In our global world employees are not only travelling to the world’s metropolises, but also to remote project sites, often in countries with a higher perceived corruption level. Similar to a race driver, the employees are for a long time on their own, but this does not mean that they have to be without contact to their office.

Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen became famous in 2012 for his answer to his Lotus Formula One box crew, as he received too many messages while driving: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” A lesson also for the Compliance communication. The most effective communication channel is the Compliance personal and their watchable value based-behavior. If employees are outside personal reach, communication measures can be an effective alternative, if executed with caution:

  • Too much communication distracts from your main task. Compliance is in the comfortable situation to have expert knowledge. Due to this, it does not have to communicate all details, but what are the relevant topics and situations. With this the employee knows when he or she get into a risky area and when to contact Compliance for additional information. The information streams changes from “push” to “pull”.
  • Too detailed Compliance instructions forecloses that the employee itself starts to analyze the problem and develops ethical decision making tasks. To ensure a robust value-based Corporate culture, employees must develop their own proper involvement. If they understand the cost of corruption, they care about potential affected people and avoid corrupt behavior; not because it is forbidden by law, but because they believe in it. To develop such strong values, the individual has to find him- or her-self the right answers and not just follow given instructions.
  • An information overload leads to the situation that received communication cannot get internally processed. Emails get read, but without remembering or understanding the content. Compliance has to concentrate on the core statements. Less messages have a higher opportunity to be captured. A good example for “less is more”.
  • An excessive number of emails leads to resistance of the receiver. Emails get automatically deleted without reading. To avoid this problem, Compliance can include its topics inside a general regular newsletter. Again, less communication means better communication. Another way to reduce the number of emails is an individualization. An experienced employee, does not need the same amount of communication as an inexperienced one.

Communication is a relevant part of the prevention-strategy. If adequately executed, it transports important messages to the employees and does not provoke the wish to be kept away from this. As already Enzo Ferrari said: ” I believe most things can be said in a few lines.”

Taken from the book:

Henz, Patrick (2016): “Compliance is a Racer Car.”

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