According to NAVEX Global’s 2017 APAC & EMEA Culture & Compliance Report, 45% of surveyed firms believe the need to measure programme effectiveness is a major challenge to their ethics and compliance strategies.

The most commonly used methods of monitoring the effectiveness of corporate ethics and compliance programmes include the tracking of whistleblowing reports by employees, practiced by 50% of firms, as well as monitoring how regularly employees engage with ethics and compliance training (49%). Increasingly it seems companies across a range of sectors and industries are aware of the importance these measurements can bring and the lack of measurements their programmes currently have.

But, what measurements should firms be undertaking and how important are these outcomes to the success of compliance programmes?

Evidence over previous years has revealed that of 1,000 employees who approached whistleblowing hotlines, 15% of these were sacked as a result of raising issues of misconduct, with a further significant proportion experiencing retaliation from colleagues and senior staff.

Measurements such as this serve as a critical data point and show serious negligence by senior managers at upholding the integrity of their ethics and compliance programmes. Without measurements like this built into a compliance programme, disturbing trends and potential misconduct can go unnoticed.

It can be said, therefore, that too many firms are not paying adequate attention to the data that their ethics and compliance programme supplies or simply do not know what to do with the data. This will be changing as attention from the legal industry around the attitudes of organisations towards whistleblowers is on the rise. This means that organisations may soon feel greater pressure to optimise their programmes and properly train managers in order to avoid lawsuits and costly legal settlements. With additional pressure, managers will be compelled to ensure that whistleblowing reports in their organisations are considered responsibly, and without any resulting unfair treatment. The importance of this diligence is, clearly, positive for both employee and company health and the programmes ability to measure the improvement is paramount.

As well as the perceived input from the legal industry, NAVEX Global’s report further stresses the importance of employee engagement in measuring the effectiveness of programmes designed to work for those same individuals. Discussions with the end users of compliance programmes, and efforts towards increasing support and representation, will be a positive step towards increasing the effectiveness of programmes, and maintaining a healthy and reputable organisational culture for the future.

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