Corporate Integrity in the New Era
Over the last couple of years, businesses have witnessed drastic changes in ways of conducting their operations, both regionally and globally. With supply chains disrupted and hybrid modes of working becoming the new reality, businesses have now had to deal with new challenges in enforcing high standards of integrity and ethics in their operations.
The results of the recent EY 2022 Global Integrity Report reveal that while the pandemic has made it harder for businesses to act with integrity, more companies than ever still value corporate integrity and its benefits to reputation and employee retention. According to some of its key findings: 55% of respondents believe that standards of integrity have either stayed the same or have worsened over the last 18 months; 41% of respondents (and 54% of surveyed board members) believe that the pandemic made it more difficult to carry out business with integrity, with 18% of board members prepared to mislead external parties (auditors or regulators) to improve their own career progression or remuneration. Only 28% of employees are confident that third parties abide by relevant laws and regulations, with 33% considering ethical standards as an important characteristic of integrity. Also, 42% of surveyed board members agree that unethical behavior in senior or high performers is tolerated in their respective organizations (up from 34% in 2020). Companies in recent times have also been focusing their efforts on reinforcing integrity values through communication and training, with many having a code of conduct in place (53% vs. 47%), investing in integrity training programs (46% vs. 38%) as well as having a statement of organizational values (37% vs. 34%).
The report further reveals how a greater focus on governance by corporate boardrooms can help reimagine integrity in the new era. It also outlines various steps that companies can take to instill integrity into their culture along with creating an optimal environment for integrity to thrive, thereby minimizing external threats, and ensuring long-term value. Finally, it sounds a warning bell to corporate boards, chief legal officers, and compliance officers to bridge the gaps that currently exist between the board, the management, and the employees to ensure a more heightened focus on integrity and ethics within their respective firms, along with highlighting the key benefits of data analytics to deliver more effectively towards these long-term goals.
The report surveyed a total of 4,762 executives spread around 54 countries and territories worldwide between June and September 2021.
To read the full report visit: https://assets.ey.com/content/dam/ey-sites/ey-com/en_gl/topics/assurance/assurance-pdfs/ey-global-integrity-report-2022.pdf