Reducing risks with brand and culture

“For brands like Zappos and Red Bull, culture is the ultimate talent attraction tool ā€“ not only as a point of differentiation against competition, but also as a means of filtering out those unsuited to their organisations.” (emphasis added)

– Perkbox

As ethics & compliance professionals, our goal is to mitigate business risks.

Many of us follow the model developed in 2007 by the Ethics Resource Center (now the Ethics & Compliance Initiative). Essentially, the model shows that a well-implemented compliance program combined with an ethical culture leads to reduced risks.

Most of us think of culture as a force that shapes how people in the organization do their work. An equally important function of culture is to keep certain people out of the organization.

When a strong culture is well known outside the organization (think Starbuck, Trader Joe’s, Zappos, etc.), it can prevent undesirables from even applying for a job. When it is not well known, it can reject any misfits in short order.

From a risk-mitigation perspective, this is important. An ethical culture supported by a robust compliance program is like a force shield. To protect us from external dangers, our culture must be so strong that even those outside our organization are familiar with it.

In other words, our ethical culture must become part of our brand.


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