Why do people share information? The answer to that question has important implications for every compliance practitioner and compliance program. In the context of 360-degrees of communication, the sharing of information, was considered by Bryan Kramer in “Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy. It is a study of how, what, where, when and why people and brands share.

The answer comes down to one thing: connection. He found that “People all have the desire to reach out and connect with other people, whether it’s through sharing content and having someone reply back or by sharing other people’s content and helping them out.” Kramer identified six types of people who share:

  • Altruist: Someone who shares something specific about one topic all the time.
  • Careerist: Someone who wants to become a thought leader in their own industry, so they can see their career grow.
  • Hipster: Someone who likes to try things for the first time and share it faster than everyone else.
  • Boomerang: Someone who asks a question so they can receive a comment only to reply.
  • Connector: Someone who likes to connect one or more persons to each other.
  • Selective: This is the observer.

All of these categories are relevant to a CCO or compliance practitioner in considering the use of social media in a compliance program. They describe not only the reasons to use social media but they can also help you to identify who in your organization might be inclined to use social media and how it can facilitate your compliance program going forward.

The Altruist, Hipster and Careerist speak to how a CCO or compliance practitioner can be seen in getting out the message of compliance throughout your organization. Whichever category you might fall into, it is still about the message or content going forward. There is nothing negative in being one or the other if your message is useful. There is certainly nothing wrong with incorporating a little Hipster into your communication skills. As my daughter often reminds me, Dad you are so uncool that you are retro, but that is cool too. Applying that maxim to your compliance regime, if you can communicate in a manner your workforce sees as interesting or even hip, it may well help incorporation of that message into corporate DNA.

The Boomerang, Connector and Selective categories as good ways to think about how your customer base in compliance (i.e. your employees) might well use social media tools to communicate with the compliance function. The use of social media is certainly a two-way street and every compliance practitioner must be ready to accept those communications back to you. Indeed, some comments by your customer base could be the most important interactions that you have with employees as their comments or questions could lead you to uncovering issues which may have arisen before they become Code of Conduct or compliance violations. More importantly, it could allow you to introduce a proscriptive solution which moves your program beyond even the prevent phase.

A key message is that companies do not write the way they speak, and do not speak the language of their employees. [Even more true for lawyers!] Compliance can be seen as a brand and “brands and the people representing those brands need to change their language. If they focus on the title and the quality of the content, among other things, it’ll resonate more with their audience.”

Sharing is a primary method to communicate and connect. In any far-flung international corporation this is always a challenge, particularly for discipline which can be viewed as home office overhead at best; the Land of No populated by Dr. No at worst. Work to hone your message through social media. Part of this is based on experimenting on what message to send and how to send it. Another aspect was based upon the Wave (of all things); its development and coming to fruition in the early 1980s. It took some time for it to become popular but once it was communicated to enough disparate communications, it took off, literally. “It’s the same thing with social media. On social media, we think something will go viral because the art is beautiful or the science is full of deep analytics, but at the end of the day it really takes time to build the community.”

This means that you will need to work to hone your message but also continue to plug away to send that message out. The Morgan Stanley Declination will always be instructional as one of the stated reasons the Department of Justice (DOJ) did not prosecute the company as they sent out 35 compliance reminders to its workforce, over 7 years. Social media can be used in the same cost effective way, to not only get the message of compliance out but also to receive information and communications back from your customer base, the company employees. 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. What makes your employees want to share information?
  2. Facilitate mechanisms which allow sharing with the compliance function.
  3. The Morgan Stanley declination still resonates.

 

This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.  Dun & Bradstreet’s compliance solutions provide comprehensive due diligence reporting and analysis to reduce your risk of working with fraudulent companies by accessing a company’s beneficial ownership, reputation risk and more.  For more information, go to dnb.com/compliance.

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