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Ethics & Compliance tips and Predictions for 2017

NAVEX Global
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Once again it’s time for NAVEX Global’s annual review of trends and events that will impact Ethics and Compliance (E&C) programmes in the year ahead. By NAVEX Global’s Advisory Services Team.

This year presents a unique challenge. We are preparing our predictions before the dust has settled from Brexit and the recent U.S. election. It’s likely that both events will have an impact on regulatory and enforcement efforts in the coming year and beyond, but at this time it is difficult to know what the impact may be and how it will affect the work of ethics and compliance officers. While changes are likely, many of the challenges we face are unlikely to be affected at least in the near term. For this reason we are confident in our predictions and recommendations. We’ve talked with industry experts, our colleagues at NAVEX Global, and ethics and compliance professionals from our more than 12,500 client organisations and based on their input, we’ve selected the Top  10 Predictions and Recommendations for 2017.

Businesses will need to demonstrate a return on compliance

How do you prove a negative? How can you estimate the value to your organisation of misbehaviour that was prevented, or the value of compliance failures that, because of your efforts, didn’t happen?

The growth of a ‘five generation workplace’

An unprecedented change is happening in our workplaces. In many organisations, up to five generations are currently working together creating a situation that is both full of opportunities and challenges for E&C in 2017

Ethics and compliance will become increasingly automated.

Developments in information technology are creating more and more opportunities for the automation of E&C programs. We’ve seen this trend begin to develop over the last few years, and this is the year in which building an ‘e’ program should be a priority for every organisation.

The alphabet soup of global standards shows no sign of becoming simpler

What is “required” of an effective E&C program is not yet settled. The regulatory alphabet soup is a heavy burden for ethics and compliance professionals and their organisations and the coming year shows no signs that the burden will be lessened.

Compliance teams need to move on from being seen as ‘the people who say no’.

Rebranding your office as a positive contributor to the business and a key part of the management team may be a long-term goal, but moving in that direction will pay immediate dividends. This is the year to realign and rebrand.

Society have higher expectations for companies to act in a social responsible way.

Younger employees along with the public and media continue to apply pressure on organisations to address Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues including human rights and environmental sustainability. For many consumers, a robust and transparent CSR programme is a necessary condition before they are willing to buy.

Whistleblowing and anti-retaliation will move up the Board agenda.

Every year it’s safe to assume that our Top 10 List will include the latest developments pertaining to helplines, whistleblowers and retaliation, and this year is no exception. This year we examining some hard data on the topics

Ethics and compliance teams will be expected to play a greater role in mitigating cyber security risks.

While E&C departments may not be the appropriate lead function to address these cyber and data-related risks, it is a serious mistake for E&C to be uninvolved. E&C can and should play a key supporting role in identifying and mitigating cyber security.

Crisis management plans will become more important

With our 24/7 news cycle and social media’s speed and uncontrollability, all organisations today should be keenly aware of the fact that they may be one step away from a compliance failure from which it can take months or longer to recover.

CCOs are increasingly worried about liability

While there has always been some unease among CCOs about their personal liability, the issue seems to be heating up despite the fact that only a handful of cases have been brought against CCOs and were mostly in the financial services industry. Nevertheless, recent data suggest CCOs are worried about liability.

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