Stories like the one of Ren Zhiqiang always remind me of the importance of a non-retaliation policy in an organization.
Granted, Ren didn’t have to compare Xi Jingpin to a naked clown. But even if he had not done so, chances are he would have ended up with a similar sentence anyway. Given his age, it’s likely to be a life sentence.
The fear of retaliation helps a culprit maintain the status quo. It is the best tool to prevent people from speaking up. When employees are not willing to speak up, it is nearly impossible to maintain a robust compliance program and an ethical corporate culture. For the ethics & compliance professional, the fear of retaliation is Public Enemy #1.