One of the many challenges in being a compliance professional is the risk of living in the bubble of your own organization.  We can often get so mired down in the minutia of compliance, investigations, policy management and…let’s admit it…paperwork, and we lose sight of the bigger picture and what ethical compliance should and can mean to our organizations.  I was reminded of this most recently by a client who explained to me that they view their ethics and compliance program as a strategic difference between them and their competitors in the market.  They talk about how important it is on their quarterly analyst calls.  They call it out in their annual report.  They take supplier compliance seriously and not only administratively.

I must say, it was refreshing to hear!  So I asked a little more about how that manifests itself and they had plenty of examples ranging from lower turnover, fewer fines, to better relationships with suppliers.  That drove me to better understand what is it about compliance that our customers were most interested in, so that we could focus our efforts as a company on solving relevant problems for our clients.

The findings were very interesting, broken out by the industries we primarily serve.  Below is a sample of what the top issue or concern in compliance was by those industry segments.  


  •     False Claims Act enforcement
  •     Better internal investigation capabilities

State and Local Government:

  •     Cybersecurity and cybercrime
  •     Establishing and maintaining an ethical culture

Publicly Traded Companies:

  • 3rd party risk
  • Building consistency in program enforcement across multiple divisions/jurisdictions

Privately Held Companies

  •     Social media compliance risks
  •     Cybersecurity and cybercrime


  • Building consistency in program enforcement across multiple divisions/jurisdictions
  • Better internal investigation capabilities

This brings cause for pause and reflection, and we encourage our clients to consider what they want to accomplish with their compliance program,

  1. Are you only seeking minimal compliance with regulatory issues and laws, or do you want more from your compliance initiative?
  2. Are you seeking competitive advantage in the market through a superior program?
  3. How do my compliance program objectives align with our corporate strategy?
  4. Am I able to use an analytics driven approach to link actual behavior to related training and policy through a continuous improvement process?

We’d urge you break out of your compliance bubble and seek a loftier purpose in your program!

J Rollins is the co-founder and CEO of ETHIX360.  At ETHIX360, our goal is simple, to provide an affordable, flexible and comprehensive answer to employee communication and case management on issues related to corporate ethics, code of conduct, fraud, bribery, EH&S and workplace violence.  To learn more about ETHIX360, please visit, or follow us on twitter @ethix360.