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Case Study

Alliance Data Builds Robust Incident Management Program with EthicsPoint

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Case Study
Alliance Data Builds Robust Incident Management Program with EthicsPoint
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About this Case Study

With 20,000 associates across the company, chasing paper trails was inefficient and made it hard to manage employee reports effectively. Alliance Data made the switch to EthicsPoint Hotline and Incident Management software, allowing them to streamline and automate their employee reporting system.

  1. Industry:
    Financial Services
  2. Number of employees:
    20,000
  3. Before:
    Paper system for managing reports proves to be unwieldy.
  4. After:
    EthicsPoint offers associates safe tool for communication and improves culture.

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Challenge: Pen and Paper System Lacks Historical Context

When it came to managing employee reports, using a system that relied on pen and paper proved to be less than ideal for Alliance Data. With 20,000 associates across the company, chasing paper trails was inefficient and made it hard to manage employee reports effectively. In addition, keeping track of the historical context behind the data was a challenge.

Alliance Data decided to make the switch to NAVEX’s EthicsPoint Hotline and Incident Management software, allowing them to streamline and automate their employee reporting system. “EthicsPoint is a great vehicle for our associates. They voice their concerns in the instances where they may not feel comfortable doing it in person or directly to someone in the company. I think a lot of our associates appreciate that they have the ability to be anonymous when reporting incidents,” said Curtis Samuels, Chief Ethics Officer.

With EthicsPoint in place, all incident reports come through Samuels’ office for review. He then partners with other business units based on the type of issue raised to investigate allegations and follow up with reporters.

According to Samuels, analytics are one of the most helpful features of EthicsPoint. With the ability to view dashboards and have visual representations of the data coming in, it makes it easier to spot trends, something that Alliance Data’s board of directors is very interested in. Samuels provides the board with a quarterly update on those trends, noting the numbers and types of reports that the company receives. For example, the board was interested in looking at how the #MeToo movement was affecting the company in terms of the number of incidents it was seeing reported relating to sexual harassment – a data point that was easy to pull out of the EthicsPoint system. Looking at the trends, Samuels and the board can then identify where further employee training might be needed.

Results: Moving Past Check-the-Box Compliance

To reinforce use of EthicsPoint Samuels hits the road to raise awareness. As he travels to different company locations, he utilizes real stories with anonymized details to give examples of issues that he sees cross his desk in the Ethics Office. He also uses anonymous focus group meetings where he asks associates a series of questions using anonymous polling devices. They talk about the results in real time and look at how their answers compare to national answers from employees across the country in other organizations. “It creates a great dialogue and discussion with and amongst the associates, which tends to spread by word of mouth. They all go back to their respective workspaces and talk to their peers or their colleagues and share the experience. It’s very, very well received,” he said.

For Alliance Data, having a tool like EthicsPoint in place improves culture. By promoting a safe way communicate, the company demonstrates its commitment to not simply running a check-the-box ethics and compliance program. “I am constantly going out to the various lines of business and educating both management and associations alike about the fact that we have this communication tool. We don’t want to hide it. We want to make sure that associates are aware of its existence and that we utilize it and we take it seriously, and everything that comes in, we’re going to look into and follow up on our part,” said Samuels.

That commitment is also reflected in the designations that Alliance Data has earned as a Fortune 500 company, an S&P 500 company and a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. “I think if we were just a check the box type of organization, it would be very hard for us to obtain all three legs of that stool,” added Samuels. “We have tried to make this part of who we are and our culture as an organization of educating and communicating to our associates about wanting to do things the right way in all facets of business.”

About Alliance Data

Alliance Data is a leading provider of marketing, loyalty, and credit solutions that uses the power of data to achieve results for its clients. Together, its three lines of business manage more than 100 MILLION consumer relationships for some of the world’s leading brands. The company has spent the past 20 years zigging while everyone else zagged, and its contrarian approach to how it operates, makes its business decisions, and serves its clients and our clients’ customers benefits its entire stakeholder community.

About NAVEX

NAVEX’s GRC software and compliance management solutions support the integrated risk, ESG and compliance management programs at more than 13,000 organizations worldwide.