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Engaging far-flung managers and employees in a compliance culture

Paul Gennaro, senior vice president and chief communications officer, AECOM, discusses how to promote a culture of integrityCompliance professionals — especially at global companies with managers and employees from many locations, time zones and cultures — always face the tough task of plugging those persons into the compliance culture.

According to a recent NYSE Governance Services thought leadership roundtable discussion held at AECOM’s headquarters in Los Angeles, which featured Eric Morehead, senior compliance counsel, NYSE Governance Services, and Paul Gennaro, senior vice president and chief communications officer, AECOM, the return on investment on an effective ethics and compliance program can be seen when employees understand and are actively involved in promoting a culture of integrity.

“Ethics and compliance should be woven into the DNA of an organization,” said Gennaro. “People want to transact with a company they believe in, which is transparent and ethical.”

“Employees need real examples in order to take ethics seriously,” added Gennaro. “Through consistent messaging and ongoing communication we are able to advance ethics in the workplace.”

During the NYSE Governance Services roundtable discussion in Los Angeles, attendees engaged with industry leaders, shared best practices, and gained real insight into what other organizations are doing to enhance and extend their ethics and compliance programs.  

Gennaro and Morehead noted that meeting the growing demands of a complex and often daunting legal environment means that companies should try to enforce a culture of ethics and compliance through setting the appropriate tone in the middle. 

Managers, for example, play a very crucial role in the reporting process. They should be aware of the resources available to them and have a solid understanding of procedures that are in place at the company. This way, they are better equipped to have a proactive conversation with an employee.

“Managers serve as an important conduit for the important reporting that goes on within an organization,” said Morehead. “For example, one new trend we are seeing is, where appropriate, companies now keep managers informed during the investigation process so they can provide meaningful updates to the employee who initially made the report”.


Aarti Maharaj is a Senior Writer in AECOM’s Corporate Communications Department. Her responsibilities include enterprise-wide communications around ethics and compliance, and corporate social responsibility.

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