this field on ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency in our ethics and compliance programs.”
The event featured sessions led by top compliance and governance practitioners from The Boeing Company, Johnson Controls and General Electric. Participants also had the opportunity to hear from Alex Dimitrief, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, GE, about keeping compliance simple yet effective. Other roundtable discussions included: getting personal and proactive involvement from Executive Management and the Board; balancing communication and values with a shifting workforce demographic; and the intersection of compliance and comptrollership.
“Ethisphere’s Executive Compliance Roundtable offered a unique opportunity to benchmark with respected colleagues on topics that are critical to effective compliance programs,” said Rosa. “This includes training, communications, data analytics, delivering the “message in the middle”, risk topics and much more.”
From the experts: Promoting integrity through simplification
The participants believed that while the process of simplification can help bring employees up to speed, it can also add benefit to a company’s corporate culture. “In an increasingly complex and changing business environment, compliance professionals must continually seek to simplify our programs,” said Brian Beeghly, Vice President, Compliance, Johnson Controls. “Simplifying compliance programs provides clarity of message and allows us to focus our resources on those activities which directly influence behaviors, drive the highest level of employee engagement, and build a lasting culture of integrity within our organizations.”
Moreover, when it comes to policies, consolidating materials into an easily digestible format can make a compliance program effective. Also, adding the contact information of a subject matter expert can promote better communication across the organization. “People are more likely to actually read a shorter policy,” said Kathleen Franklin, Senior Counsel, Compliance, Sony Corporation of America. “Shorter, more engaging training, in the local language if possible, is more effective. Studies show that it takes anywhere from 5 to 30 repetitions of information before a person can remember when needed and that attention tends to wane after 15-20 minutes for adult learners.”
Missed our Chicago roundtable? Here’s a recap. Ethisphere’s 8th annual Global Ethics Summit, March 9-10 in New York City, will feature Alex Dimitrief, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, GE, and many more. Click here to register.
Podcast featuring Liz Gehringer, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Realogy.