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#FutureOfPR: PR Must Help Broker, Integrate, and Synthesise Ethical Compliance Functions


The Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) based in Washington, D.C., just released its 2019 Global Business Ethics Survey of 18,000 employees in 18 countries, entitled “Global Differences in Employees’ Views of Ethics & Compliance (E&C) Program Maturity.”

ECI – of which I’m a member – is a best practice community of organizations committed to creating and sustaining high-quality ethics and compliance programs. ECI’s mission is to empower its members across the globe to operate their businesses and organizations at the highest levels of integrity.

As strategic communicators, we PRCA members and affiliated organizations must strive to broker, integrate, and synthesise for our clients and employers the best practices not only of ethical conduct but also of meaningful, credible compliance mechanisms that can help assure diverse stakeholders of management’s verifiable follow-through with ethical codes of conduct.

As the maxim goes, “Trust… but verify.”

This essential element, however, is wholly missing writ large in some organizations’ approach to #PRethics.

The #FutureOfPR and its role not only in the C-Suite but also in the board room require that public relations professionals command the knowledge base and the internal persuasive strategies necessary to ensure ethical compliancenot lip service (the latter of which actually destroys trust over time if words are proven meaningless in documented or even perceived policies and behaviours).

ECI’s Global Business Ethics Survey sheds light on several key points relevant to this task, specific to whether senior managers view that…

  • “…E&C is central to their organisation’s strategy”
  • “…E&C risks are identified, owned, and mitigated”
  • “…leaders build and sustain a culture of integrity”
  • “…the organization encourages, protects and values reporting of concerns”
  • “…their organization takes action and holds itself accountable when wrongdoing occurs.”

As a public relations professional, do you know the answers to these questions of how senior managers view these critical factors in your own organization?

If you don’t know these answers, then you (and your board / C-suite management team) should uncover them. The implications for your organization’s sound brand-reputation strategy could not be more deeply rooted.

Mary Beth West, MPRCA, is a U.S.-based individual member of PRCA and affiliated as a senior strategist with Fletcher Marketing PR.  She can be contacted via e-mail, and followed on Twitter, @marybethwest.