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ECOAPosted by John Kleeman
Earlier this month, I gave a presentation on assessments and compliance at the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association’s (ECOA) 20th Annual Ethics & Compliance Conference in St Louis, Missouri.
ECOA is the professional association for and a leading provider of resources to ethics, integrity, and compliance practitioners worldwide. The conference gathered together ethics and compliance officer and managers from around the United States, and many other countries, for the exchange of best practices, strategies, and ideas.
One of the conference plenary sessions was in the form of a debate and asked whether the last 20 years of ethics and compliance has made a difference in the business world. Recent years have seen many huge regulatory fines, and even criminal penalties, with companies around the world falling afoul of ethical or legal guidelines. Would we all be better without an ethics and compliance industry? During his keynote address at the ECOA conference, Carlo di Florio (Director of the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations), made his view clear, that from a regulatory perspective, government entities like the SEC really appreciate ethics and compliance departments, and the job of a regulator would be much more difficult without ethics and compliance programs in organizations.
I strongly believe that assessments can make a big difference in ethics and compliance. They measure knowledge/understanding of regulations and assess culture and ethics. Above all, online assessments are one of the few ways, perhaps the only way, in which a compliance team can touch on every employee in a large organization. You cannot speak personally to every employee – but you can ask every employee to take a test or answer a survey.
During my presentation, I suggested five key benefits of ethics and compliance assessments:

  • Demonstrate commitment
  • Find problems early
  • Document understanding after training
  • Increase knowledge / enhance retention
  • Reduce cost and time for compliance training

I also shared what I think are five key and actionable pieces of good practice for ethics and compliance assessments:

  • Create scenario questions
  • Use feedback at the topic level
  • Make assessments accessible
  • Have participants agree to a code of conduct
  • Consider observational assessments

You can see the presentation on SlideShare here or embedded below: