At Ford Motor Co., our brand promise is to “Go Further”–building great products, a strong business, and a better world. So when our corporate compliance team adopted “branding” to drive awareness of our approach to compliance and ethics, we knew employees would relate to a commitment to “Go Further–The Right Way.”
We also knew that a slogan was just the beginning of our communication campaign.
With more than 190,000 employees across six continents, we wanted to develop a tool that would enhance our compliance brand and key messages. We wanted something fresh that would make it easier for people to make the right choices in the moment, no matter where they were, and whether or not they could in a pinch remember all the details of our online and in-person training!
Put in those terms, the idea simply clicked: the thing that everyone has handy nearly 24 hours a day is their mobile phone. And that’s where we wanted to put our compliance guidance.
We decided that the perfect tool to support our commitment to ethics and compliance would be a mobile app that would give Ford personnel (and our business partners) a quick and easy way to get advice on ethical decision making in line with Ford policies and the law.
The result is Ford’s recently launched all-new compliance app for our global team, “The Right Way,” which is available free of charge in both Apple and Android app stores (via Baidu for Android in China). To make it as easy as possible for our team to do the right thing, “The Right Way” app puts commonly needed compliance information at everyone’s fingertips in easily digestible, bite-size pieces.
The app allows users to access compliance information quickly, including brief, easy-to-understand policy summaries and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). The app also has a “Can I … ?” tab that acts as a quick decision tree for finding specific answers to commonly asked questions. Topics in our app address a range of compliance issues, from anti-bribery guidance to Ford’s approach to gifts and favors, meals, travel, and social events. Individuals can also report a suspected violation directly from the app to the Corporate Compliance Office.
The app allows users to access compliance information quickly, including brief, easy-to-understand policy summaries and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Not only did we create this app, we are absolutely using it—in fact, I recently used the app myself for a quick check during Compliance Week 2015! With vendors hosting events to allow additional discussion in the evenings, I accepted an invitation to visit with one of our vendors at a local sporting event. When I was handed the ticket, I realized that the face value was quite a bit more than I had anticipated.
Concern pricked in my mind; as busy as my team is, we rarely attend events with a supplier. Now I needed to assess, on the spot, whether the value of this supplier-paid event was appropriate. Obviously, I didn’t want to risk violating our gifts and favors policy—and of all places, at a conference championing compliance!
Thanks to our new app, I was able to get an answer in seconds, right when I needed it. Clicking into “The Right Way” on my phone, I checked the FAQs while standing at the stadium turnstile, and I quickly confirmed that our rules around social events do permit occasional attendance with a supplier at an event that costs more than the average meal. Armed with this information, I was able to relax and enjoy a lovely evening, and get quite a bit of business done.
Now, as I talk with colleagues at other companies about our app, I am frequently asked for details about the development process. With that in mind, included below are a few practice pointers that reflect our experience. And just as we encourage everyone to download the app, we look forward to hearing from compliance teams at other companies about innovative approaches that we might adapt for Ford!
GUEST COLUMNIST BIO
Raphael Richmond, global director of compliance for Ford Motor Co., leads a global team whose mission is to promote and preserve Ford’s culture of compliance and ethics within Ford’s dynamic global business.
Richmond gained a background in litigation and securities law before becoming the head of global compliance in 2013.
Ford is a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., which manufactures or distributes vehicles across six continents, with about 189,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide.
How to download Ford’s compliance app: We wanted to make it easy for our employees to get the app, so it’s available where you’d normally go to download any app for your phone. Just search “Ford Motor The Right Way” in the app store on your Apple or Android phone (using the Baidu app store for Android in China).
Development costs and timing: Initial development took intensive work over several months. A small team of experts from our compliance office and human resources wrote and edited all of the content and envisioned the feel we wanted for the app. Our partners in Ford IT worked with the vendor Cognizant to develop the app framework and functionality. Once initial development was complete, small-group beta testing and a cross-functional pilot added a couple of months to the development timing. The total budget for the IT work was about $45,000. We will incur additional cost to translate the app into local languages later in the year.
Level of transparency into Ford policies: Knowing that we wanted the app to be publicly available–so that anyone who wants to do business with us or join our team can learn about our approach to ethics and compliance—we were careful to ensure that everything we put into the app was content we were happy to share. At the same time, we designed parameters for app stores so that searches needed to include terms like “The Right Way” or “ethics” or “compliance” to locate the app, so consumers looking for information on Ford Motor Co. products wouldn’t end up frustrated having downloaded our compliance app!
Tips to the wise: Decide on the range of topics you will include and then stick to your decision. Other skill teams will quickly see the value of this tool and may want to add content, but if the app becomes unwieldy, people simply won’t use it. And if you are a multinational company, invite international input early in the process to avoid surprises.
Pitfalls to avoid: To be on the safe side, build a few weeks into your development timeline for the app to be processed and accepted by the various app stores you intend to use around the globe.
To download the app, search “Ford Motor The Right Way” in the app store on Apple or Android phones (available through Baidu for users in China); and please feel free to send us feedback through the app, or at FordLaw@Ford.com.
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