(First published on LinkedIn)
If you’ve ever met anyone new at a social event, it may go something like this:
Stranger: So, what do you do?
You: I work in corporate ethics and compliance.
Stranger: (chuckle) Is that an oxymoron?
Or: Is that Sarbanes-Oxley? Are you an accountant?
Or: Oh I get those online courses I have to take once a year. They’re really boring.
You offer a small explanation of an ethics and compliance program, watch the stranger’s eyes glaze over, then quickly change the subject to avoid boring him to death.
Every once in a blue moon, you actually meet someone in the field, and the delight that you experience is like discovering a long lost relative.
Here, I offer a few bullet points to describe what you could say the next time you run into this situation.
- An ethics and compliance program:
- Shows employees the right and wrong ways of doing things;
- Tells employees what they should do if they find out that someone did the wrong thing;
- Deals with the wrong thing that was done and makes sure that the thing doesn’t happen again.
- It’s always easier to keep people from doing the wrong thing than to deal with it after it’s been done.
- Every company should have a way of doing all of this. It doesn’t need an army of resources and it doesn’t matter if the company is small or private.
- If the company you work for is not doing these things, give me a call. I can find you someone who can help.
I think the business world would be a better place if everyone understands that they deserve a good ethics and compliance program. That way, if they work for a company whose program doesn’t meet these standards, they know enough to demand a better one.
So, go ahead, next time you meet someone socially, use the script (or make up your own) and dive into the thing that we do!