The week of Thanksgiving is the time of our annual trip to the most beautiful and unique city on earth-Venice, Italy. With travel to Italy shut down this year due to Covid-19, I am visiting Venice virtually and mining this rich city for compliance lessons. Today’s lesson come from the Arsenale and incentives in compliance. This is not a precursor to that famous north London football club, the Arsenal Gunners, but the district in Venice where one of the main commercial enterprises of the city took place, that being ship building and ship repair. At one point, the Arsenale employed almost 10% of the city’s workforce or 12,000 people.

I picked up some interesting compliance insights in learning more about the Arsenale. On the incentive side there were several mechanisms the City of Venice used to help make the Arsenale work force more loyal and desirous to stay in their jobs, all for the betterment of themselves and their city. The first was job security. The Arsenale was so busy for so many years that lay-offs were unheard of. Even if someone lost their job, through injury, mishap or worse; they received enough of compensation that they could live in the city. Finally, when a worker died, the company provided not only funeral expenses but would assist in taking care of the family through stipends or finding other work for family members.