Imagine a courtroom with an experienced judge. Let us say that someone in your company made an inappropriate payment, engineered a deal with a competitor to split markets or favored a family member somewhere in the world - situations that happen in companies all the time.
A case is brought to court and you will be in one of these scenarios defending yourself and your company:
You have more than 500 employees
If you have more than 500 employees, you may be in one of those companies where you can legitimately stand up and say that most employees (hopefully also the person allegedly committing the wrongdoing) have received loads of policies when they joined.
What if the judge asks whether employees have actually read all these long, legalistic paper documents? Ok, well. We all know the answer to that one (you can ask a few employees in your company to check). Good news is that you are not alone. Most companies of that size have the problem with loads of long and legalistic paper policies. Bad news is that it doesn't help you. As an example, the UK Bribery Act requires policies to be 'clear, practical and accessible'.
You have less than 500 employees
If your company has less than 500 employees, you would probably have to admit that you have not (yet) formally communicated expected standards to employees (i.e. no policies, training, certifications, helpline etc.). Whoops.
The judge will find it problematic that employees are given performance targets but no guidance on how to achieve them. It means no legal defense according to international laws - with unfavorable impact on potential sanctions. Not good with today's expectations, enforcement and fines worldwide....
Modern solution to reduce compliance risk and sanctions
Now to the PolicyApp. It was created after reading hundreds of policies (we are not necessarily proud of that) when advising dozens of Fortune 500 clients on policy management, including Swiss Re, GSK, Airbus, Heineken, Daimler, Merck etc.
We had identified the risk areas and guidance employees really need to understand and how to communicate it, in order for them to conduct business ethically. We then carefully crafted a library of critical international policies, which work across industries and geographies. And of course, our awesome software engineers developed an app that works across all devices.
We then had the policies reviewed by peer experts, endorsed by a global law firm and translated into all the UN Official Working Languages (sounds straight forward, but this whole process developing the PolicyApp took nearly two years...).
Short, user-friendly digital policies, helpline, training module with comprehension test and certification process that employees actually read, understand and apply. On top, we make sure to update them when needed so you don't need to monitor legal developments.
And check this out: they are in the pockets of people when they need them! Does that matter? Yes. Behavioral economics from leading experts has proven that when we are provided with moral reminders at the very moment we take decisions, it has a positive impact on our behavior.
So we can actually improve business conduct in society! We love such societal impact and therefore work with Harvard Business School to measure (and demonstrate) influence on behavior. That is how the PolicyApp works. Simple. Affordable. Impactful.
Ok, back to the legal safeguard. Now you can answer this question below:
Which company has the best legal defense?
the company with loads of paper docs that no one reads
the company with no policies or training for employees
the company with instantly accessible, user-friendly policies and training that employees read, understand and certify to (PolicyApp)
You be the judge. And think about what you want for you and your company. We believe leaders also have a moral responsibility to provide meaningful guidance to their employees.
Dan Ostergaard is founder and CEO of PolicyStore and has advised dozen of Fortune 500 clients on business conduct. Previously, he had worldwide responsibility for managing integrity as part of the Corporate Executive Group at Novartis. He was also the Chairman of the Board of a leading European-wide association of integrity management professionals, ENICO. Dan has been featured in several publications including Financial Times, CEO Magazine and Journal for Sustainable Banking and has won national championships as a basketball player.