In this age of watchdog news that can break any hour of the day or night and spread across the world in a matter of minutes, consumers demand transparency and accountability from their businesses and brands of choice more than ever. With constant scandals hitting headlines and skepticism and conspiracies running rampant, the ability for consumers to trust an organization becomes increasingly more important. This is where the role of compliance officers becomes increasingly important.
As a company, what is the true foundation for building this trust with consumers? It’s quite simple, really. For strong loyalty from consumers, companies must lead the charge in driving an ethical vision that complies with regulatory requirements.
While ethics and compliance scandals can provide regulatory challenges, they also provide opportunities for compliance officers to drive the future vision and become the hero of their companies – and their company’s reputation.
“For once, compliance officials can drive a company’s brand reputation and vision, rather than feel like they’re disrupting a company’s larger goals,” Barny Brummell says.
To drive that vision, however, compliance officers must become fearless, just like Superman (or Superwoman even).
“The most important individual trait that an ethics and compliance professional must have is courage. Our companies are counting on us for that—to raise the issues that need to be raised. You can’t shrink away from that. You must be courageous,” Cindy Moehring says.
As Chief of Compliance and Ethics at Walmart, Moehring recommends you must be a trustworthy partner who inspires and empowers your entire business, including its leaders, to champion ethics and compliance.
To do this however, the compliance team can no longer take a passive, reactionary approach to mitigating risk and following new regulations. They need to step up to become the superheroes of their organizations they were meant to be. They need to focus on driving change, being proactive and proving the value compliance adds to a business, Moehring mentions.
Sure, they should take a risk-based approach, but mostly they need to take time to really understand a business. That way, they can understand where business needs meet compliance requirements and find solutions that work, as well as drive the business forward.
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