Onit

Nov 1, 2011

Why You Need a Process Management Tool to Automate Ethics & Compliance Data

Ethics and compliance should never be afterthoughts, but all too often in today’s hurried business climate, they get pushed on the back burner. In this day and age of doing more with less, ethics and compliance become another burden, one that is all too easy to just do the bare minimum with to keep operations running. But with the rise of scandals and sanctions bubbling to the surface, no company can afford to ignore them, lest they become the next Enron or Tyco.

One reason why companies may choose to do the bare minimum is because of the time and expense traditionally associated with ethics and compliance. However, with an easy-to-use legal process management tool, ethics and compliance requests can be easily submitted and managed, making the process easier, faster, and cost-effective.

Here’s how a good process management system would work for ethics and compliance: the form would sit on the company’s intranet. Any employee would be able to submit requests online, using a fully customizable form. The request could be done anonymously, not requiring the employee’s name and email address. All data would be captured at the source and populated by the company’s system of record. Depending on the type of request selected in the drop-down menu, it would be routed efficiently to the appropriate attorney and could be dealt with accordingly. The requestor could even attach documents that would help the legal department investigate the matter, such as expense reports that seem doctored or suspicious emails.

Compliance and ethics could be simple, economical, and speedy. By adding an online form, companies can enhance existing ethics hotline programs, or do away with the hotline altogether. Whistleblowers would still have complete privacy and anonymity when they submit their requests, protecting them from retaliation and backlash. Best of all, the request would be sent to the attorney best suited for dealing with the request, eliminating the need to send emails or involve a middleman. The attorney could get right to work on the matter, reviewing attached documents and formulating a plan of action, eliminating any lag time that might tip off a violator.

Extending legal process management to ethics and compliance is the next logical step in the “doing more with less” environment. It eliminates the need for a call center to collect data, allows attorneys to begin working on the matter immediately, and protects the anonymity of whistleblowers. Customizable forms make it easy to tailor the information collection process to a company’s particular needs.

Ethics and compliance don’t need to be complicated, and by using legal process management tools, they don’t have to be. Ethics and compliance can become a natural, integral part of the business process, thereby ensuring that companies avoid scandals, sanctions, and PR nightmares by promptly investigating issues.

The screen shot below shows a dialog box an employee would fill out to report an ethics violation or compliance request. In the example below, the violation was a breach of confidentiality. Once the employee submits the request, it is automatically routed to the appropriate attorney in the legal department.

 
Ethics screen shot  1024x720 resized 600

For more information on how to automate your ethics and compliance requests, contact us today for a demo.

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