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GRC Plus Learning: A Winning Formula for Ethical Corporate Culture

Traditionally, business vs. ethics involved headbutting, with a prevailing belief that corporate entities were solely accountable for generating profits, leading organizations to narrowly concentrate efforts on fulfilling shareholder expectations. However, growing scrutiny of business practices over the last several years by consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders is creating a paradigm shift.  Companies are still focused on generating profits, but many are doing so with greater attention to ethical decision-making and ethical corporate culture. 

Ethical Corporate Governance

As a result, an increasing number of organizations are prioritizing cultivating an ethical corporate culture. This goes beyond mere compliance by embedding trust and integrity into the core of all business operations. 

Change of this magnitude does not come easy. Creating a new statement of values will not magically result in ethical decision-making. For long-term change, a combination of Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) efforts and Ethics & Compliance (E&C) Learning is essential.   

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), provides a structured framework to mitigate and address complex workplace issues related to Conflicts of Interest, Internal Controls, and Incidents Management. Ethics & Compliance (E&C) Learning programs educate employees on how to recognize and respond to ethical issues including sexual harassment and technology risk training and Board education to foster an informed, ethically aware workforce. 

This dual approach of GRC and E&C Learning demonstrates your organization’s commitment to ethical responsibility and nurtures a corporate culture that prioritizes ethical decision-making. It also ensures employees are aware of ever-evolving regulatory requirements and equipped with the knowledge and tools to make ethically sound decisions. 

How to Take a Unified Approach  

“Culture–the shared set of values, mindsets and assumptions distinct to an organization–is the single biggest factor determining the amount of misconduct that will take place.” — Ethical Boardroom 2020  

In the early stages of prioritizing an ethical workplace culture, it’s imperative to establish a foundation that goes beyond mere policy adherence. It’s about instilling a company-wide ethos in alignment with the organization’s code of conduct. Necessary actions to take include regularly updating your organization’s code of conduct, related policies and training content to include new ethical concerns as they pop up—such as the dynamic nature of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace. 

Effective learning programs can ensure every team member—from the boardroom to the front line—comprehends the ethical implications of their decisions. These E&C programs ideally should mirror real-life scenarios and leverage case studies to enhance employees’ ability to manage risks. This way, learning is a connect-the-dot experience tied to employees’ real-life situations. 

Ensuring the workforce is well-trained to recognize potential risks is fundamental to ethical and responsible business practices. As workplace culture evolves, broadening the definition of “corporate culture” to include a wider range of priorities becomes essential for organizational success. 

The Path Forward in Ethical Corporate Governance 

The integration of GRC with robust learning programs significantly strengthens efforts to build an ethical workplace culture. By prioritizing ethical culture and equipping employees with the right tools and knowledge, businesses can ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and uphold their reputation. This underscores the winning formula of combining GRC with Learning for responsible business practices. 

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