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2022 E&C Hotline Benchmark Report Insights: The Generational Shift

This article was taken from ComplianceLine’s 2022 Ethics and Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report. Get more information here!

The Generational Shift

The true measure of a strong culture of integrity is not merely how empowered your stakeholders are to speak up, but also how well your organization actually listens. The potential for fostering a Speak Up/Listen Up culture will only grow more integral in the coming years as younger generations, Millennials and Gen Zers specifically, come to dominate the workforce and hold more positions of leadership. However, during this shift, the opportunity for meaningful positive cultural impacts is more present than ever, given the skyrocketing rates of retaliation we have seen across the economy both during and following the pandemic.

Interestingly, the high correlation between these factors — retaliation and the proportion of the workforce composed of Millennials and Gen Zers, whose value systems place priorities on accountability and authenticity¹  — is coincident with the skyrocketing rise in SEC whistleblowing tips, up approximately 76% over the last year.²

Alignment in Purpose

By 2030, these younger generations will represent more than 80% of the workforce and “alignment in purpose” between themselves and their work is one value these younger generations increasingly demand. This starts with authentically working to close the gap between the organization’s “deed and its word,” and followed closely with giving the workforce a voice.

This means cutting away retaliation with campaigns to address and attack it directly. With overall rates of actual retaliation over 80% currently, and even 20% retaliation being “too high” for most E&C pros, odds are there is an opportunity to reduce retaliation within your organization. Even if your organization is relatively healthy, the Great Resignation effect means new folks who haven’t been steeped in your healthy culture may be bringing workplace trauma and misconceptions from previous jobs into your organization. A cohesive plan to attack retaliation and the fear thereof directly will pay dividends in reinforcing your authentic culture of integrity.

There is tremendous opportunity in humanizing your Speak Up/Listen Up infrastructure to accommodate a more vocal workforce. Offer intake systems that meet people where they are at by humanizing the process across all your intake options (in-person, hotline, web, and text). Utilize the technology available to increase investigation efficiency and close cases faster. Refresh your code to embody your unique values. Break down silos and leverage other leaders across the organization. Celebrate whistleblowers and Speak Up Heroes inside and outside the organization.

Lead the Charge of a More Ethical Workplace

We are at a unique time in the history of Ethics and Compliance and it is our duty to lead the charge in driving a more ethical workplace that authentically aligns with our organizations’ purposes. Small incremental changes to the foundation your organization has laid will have outsized impacts on the type of environment your people choose to come to every day, whether virtually or in-person. If finding “alignment in purpose” is a growing demand for the workforce then let’s help provide it.

Want more actionable insights, data, and stats on the future of compliance programs? Get the ComplianceLine 2022 Ethics and Compliance Benchmark Report here.

¹Deloitte. (2021). Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and GenZ Survey. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html

²US Securities and Exchange Commission. Office of the Whistleblower  (2021, November 16). 2021 Annual Report to Congress Whistleblower Program.

³The Ethics & Compliance Initiative. (March 2021). The State of Ethics & Compliance In the Workplace. Global Business Ethics Survey Report.

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