The job of an ethics officer

When people ask me what I do at work, I often respond that my job is to answer the question “Should we?” after others have answered yes to the question “Can we?”

It’s a short and flawed answer.

It would be more accurate to say that I am part of a team that creates a robust compliance program and an ethical culture by supporting the work of 500 ethics & compliance officers and the decisions of 25,000 supervisors and 200,000 employees.

The first answer is easier to process at a cocktail party.

Ultimately, an organization does not want its employees to turn to an ethics guru every time they face an ethical dilemma. It wants a system where employees know to ask the right questions and with values to support the right answers.

My job, as part of a larger team, is to create that system.

Not a bad gig.

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