LRN’s Susan Divers recently published an excellent post on the importance of holding senior executives accountable to ensure a strong ethics & compliance (E&C) program.
Her post reminded me of a negative outcome of unfairness that we rarely talk about: the demoralizing effect on the E&C team.
Imagine that a senior executive is found to have violated a policy that would typically result in termination but is instead simply provided with “coaching” by the c-suite, who is judging him too important to lose. Perhaps less than a dozen people will be aware of the investigation and of the discipline imposed, but this small group is sure to include the CECO and a couple of her lieutenants. This will be like clipping their wings. Like deflating their balloon. Insert other rainy analogies here. How are they supposed to carry on, effectively, the mission of creating and touting an ethical culture?
Imagine instead that the executive is terminated and that employees are told that it was the result of a breach of company values. How empowering for the E&C team! What an incentive for all employees to act ethically! What a powerful way to recruit good people and keep bad ones at bay!
How long until all c-suites understand this dynamic?