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Harry Cassin
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BELA Goes to Texas: Our Latest Forum on Corporate Ethics, Culture, Value and Performance

Our latest BELA Executive Ethics and Compliance forum was co-hosted by Dell. We gathered more than a dozen compliance executives from top-performing companies to talk about why culture, training and risk management should be part of an organization’s long-term sustainable business strategies.

Ethisphere’s Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) was created to capture, codify and communicate leading practices throughout the community.

Originally brought together by leading compliance executives — Al Rosa of General Electric, Brian Beeghly of Johnson Controls, Alan Yuspeh of Hospital Corporation of America, and Diana Sands of The Boeing Company — Ethisphere’s latest BELA roundtable met last week for an exclusive two-day event at Dell’s headquarters in Austin, Texas.

In addition, the event welcomed senior executives from Eli Lily, CH2M, United Parcel Service, Noble Energy, Eaton Corporation, Jones Lang LaSalle, Microsoft, and Vizient, Inc. 

“The BELA roundtable showcased some of the most advanced ethics and compliance programs and initiatives,” John Sardar, Chief Compliance Officer of Noble Energy,said. “It was an outstanding forum to ‘listen and learn’ from some of the creative thought leaders in this space.”

The goal of these roundtables is to provide a platform for candid exchanges to help executive leaders and their companies openly address strategic challenges and collaborate together around actionable solutions. This forum, in particular, focused on measuring and improving culture, training and communications effectiveness, third party risk management and a host of other business issues that global companies often encounter.

Part of BELA’s mission is to help companies measure, improve and simplify their programs. Through unlimited access to a full-service culture assessment or to the BELA community’s library of questions, companies can gain insights into its most critical asset — employees.

Over the years, many scandals have spiraled out of control in light of the missing link between employees and the enforcement of a company’s compliance and ethics program. While these issues are frequently addressed at company meetings and in follow-up communications, they aren’t enough to move the needle on compliance.

During the event, the participants all agreed that sustainable companies invest in culture, value and performance but getting there does not happen overnight. It is a continuous process that is reinforced by leadership and compliance.

The Good News: More Leaders are Engaged: Most participants said that they are seeing buy-in from leaders — even those in the early stages of their compliance programs. But there are common aspects that most high-functioning governance and compliance programs share.

At Dell for example, leader engagement remains a critical part of the company’s enterprise-wide compliance program. Mike McLaughlin, Dell’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, explained that at the technology company, executives are always willing to connect and discuss compliance issues with each other.

Our leaders get it, and that’s illustrated by the fact that when we send a note out on an important compliance topic or request time for a meeting to discuss compliance, the vast majority of our senior leaders engage,” he said.  “They make the connection between good compliance and good business and that makes a huge difference at Dell.”

Al Rosa, Chief Compliance Director and Senior Executive Counsel at GE, said that investing in an Ombuds program pays dividends. GE has created a global network of approximately 500 ombudspersons, where coverage is provided for every business and country in which the company operates. Employees (remote ones as well) know their local business and regional ombudsperson through frequent communications, articles and various Company intranet sites.

Ombudspersons are introduced at all employee meetings within the businesses and regions, including integrity events and trainings. According to Rosa, the Ombuds program is the “secret sauce” of GE’s culture of integrity.

For more information or to become a BELA member, click here.


Aarti Maharaj is Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for Ethisphere. She’ll be a speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.

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