By Stephen Shepherd, Marketing –
The purpose of an effective compliance program is to be a “good and responsible corporate citizen,” stated Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
“[It] is not so that the Division will cut you a break if your company commits a crime,” said Snyder at last month’s U.S. Council of International Business Joint Antitrust Compliance Workshop in New York City.
Snyder affirmed that a company’s compliance program is vital to company crime prevention, and he suggested that it be uniquely tailored to the appropriate company and market in order to be effective.
The Compliance Checklist
Snyder offered five factors to consider when evaluating a company’s compliance program:
1) Company leadership must be knowledgeable of the compliance efforts and fully engaged in providing adequate resources for them to be fruitful.
2) The entire company must be committed to the program.
3) The policy should be proactive, being able to monitor or predict risks.
4) Leadership needs to discipline employees who violate the company standard.
5) The company must be prepared to accept responsibility in the event of noncompliance and have a plan to prevent it from reoccurring.
Integrity ― An Imperative
These five factors will be useless if not combined with honesty. Crimes of noncompliance are typically consequences of individual dishonesty, or in other words, the lack of integrity among a company’s biggest asset ― its employees. Even with a uniquely designed compliance program, the company’s fate ultimately lies in the decisions of its workers.
The workshop’s theme stated that “Compliance is a culture, not just a policy,” and that applies to honesty. It is just as important to promote honest and ethical behavior as it is to implement a compliance program. Honesty is a cultural trait, not just the best policy.
Holding People Responsible
As a company is ultimately held responsible for the misdeeds of a dishonest employee, it’s important that they put a company compliance policy into place and work hard to develop a culture of ethical and honest behavior.
Preventing noncompliance and unethical behavior before they happen is the key to becoming “good and responsible corporate citizens.”