The Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs makes clear that a company must have more than simply a good “Tone-at-the-Top”; it must move down through the organization from senior management to middle management and into its lower ranks. This means that one of the task is to get middle management to respect the stated ethics and values of a company, because if they do so, this will be communicated down through the organization.
A company’s culture is reflected in the values and beliefs that exist throughout the company. To fully operationalize your compliance program, you must find a way to articulate and then drive the message of ethical values and doing business in compliance with such anti-corruption laws such as the FCPA from the top down, throughout your organization.
What should the tone in the middle be? What should middle management’s role be in the company’s compliance program? This role is critical because the majority of company employees work most directly with middle, rather than top management and, consequently, they will take their cues from how middle management will respond to a situation. Perhaps most importantly, middle management must listen to the concerns of employees. Even if middle management cannot affect a direct change, it is important that employees need to have an outlet to express their concerns.
Your organization should train middle managers to enhance listening skills in the overall context of providing training for their “Manager’s Toolkit.” This can be particularly true if there is a compliance violation or other incident which requires some form of employee discipline. Most employees think it important that there be organizational justice so that people believe they will be treated fairly. For if there is organization justice, it engenders perceived procedural fairness making it more likely an employee will be willing to accept a decision that they may not like or disagree with.