The Official Broadcat Guide to Creating an Ethics Ambassador Program
Compliance programs are often over-utilized and under-funded. If we’re lucky, our budget is big enough to have quality training and a functioning helpline. But after that, there’s hardly any budget left, and certainly not enough to hire the people we need to communicate compliance and ethics to our employees.
This means two things: 1) we need to get creative, and 2) we NEED the business to own compliance.
No way, get out! | Source: CBC
You're not a dreaming, and it's totally achievable. If you missed it, earlier this month, Kitty spilled her secrets on doing more with less. And today, we're building on those strategies and talking about developing a network of ethics ambassadors. 🌟
If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, ethics ambassadors are a group of people within your organization who have “day jobs” outside of ethics and compliance, are located throughout the org, and are already familiar faces to the people in their locations. (It really can’t get much better!)
Now, I’m not psychic but I have an idea of what you’re thinking: “This sounds great and is my dream, but I don’t have time to take a lunch break, let alone do this.”
That’s exactly why you need to do this. You need help.
Here’s your solution in two simple steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Ethics Ambassadors
There’s no exact science to identifying your ethics ambassadors. Really, they can be anyone willing to fill the role. But I recommend you proceed with caution—they’ll be an extension of you and your program, which means you need to choose carefully. At the bare minimum, they should naturally embody the culture of ethics you’re aiming for so they can lead by example.
And the good news? These people are relatively easy to find! You might not know them, but I can almost guarantee that your site leadership or local HR representative will have a few recommendations top-of-mind. Once you’ve identified those individuals, make sure you can answer “yes” to these questions before making it official:
💎 Are they in good standing with HR?
🎖️ Do they have their manager’s support?
🎬 Are they in a director-level position or lower?
⏱️ Can they dedicate approx. 5% of their time to this role?
And that’s it! You have your first ethics ambassador. Now just rinse and repeat a few more times, and you’re ready for the next step…
Step 2: Create Structure Around Your Program
When I say “structure,” picture a structure made out of Legos. Once you build it, it’s stable and it works, but you can also adjust it as necessary.
The sky's the limit! | Source: The Lego Movie
This is how your Ethics Ambassador Program will be. It's a learning process, and if you’re doing it right, your program will evolve and change over time. But there are a few things to keep in mind when building the foundation:
📢 Communicate, communicate, communicate. Specifically, think about the life cycle of the information you want to share and how the different channels intersect. Ask yourself:
- How will I effectively communicate my expectations to ambassadors?
- How will ambassadors relay my message to employees?
- How will ambassadors inform me of important information they come across?
🗓️ Consistency is key. Schedule quarterly meetings with your ambassadors so they’re engaged with your program. Make sure they’re never uncertain about what they should be doing or what messages they need to focus on communicating.
📂 Make it easy. This is most likely a volunteer role, so if you want their help, you need to meet them halfway. If you ask your ambassadors to distribute a Broadcat resource or host a lunch-and-learn, make sure the materials are ready for them to grab and go. This means that the design is done, translations are ready, files are in a folder on the intranet, and your ambassadors know how to use them. This way, you’ll have a consistent message across your organization.
Once you’ve accomplished the above, you’ve officially launched your Ethics Ambassador Program. 🚀 Of course, there are more intricacies that will go into your program over time, but that shouldn’t prevent you from getting started. (In fact, a strong program might even lead you to welcome those intricacies!)
Keep your eye on the prize and reach out if you have any questions. That’s what we’re here for!
Wanna learn more about putting together an Ethics Ambassador program? Get started by downloading our Guide to Leader-led Training. Then, tune in to our free Ethics Ambassador Showcase on April 12, 2023 at 11AM CT for tips and tricks on everything from building your program to incentivizing your team.