The all-important question

“What is wrong with our culture that Employee X felt we expected him to break the rules?”

When an employee violates the law or a policy “for the benefit of the company”, most organizations are quick to find out what happened, to add an additional control, to write a policy about that new control, to train on this new policy, and to implement an audit plan to catch anyone trying to break the new rule.

What most organizations forget to do is ask “why did this employee break the rule?” Those who ask are often too quick to blame it on a “bad apple,” because it’s easy and less painful than soul-searching.

To truly eliminate bad behavior, organizations should ask themselves how they have contributed to this wrongdoing. The answer is often in a process. How they hire, fire, promote, compensate, etc.

It’s a matter of taking some measure of responsibility for why someone lost their job doing what they thought the organization expected of them.


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