A massive 29% of employees observed at least one compliance violation at work in 2016 or 2017 – and these employees are twice as likely to leave the organisation.
This is according to a survey by Gartner which sampled more than 5 000 employees at all levels.
Fifty-nine percent of the sampled employees who observed a compliance violation were actively looking for a new job, compared with 29% who did not witness bad behaviour.
“While attrition is not an obvious area of concern for compliance executives, it should be,” says Brian Lee, compliance practice leader at Gartner. “Employee misconduct and the failure of compliance to address it plays a considerable role in motivating employees to leave their current organisation.”
Lee says this sensation is particularly prevalent among employees whose exodus comes with the gravest impact.
Those employees who are willing to report misconduct are those with high standards of personal integrity as well as those who exhibit the most discretionary effort.
In this Gartner survey, 67% of employees who exhibit superior discretionary effort and have witnessed noncompliance reported actively seeking a job with another company. This is compared with only 26% of employees who exhibit superior discretionary effort but have not witnessed non-compliance.
For compliance executives, the departure of employees — especially those who are among a company’s most mission-critical — should be deemed as a warning of possible underlying compliance-related issues, not simply as a generic human capital ebb and flow or an HR issue with little relevance for compliance.
Employee attrition costs large organisations millions of dollars each year and the loss of a particularly conscientious employee can be debilitating, not just to culture and morale, but to employee productivity.
This finding reinforces the mandate of leaders to create and promote a culture of integrity. Employees of organisations with low-integrity cultures are two to three times more likely than employees of organisations with high-integrity cultures to observe misconduct.
“Culture is contagious. If managers and executives demonstrate ethical behaviour, employees see the importance of being compliant in their day-to-day workflow and their workplace as whole,” says Lee.
“When leaders set a model example, they can communicate to employees with similarly high standards that their organization is in alignment with their ethical commitments.”