This is the fifth in a series of articles intended to assist organizations in assessing their anti-corruption programs through the lens of the 10 hallmarks of an effective compliance program as set forth in “A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” (“the Guide”), jointly published by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in November of 2012. This article centers on hallmark number five:
Remarkably, in some organizations, ethics and compliance programs are well-kept secrets. Years ago, when performing a risk assessment, we asked a CEO of a company operating in a highly regulated industry how frequently he sent a message companywide about the compliance program. He became very sheepish and owned up to the fact that he had never done so. To his credit, he was also horrified; he immediately called his head of corporate communications and sent his first such communication across the company a few hours later.
Training and communication are what put an anti-corruption program into action and begin to sow the seeds of a culture of compliance. Frequent, varied communication across different media, coupled with training that instills knowledge, raises awareness, is interactive and tailored to both the company’s unique attributes and the organizational roles of training recipients – this is the ideal.
Computer-based training is an excellent way to provide a baseline of knowledge cost effectively to the broadest possible audience. But if that is all the training you have done, it may be falling a bit short.
Part of the output of the risk assessment process is the identification of the various organizational touch points at which some of your employees, executives and business intermediaries may come into substantive contact with foreign officials. Whether they know it or not, these are high-risk employees and business partners from an anti-corruption perspective. Knowing that, are you comfortable that the off-the-shelf training they have received provides them with enough information to respond adequately when a potential bribery scenario is unfolding in front of them?
Since these are the individuals on the front lines in the war against corruption, it stands to reason that they need more advanced, in-depth training and more frequent communication to better prepare them to protect the company from exposure under the FCPA. Such advanced training and communication should contemplate the kind of risk scenarios likely to be encountered given what the company does, where it does it, and a specific individual’s responsibilities. Business development professionals and sales agents, for example, should receive training and work through case studies that include activities that may take place at trade shows and conferences, during the request for proposal or public tendering processes, or through corporate gift-giving and entertainment.
It is only with this type of advanced training – bringing together key facts about the law, the risks unique to a given organization, the scenarios that a high-risk individual is likely to encounter and what to do and who to call when things start to unravel – that the light bulbs start to come on overhead. Suddenly, it is very clear what must be done.
If your anti-corruption program can accomplish this lofty goal, you are well on your way to building a culture of compliance.
This article is part five in a 10-part series exploring Anti-Corruption and the 10 Hallmarks of an Effective Compliance Program. Each piece in the series is based on a section from a whitepaper published by Protiviti, titled “Viewing Your Anti-Corruption Efforts Through the Lens of the Hallmarks of an Effective Compliance Program,” which is available in full at:http://www.protiviti.com/en-US/Documents/White-Papers/Internal-Audit/Viewing-Anti-Corruption-Efforts-Lens-Hallmarks-Effective-Compliance-Program-Protiviti.pdf.