The Unconventional Route: Trust Builds a Culture of Compliance

Forensic & Litigation Consulting

January 24, 2017

Trust Builds Culture of Compliance

Let’s face it. Fraud and compliance risk is unavoidable in any organisation. The best mitigation strategy therefore, is to talk about the risks, develop practical mitigation solutions, and then implement the solutions. But this requires open discussion within an organisation, which is truly only effective when people trust each other.

Establishing trust in some cultures is easier than in others. Cultures in Asia, for example, are intensely hierarchical where directions from managers are often followed without question. This dynamic is generally unavoidable, so getting people in the business to talk openly about risk may only be possible if there is trust. Therefore, any opportunity to engage directly with employees to talk openly should be seized in a genuine manner.

The risk assessment provides this kind of an opportunity where compliance can engage in genuine conversations with the business to understand the challenges they deal with every day. Empathetic conversations are where rapport, and even trust, is established. Trust in an environment where the business feels comfortable raising an issue, seeking advice and participating in the resolution, no matter how risky a situation may be. This is the type of environment that any compliance professional would describe as having a culture of compliance.

Yes it starts with tone at the top

Executive management should set and be the example of personal conduct for all stakeholders of an organisation. That’s the classic definition of tone at the top. But perhaps more importantly is that tone at the top is also demonstrated through executive management’s strategic priorities for the organisation, and strategy in turn dictates resource allocation. Fraud and compliance risk management should be a key strategy for all organisations, and as such, should receive appropriate resource allocation.


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