How Can You Rebuild Team Trust After an Internal Investigation: The E&C Pulse - January 29, 2020

January 29, 2020 Ben DiPietro

Jan. 29, 2020

Rebuilding Team Trust After an Internal Investigation


It’s a cornerstone of any robust ethics and compliance program: The ability to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, collect facts, then administer justice.


Investigations can take a toll on the people involved, and that can affect the entire team, which is why forward-thinking organizations are working to address any issues that may arise, and to make sure employees continue to work together as a cohesive unit.


The World Bank recently created the position of anti-harassment coordinator, and hired Anne-Marie Burns, who said one of her responsibilities is “to make the work unit whole after an investigation.”


Speaking during a webinar last week with LRN’s Susan Divers, and Ethisphere Institute’s Erica Salmon Byrne, Burns said she follows up after an investigation to make sure the harassment has stopped, and that there has been no retaliation against anyone who brought forth allegations.


She checks performance appraisals to see if there’s been a substantial change in the assessment of someone who reported wrongdoing. If there has, she will speak with the manager to find out what happened. “There may be a good reason, but we will definitely ask some questions,” she said.


To help prevent this, World Bank put into place measures to have some variation in the evaluation process, to assure additional oversight given the particular circumstances of an investigation.


“We try to be proactive and not wait until it happens to send a signal that we will monitor closely,” said Burns. “If something strange happens, we will be there immediately to ask questions.”


Traditionally, employees who reported were not given much information, an approach the World Bank felt was needed to protect confidentiality, but the need for information was one of the concerns brought forward by a working group that studied the matter, said Burns. Now, those who report are kept informed throughout the process.


Another innovative way organizations are working to maintain trust with those who report is by having them take a short survey once the process is completed, and a decision was rendered, according to Divers, citing one of LRN's partners.


Asking questions such as if they were treated with respect, did they agree with the decision, and allowing them a place to offer comments can go a long way to make sure people don’t feel disenfranchised, or that their concerns were being white-washed.


It’s imperative to focus on managers, as they are the people employees most often turn to first to raise a concern, said Salmon Byrne. 


“Are managers prepared? Do they know what to do when someone raises concerns? The experience an employee has there has a tremendous impact on how they feel about their professional future at that organization,” said Salmon Byrne. “Are you going to come back next time? The way you were treated during the process is really important.”


Emphasizing organizational justice, holding everyone including senior leaders accountable, and exhibiting moral leadership are ways organizations with high-performing ethics and compliance programs distinguish themselves, said Divers.


Leaders who rarely or never demonstrate moral leadership are 10 times more likely to treat people unfairly, and five times more likely to prioritize short-term results over the long-term mission, according to LRN’s 2019 Moral Authority Report.


“Ethics and compliance is playing much more of a leadership role to get people to think about values rather than rules,” said Divers. 


This is vital because every big company that gets implicated in one sort of scandal or another has a code of conduct, a set of controls in place to deter bad behavior, detailed policies in place. “But that hasn’t prevented scandals from unfolding,” said Divers.


“What you’re asking people to do is think differently about their behavior, and that is a very different conversation that requires us to step out of the legal, regulatory box and think more broadly,” said Salmon Byrne.


                                                                                                            BEN DIPIETRO




What are some of the top business risks of 2020? Insurance carrier Allianz recently published its ninth annual Risk Barometer, surveying more than 2,700 risk management experts to identify the top 10 business risks in 2020. Are you prepared?





LRN's #HOWMatters series fosters conversations with world-recognized thinkers and experts on valuable trends and ideas. We invite you to revisit the best of our #HOWMatters discussions as we seek to “think higher and feel deeper" in 2020.






There is a wide disparity in trust between those people Edelman defines in its Trust Barometer as the "informed public" and the "mass population." Those in the informed public get a trust index score of 65 for their trust of institutions such as business, government, media, and NGOs, while those in the mass population come in at a 51. The informed public had trust scores above 60 for all bust government; the mass population has none of the four institutions above 55.




Corruption is the greatest challenge facing Latin America, says the OECD.


Goldman Sachs says it won't take companies public unless they have at least one "diverse" candidate on their board.


The cleanest 5% of the world’s countries account for nearly one-third of all FCPA penalties, Harry Cassin writes in the FCPA Blog.


The New Orleans Saints are in court to prevent the release of documents that show the NFL team helped the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans in limiting fallout from a church sexual abuse scandal, New York Post reports.


What will the next 10 years bring in the field of behavioral science? Evan Nesterak imagines the future in Behavioral Scientist.


Greater Good magazine looks at what makes for a successful workplace diversity program, and how to avoid unintended consequences.


NPR looks at the question of how much information the public should have when it comes to research involving risky viruses?


The U.K. Serious Fraud Office put out new guidance for how to evaluate compliance programs.


Former pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor received more than five years in prison for his role in a bribery scheme to get doctors to prescribe opioids.


Intelligence and partnerships are needed to fight financial crime, Deloitte writes.


Ron Carucci writes in Forbes about whether your leadership team may be setting a bad example for what is acceptable in the organization.



"I had thought the destination was what was important, but it turned out it was the journey.”

- Clayton M. Christensen, author, educator



Can a person's reputation be so tarnished it can't be damaged any further? It's a question a court may have to decide after O.J. Simpson sued a Las Vegas casino for leaking information he was banned from the facility for poor behavior in a bar, which he says harms his reputation. The casino claims it's impossible for Simpson to be defamed, given the notoriety from his murder trial, and later, his nine-year prison sentence brandishing guns in an attempt to retrieve some of his personal memorabilia items from two men. Sometimes, it's hard to outrun one's past.


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