CW2023 panel: Taking on the corporate culture monster

Culture panel CW2023

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” read a projected slide at Compliance Week’s 2023 National Conference—a nod to renowned management consultant Peter Drucker, who coined the expression.

Corporate culture might be commonly considered “cute” and “fuzzy,” but it is a slippery monster, nonetheless. It holds the potential to wreak havoc on a negligent organization that fails to nurture it. While most organizations readily agree culture matters, too often companies punt on it in practice because it is elusive and not metric-friendly.

Not so, refuted a trio of panelists during a session entitled “How to Operationalize ‘Company Culture’ Through Compliance” at CW’s event in Washington, D.C. The experts served an audience of compliance practitioners with a framework and strategy for embedding ethical culture into organizations. They also zeroed in on which piece of organizational culture compliance explicitly owns, falling in the realm of workplace investigations.

“How a company deals with misconduct and employee complaints—and that’s a big piece of what [compliance] owns—is where the rubber hits the road for company culture because it has a huge impact on the employee experience. This is where you meet employees at their most vulnerable. You have their emotional and mental health well-being in your hands,” said Rebecca Speer, attorney, investigator, and founder of Speer Associates.

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