Freeman Cebu Business

Business success in a culture of ethics and engagement

INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry Schumacher - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Are you looking to maximize your return on investment through a culture of empowered ethics and engagement?

Empowered ethics drives better workforce engagement, and an engaged workforce delivers that ROI you need. Yet, Compliance officers need a keen understanding of how to make this work and how to lead executives beyond their comfort zone to make that shift in mindset.

How does a company make such a shift?

Empowered ethics begins and ends with trust. To drive that shift in employee mindset, the compliance team — working with senior management and other parts of the enterprise — must work to foster trust. Employees must trust that management’s policies, procedures, and controls serve a valid purpose; and management must trust that employees naturally want to act in accordance with the company’s ethical and business priorities.

It’s incumbent on management to create that culture of trust. Left to themselves, even well-meaning employees might misunderstand what matters most to the company, or different groups might develop their own sub-cultures that depart radically from the performance you want to achieve.

Trust leads to empowered ethics

Once employees see and feel that culture of trust — that the company wants them to succeed, and to follow ethical priorities that resonate with their own — then employees will reciprocate that trust. They will want the company to succeed in the same way that the company wants them to succeed.

Such a culture does not emerge overnight. Senior management and compliance officers need to assure that the company’s ethical priorities, corporate policies, and compliance tools all work together; so that employees can put ethics at the center of what they do.

That raises a perfectly fair question: What is the return on investment in a culture of empowered ethics and engagement?

The benefits of ethics and engagement

The benefits are many, but if employees are the most important part of a corporation, we can start there: a more ethically engaged workforce is a better workforce.

More broadly, when employees “feel heard,” they’re more likely to bring concerns to management’s attention — which is just another way of saying employees have a stronger desire to help the company solve its problems. A company that is more responsive to its problems is better positioned to thrive in the competitive marketplace.

A company that can resolve ethics and compliance issues more promptly also makes a better impression upon regulators, business partners, and other stakeholders.

Empowered ethics drives better workforce engagement, and an engaged workforce delivers that ROI you need.


Organizations need to put ethical behavior at the center of how employees view their jobs and daily routines; by empowering employees to act on their ethical concerns, you foster that strong corporate culture vital to succeed in today’s complex business and regulatory environment.

Such a shift takes time, and isn’t necessarily easy. Compliance officers will need to build a business case for why the company should make that shift. To do that, they’ll need to show how their compliance program can help employees be better, more productive performers — and how that, in turn, can help the company’s bottom line and its relationship with regulators, customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this excursion on increased return on investment by implementing a culture of empowered ethics and engagement. If you need assistance in implementing this exciting development, I can help you in finding experts. Contact me at [email protected]

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