Inputs –> Outputs –> Outcomes

In the ethics & compliance world, many professionals struggle to measure the effectiveness of their program.

We pick a few easily measurable metrics, such as the number of allegations made, and are quickly puzzled. What does it mean when that number goes up or down?

The more experienced professionals realize that input metrics are rarely helpful to measure effectiveness. They do offer an opportunity to ask good questions but they seldom provide an answer.

Output metrics are more telling. Let’s say we typically get 100 potential conflict of interest disclosures during our annual survey. This year, for the first time, we hold five lunch-and-learn sessions (input) the week before the survey to explain the different types of conflicts and why it’s important to disclose them. If our disclosures double (output), then we can probably say that our training campaign was effective.

But is this the business we are in? Is our role to generate allegations and disclosures and training completions?

Of course not.

Our role is to drive behaviors that are consistent with our organization’s values. Generally, the outcome we seek is an organization that generates trust, treats everyone with respect, and performs with integrity.

And so an effective program is one that generates the right outcomes. The relevant metrics tend to be more qualitative than quantitative – and thus harder to measure. The good news is that there are competent professionals out there who can measure these outcomes.

It’s the only way to truly measure the effectiveness of our E&C programs.

Hat tip to Todd Zipper

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