One of the key points that representatives of the DOJ and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have continually raised when discussing any best practices compliance program. The 2012 FCPA Guidance is clear that there should be incentives for not only following your own company’s internal Code of Conduct but also doing business the right way, i.e., not engaging in bribery and corruption. On incentives, the 2012 FCPA Guidance said, “DOJ and SEC recognize that positive incentives can also drive compliant behavior. incentives can take many forms such as personnel evaluations and promotions, rewards for improving and developing a company’s compliance program, and rewards for ethics and compliance leadership. Some organizations, for example, have made adherence to compliance a significant metric for management’s bonuses so that compliance becomes an integral part of management’s everyday concern.” But it also recognizes that incentives need not only be limited to financial rewards as sometimes simply acknowledging employees for doing the right thing can be a powerful tool as well

Incentives can be integrated into the DNA of a company through the hiring and promotion processes. There should be a compliance component to all senior management hires and promotions up to those august ranks within a company. Your HR function can be a great aid to your cause in driving the right type of behavior through the design and implementation of such structures. Employees know who gets promoted and why. If someone who is only known for hitting their numbers continually is promoted, however they accomplished this feat will certainly be observed by his or her co-workers.

 Three key takeaways:

  1. The DOJ 2019 Guidance specifically calls out incentives for doing business ethically and in compliance.
  2. HR can lead the efforts around incentives.
  3. Incentives go beyond financial rewards.