Improving Your Compliance Program Through a Culture of Speak Up

Thomas Fox - Compliance Evangelist

Thomas Fox - Compliance Evangelist


I recently concluded a podcast series with Case IQ. Over this series, I visited with Sharlyn Lauby, Jakub Ficner, Kenneth McCarthy, and Meric Bloch on the different facets of a great speak-up regime and how each of those facets will improve your corporate culture. We tackled such topics as the indicia of a great corporate culture, the importance of triage and internal investigations in improving corporate culture, non-retaliation and protections for those who speak up, tying your entire system of speaking up to improving culture, and will conclude with some thoughts on how an entire system of speaking up drives corporate culture to be better run and more profitably. This blog post series will expand on these topics. In Part 4, we will consider how to improve your overall compliance program through a robust culture of speaking up with Meric Bloch.

Meric Bloch is passionate about investigations. Meric created the Winter Method® for conducting workplace investigations, a methodology emphasizing root-cause analysis and business-related guidance. The Winter Method is a framework for investigators to consider the business risks created when misconduct arises. He designed, implemented, and managed workplace-investigations processes globally for three multinational companies and a healthcare system. He has trained thousands of HR, internal audit, legal, and compliance professionals to conduct investigations.

Meric has conducted over 800 internal fraud and serious workplace misconduct investigations globally. He has extensive professional experience counseling business executives on the legal and business issues arising from investigations. He is on the faculty of the Society of Corporate Investigations and Ethics’ Investigations and Ethics Academy, as well as a member of its Board of Directors. Finally, Meric is a Certified Fraud Examiner, a Certified Financial Crime Specialist, a Certified Information Privacy Professional – Europe, a Professional Certified Investigator, and a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional-Fellow.

Workplace investigations are crucial in maintaining a culture of compliance within organizations. Meric, who specializes in training investigators and improving investigation processes, emphasized the need for organizations to create a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting issues and understand their role. He highlighted the challenge of integrating a culture of speaking up within organizations, stating that it goes beyond just setting up a hotline and establishing policies. Instead, organizations need to understand who is speaking up and why.

One of the key points raised by Meric is the importance of making speaking up meaningful and credible. He pointed out that companies often must communicate what should be reported, leading to employee clarity. To address this, organizations need to go beyond generic statements and provide specific guidance on what constitutes a reportable issue. By doing so, employees will better understand their role and the importance of their contribution to maintaining compliance.

Another challenge highlighted by Meric is the need for follow-up interviews and reporter education. He stressed the need for organizations to engage with reporters and gather additional information to understand better the context and potential gaps in the initial report. This not only helps in conducting thorough investigations but also ensures that reporters feel valued and supported throughout the process.


Meric also discussed the importance of addressing friction points within organizations. He mentioned that employees often hesitate to speak up due to concerns about the involvement of headquarters or fear of retaliation. Organizations must actively address these concerns and create an environment where employees feel safe and supported when reporting issues.

Organizations must move beyond passive measures such as hotlines and policies to create a culture of speaking up. They must actively engage with employees, educate them about their role in the process, and provide clear guidance on what should be reported. By doing so, organizations can foster a culture of compliance where employees feel empowered to speak up and contribute to maintaining ethical standards.

The podcast episode highlighted the importance of workplace investigations and employee compliance culture. It emphasized the need for organizations to go beyond superficial measures and actively engage with employees to create a meaningful and credible reporting system. Organizations can build a culture that values integrity and ethical behavior by addressing the challenges associated with speaking up and maintaining compliance.

Join us tomorrow to discuss how a robust culture of speaking up will make your organization run better and have greater profitability.

Listen to Meric Bloch on Innovation in Compliance here.


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Thomas Fox - Compliance Evangelist

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