ICYMI: Highlights from the 2018 Ethics & Compliance Virtual Conference

This year the 2018 Ethics & Compliance Virtual Conference brought together more than 20 industry experts for a full day of ethics and compliance educational content. Each of our nine learning sessions and four keynote presentations were complete with timely insights and actionable steps for attendees.

Below are three highlights that have come to the surface after review of our user feedback and day-of responses.

1. The 10 Core Values of Zappos

One of the biggest learning moments came in a session from Erica Javellana, Speaker of the House for Zappos. Erica shared how an online shoe retailer has become one of the best known culture-branded companies in the world and one of the Fortune 100 best companies to work for.

Zappos did this by not only developing a list of core values but more importantly have committed to hiring and firing on those core values.

Zappos did this by not only developing a list of core values but more importantly by committing to to hiring and firing on those core values. If you are not willing to incorporate your core values into every business decision, they cannot truly be considered core values.

The key to the Zappos core values is that they are supported from the tone at the top, but developed by employees. Building their defining culture started with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sharing power, and giving everyone a voice. He did this by giving every employee a chance to contribute to the development of their core values. Below are the core values that Zappos as a collective organization agreed to and commit to every day.

  • Deliver WOW Through Service
  • Embrace and Drive Change
  • Create Fund and a Little Weirdness
  • Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  • Pursue Growth and Learning
  • Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  • Do More with Less
  • Be Passionate and Determined
  • Be Humble


2. Honest Roundtable Discussion about Pain Points Between Departments

In an hour-long discussion between a chief compliance officer, general counsel, outside counsel, and internal auditor, the issue of siloes was turned on its head. Corporate siloes between operational teams are bad, yes, but they are also never mapped out and developed intentionally. Corporate siloes are the result of departments that become exclusive with their processes and the information they own. This is possible even without blatant internal political turf wars.

This lack of transparency creates two major liabilities: First, is the issue that multiple departments are doing duplicative, or worse, contradictory work. This leads to wasted hours and an inevitable clash. Alternatively, multiple departments may believe another is doing the work, neither do the work, and key organizational activities fall through the cracks.

Simply put, liability risk goes up when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Whether it is through a formal charter or informal delineations, each group needs to know exactly what the other is responsible for. Incorporating a RACI chart was suggested as a practical way to ensure each department is properly made responsible, held accountable, consulted or informed.

The key to all this is working it out while you are not is the thick of the fray. Determining departmental responsibilities and relationships in the abstract allows seamless implementation before tensions arise from corporate pressures.

The reality is that your risk universe is always changing. No one department has the full 360-degree perspective. Each department needs to operate with transparency through regular communication to fully protect the company as well as ensure efficiencies for the practitioners on each team.

3. The Social Due Diligence #MeToo Requires

In a session titled “#MeToo: A Year Later & Around the World,” experts highlighted the social due diligence that companies need to hold themselves accountable to when hiring and promoting.

Background checks for new hires should include behavior indicators that speak to more than just the candidate’s work experience. References should be asked about the individual’s workplace behavior as well as performance. The key is to get insights from the people who have worked day in and day out with whomever you are thinking about bringing into your workplace. This should also include social media, the duration of their previous employment, and reasons for departure. The more senior a candidate is, the more social due diligence you will want to do on the individual.

In no case do you want to promote harassment, increase its influence or validate the behavior.

All these considerations should also be made for promotions. The individual obviously meets performance standards, but do they meet behavior standards? A key tool is Human Resource complaints. Make sure to understand the nature and extent of any claims associated with promotion candidates. It may sound counterintuitive, but extra scrutiny should be put on superstars who have been charged with harassment in the past. Did they get the benefit of the doubt because of their work performance? If they are up for a promotion, it is time to review those charges with clear eyes. In no case do you want to promote harassment, increase its influence or validate the behavior.

Chat with a solutions expert to learn how you can take your compliance program to the next level of maturity.

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