Top 10 Ethics & Compliance Predictions & Recommendations for 2018

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the end of the year is always a perfect time to take stock of where we’ve been and to look ahead. It’s a time to regain perspective, to reenergize, and to refocus on the future.

Once again it’s time for our annual review of trends and events that will impact ethics and compliance programs in the year ahead. Since our last review twelve months ago, business, societal and political events have transpired at a pace that left many with a fractured view on the industry and its expectations. Too often, however, these divisions and different points of view lead us to conclude that consensus and collaboration are impossible to achieve. While events may seem to be unfolding in unprecedented ways, the end of the year is always a perfect time to take stock of where we’ve been and to look ahead. It’s a time to regain perspective, to reenergize, and to refocus on the future.

It is in that spirit that we offer our Top 10 Predictions and Recommendations for 2018. We’ve garnered input from industry experts, our colleagues at NAVEX Global, and ethics and compliance professionals from our more than 12,500 client organizations. We look forward to hearing your comments and working with you to meet the challenges of the New Year and beyond.

Overview of 2017 Top 10 Trends


Download the Full Top 10 White Paper Here


  1. This Shift in Power of Voice in the Story of Harassment

For decades, victims of harassment have been silenced and blamed for the conduct of harassers, while the perpetrators’ behaviors have been tolerated, and, in the most egregious of cases, enabled. Today, however, victims of harassment have found a new way to voice their experiences. The internet and social media tools have shifted the balance of power. What once was quintessentially an individual experience that received little to no public discussion (bringing an individual complaint of harassment against a manager or coworker), is private no longer. Read more…

  1. The Glassdoor Effect: When the Virality of Social Media Mixes with the Fragility of Trust

The powerful draw of social media is raising the stakes for companies to build robust incident management programs embedded deep within healthy listen up cultures.

Social media does not only provide channels for employees to talk, it also by its very nature encourages and cultivates discussions that may not have happened otherwise. Pair this with a brewing global state of distrust, and we start to see a culture of speaking out, as opposed to a culture of speaking up. The powerful draw of social media is raising the stakes for companies to build robust incident management programs embedded deep within healthy listen up cultures. This is what will provide the channels on which employees want to report, as well as the trust they need to do so. Read more…

  1. Pitching in When Disasters Strike

When natural or man-made disasters strike, first responders and organizations such as the Red Cross and others are quickly on the scene to assist those in need. Over the years, businesses large and small have also played a role and pitched in to help. For the most part, their efforts received little attention beyond their own employees and the local community. But in recent years, social media has placed a spotlight on these activities, both positive and negative. As a consequence, today’s businesses need to be more deliberate and aware of the impact their responses to disasters can have on their public reputation and on employee morale. Read more…

  1. As Growth Accelerates, so Will the Need for Compliance & Ethics

In 2017, economic growth did not just continue, it accelerated in the United States, Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world. That’s the good news. The compliance corollary to that growth is a bit more cautious. As companies continue to grow more quickly and reach more markets, they encounter more ethics and compliance risks, and hit those risks earlier in their corporate lives than ever before. So organizations will need structures in place to govern their ethical culture and compliance practices as they shift into higher gears of activity. Read more…

  1. Moving from Vicious Compliance to a Culture of Compliance

employee facing initiatives are becoming more focused on compliance rather than driving a culture of integrity and respect.

While we have known for years that culture will always win over compliance, data from across our NAVEX Global benchmark reports and surveys of compliance officers shows a disturbing trend – employee facing initiatives are becoming more focused on compliance rather than driving a culture of integrity and respect. This inevitably leads to an increase in employee cynicism and a shift from what really matters. Organizations need to learn to identify vicious compliance so it does not undermine culture with the unintended consequence of achieving less compliance not more. Read more…

  1. Cyber Security Is Evolving & So Is Compliance’s Role in Prevention & Mitigation

Cyber security has been a priority – 2017 has made it an urgent one. Cyber security risk usually extends to all business units, operational units, employees and key third parties. That is why the compliance function is playing a critical role. Whenever organizations need to do something on an ongoing and systematic way, where people are to be held accountable, Compliance is front and center. Read more…

  1. The New Voice of the Whistleblower

Seven years after the launch of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) whistleblower program, the voice of the whistleblower is starting to sound very different. It’s a little stronger, a little bolder, and a little louder. The volume and size of awards are not the only thing on the up. Tips, the submitted reports of whistleblowers, have increased even more drastically. Companies need to do their best to ensure they hear and resolve whistleblowers’ reports internally before reporters are motivated to go outside. Read more…

  1. Managing Culture & Free Speech in Polarizing Times

Employers need to learn how to manage discourse while maintaining their culture, and at the same time help their employees navigate these challenging times.

Today, the chasm that divides us feels deeper than it has felt in the past several decades. Our debates today aren’t just about big government or little government or whether we should fund a new school building; they are about race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and religion. And often, our conversations fuel and highlight the differences among us rather than bring us closer together. Employers need to learn how to manage discourse while maintaining their culture, and at the same time help their employees navigate these challenging times. Read more…

  1. Data Privacy Has Become a Bigger Blip on the CCO Radar

Data privacy is by no means a new topic. However, privacy laws and the environments they regulate, have evolved dramatically. Regional and U.S. state-specific laws are developing rapidly and so is enforcement of those laws. This has made the financial and reputational impact of data privacy feel “real” and very new to many legal, IT and compliance teams, not to mention corporate executives and board members. Organizations will need to take key steps to stay abreast of the upcoming Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data breaches, vendor management and data privacy. Read more…

  1. Innovation, Stagnation & the Future of the Compliance Professional

The early ethics officers borrowed from one another and often collaborated on innovative approaches to common problems. Over time, the business ethics movement gained momentum and spread worldwide. Within a decade, working professionals in the field settled on best practices for organizational compliance. However, what was first a movement has become a profession, and much of our time and energy is now devoted to fine tuning ethics and compliance programs, developing efficiencies, and addressing gaps and weaknesses that surface. Thus, as the ethics and compliance field has matured, our insulated and risk-averse discussions have inadvertently created the conditions that can lead to stagnation. If not corrected, this can eventually undermine our relevance. How do we rekindle innovation, collaborate across the industry and challenge one another to tackle new problems and solve old problems better? Read more…

Download the Full Top 10 White Paper Here


What do you have to say? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join a discussion group on Compliance Next.


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