High levels of change for employees creating compliance risk: Gartner

Higher frequency of “career moments” employees are experiencing is closely correlated to incidences of misconduct

High levels of change for employees creating compliance risk: Gartner - CIO&Leader

Employees are facing a greatly increased frequency of “career moments”, resulting in increased incidences of employee misconduct and more negative perceptions of corporate integrity, according to Gartner’s 2020 survey of 1,000 employees in March.

“A ‘career moment’ is a significant workplace occurrence for an employee,” said Chris Audet, research senior director with the Gartner Legal and Compliance practice. “They can take many forms, and examples include layoffs, organizational restructuring changes in leadership, or changes in job responsibility.”

Gartner analysis has shown that a higher frequency of career moments (not including promotions) is correlated to rates of observed misconduct and negative views of corporate integrity. The average employee who has experienced five to 10 career moments in the last year is more than 10 percentage points more likely to report having observed misconduct recently.

Gartner’s latest research demonstrates that the frequency of career moments has increased significantly since 2012, with dramatic implications for observations of misconduct and negative perceptions of corporate integrity (see Figure).


Figure: Percentage of Employees Experiencing Career Moments in the Past Year, 2012 vs. 2020

Source: Gartner (Aug 2020)

“This information should be ringing alarm bells for compliance leaders,” said Audet. “The COVID-19 pandemic has redirected a lot of focus to addressing urgent tactical issues, but the high levels of change and disruption have created a precarious situation for the ongoing fight against misconduct in many organizations.”

Gartner experts recommend three approaches to address this:

1)     Integrate Compliance Messaging at Key Moments

Because moments tend to drive down integrity, early intervention is crucial. Addressing low employee perceptions of corporate integrity before key moments, such as corporate, role or team changes, doubles the mitigation rate from approximately 50% to near 100% when compared to intervention after the moment has passed.

2)     Equip Managers to Lead Through Moments

Employees who feel they get the right amount of support from their managers during a career moment are 62% more likely to report misconduct than those who are neutral. To boost managers’ ability to handle these conversations compliance leaders need to create tools and frameworks that enable them to make ethical decisions in the workplace and route concerns appropriately for compliance visibility.

3)     Create Moment-Relevant Messages

Employees who believed they received the right amount of information following a career moment were 62% more likely to report misconduct than those who were neutral. An increasingly remote workforce can impact employees’ perceptions of climate and culture; it is harder to maintain team connections in this setting, and employees can’t see what their peers are doing. Creating the right messaging around compliance issues is essential at this time.


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