Communications are a critical component when it comes to creating a strong ethics and compliance (E&C) strategy and raising awareness of an organization’s values and code of ethics. After all, there’s no point in having a strategy if nobody knows what it is or how to find it.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the key considerations for communicating your E&C strategy both internally and externally.
Plan How to Communicate your E&C Strategy
It’s a good idea to create a communications plan, rather than thinking about one-off emails and communications. By creating a strong communications plan for your E&C program, you can keep your messaging succinct and structured. You can inform colleagues about what ethical practices look like and why they are important, as well as share your strategy externally with customers, potential investors, and more.
When it comes to crafting your communications plan, the more touchpoints you include, the more likely people are to engage. For example, if you’re planning to send an email about your E&C strategy, think about sending reminder emails to those that didn’t open the first and follow-ups to those that did. If your organization shares weekly or monthly internal bulletins or newsletters, try and secure a regular slot to share all the latest E&C news with colleagues. Blog posts can also be a great way of sharing your organization’s stance on E&C and your activities. The Communications or Marketing team in your organization could help you identify channels and help get your messaging right.
Gain the Right Support
You may need to secure the right backing from collaborators and leadership on both your strategy and your intended communications. By gaining the right support for your E&C activities both in terms of the strategy itself and also the ways you plan to share it, you’re far more likely to be listened to, see higher levels of engagement and potentially observe changes in behavior and culture sooner rather than later.
A lack of support from the top, meanwhile, will likely result in wasted resources and efforts, as there has to be consistency and Tone at the Top. Therefore, one of your first considerations should be gaining support from leadership and making their support of your strategy clear in your communications. For example, promote leadership’s strong support of a speak-up culture and their commitment to cutting down on retaliation for good faith reports as part of your communications.
You should also consider the role of local leaders and managers in the distribution of your strategy and ensure that they’re equipped to share key messages and have the right training when it comes to dealing with issues of misconduct appropriately.
Tailor your Communications Based on Accessibility and Audience
As you build out your communications plan, be sure to consider how teams access information at work, as this will affect engagement. For example, does your business have a lot of employees with limited or no access to online resources? If so, you may need to think about printed materials, video, or making use of in-person meetings and announcements.
If your colleagues have easy access to their mobile phones at work, consider how this could be utilized, such as email or intranet notifications.
If your organization has colleagues or customers in multiple regions with different languages, don’t forget that local laws and customs may differ from those of your head office location. This may require some regional-specific policies for your strategy and varied distribution channels, and you may need to consider the benefits of investing in translation services.
Make Your Plan Measurable
A critical consideration for your communications – as well as your E&C strategy – is to ensure that you can easily determine their success by measuring performance. For example, if you’ll primarily be using email or video to communicate your strategy, open rates, views, and click-through rates will likely be the best metrics for success.
Visitor figures and engagement should work well for measuring website and social media traffic. If you use an internal app like Vault Platform, you may look at the number of employees who have downloaded the mobile app or the number of reports coming through as suitable metrics.
Build your intended measurements and benchmark what success looks like into your plan, making it easier to report your ongoing performance to leadership.
Keep your Plan Up to Date and Relevant
You’ll likely be adjusting your E&C programs and strategy as necessary to improve its effectiveness, so consider doing the same for its rollout and communications. For example, will how will you communicate changes and updates to guidance moving forward? Will it change the onboarding process for new employees? Don’t forget to include these scenarios in your plan, keep up the momentum and stay on target.
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