Top 6 Takeaways from the 18th Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute 2019


Every year, SCCE brings together the best and brightest from across the compliance and ethics world for the Compliance & Ethics Institute. This year was jam packed with sessions, keynotes, conversations, and insight…and we’ve boiled down our six key takeaways and hot topics from the meeting.

1) How to engage with, and what information to present the board

Gone are the days of reporting on helpline call volume and training completions. Compliance practitioners are acquiring more tools in their toolboxes and are now upping the ante. Compliance leaders are striving to increase board meeting cadence and are including more meaningful agenda items like compliance risk assessment data tied to other operational metrics. The goal is for the board to understand their company’s program in practice and see ethics and compliance as foundational to business.

2) Just-in-time is key

As we heard from many well-versed practitioners during the conference, the DOJ wants companies to evolve their programs. Updated DOJ Guidance expressly calls out:

(i) The operational integration of policies/procedures; and
(ii) Providing targeted guidance and training to key gatekeepers in the control processes (e.g., those with approval authority or certification responsibilities).

It’s no surprise that the chatter of “operationalizing compliance” was abuzz down the long hallways of the Gaylord National Resort. In case you missed it, Harper Wells, Director of Compliance Insights & Strategy presented on this topic. She shared how she used adaptive training data, along with other data points, to identify risk areas where just-in-time guidance could fill gaps and reinforce compliance. She and her co-presenters also workshopped through this how-to guide for deploying just-in-time messaging into transactional business processes.

3) Behavioral Sciences (BeSci) made its debut

Studying the motivations and behaviors of people proved to be an emerging topic that resonated with conference attendees. There’s strong science that supports deploying BeSci tactics in order to raise awareness and change the behaviors of employees. Christian Hunt of Human Risk walked attendees through how the human brain works, how we make decisions, and the evolution of motivation. He also tied these tactics to real-world use cases in the compliance space. This is a progressive concept – expect to see more of this at future events.

4) Updated Doj guidance was front and center

Everyone is talking about how to evolve into data driven programs that demonstrate program efficacy. The latest guidance very clearly nullifies paper programs and asks specifically for a measurement of effectiveness, proof of evolution and the program being able to ‘work in practice’. With each aspect of the program clearly identified, it will be more important than ever to be able to speak to how data from each element is influencing and informing the compliance program strategy. Three areas that ranged at the top were risk assessment data, investigations data and behavioral data. Each organization should take a close look on how this data is gathered, analyzed and their utilized to ensure the program is ‘working in practice’ and constantly evolving to increase its effectiveness.

5) Artificial Intelligence (AI) made a statement

AI is widely talked about, but as compliance professionals we need to understand what it is, how we can leverage it, and considerations for implementation. With diverging opinions on where all AI can be used ethically, this is still a nascent landscape that holds a lot of promise and interest but did not have any clear examples shown at the conference.

6) Training and awareness continue to be a hot topic

Whether you’re operating on a shoestring budget or are looking to get creative with communications, people were sharing ideas and best practices. Biggest pain points were reducing seat time and increasing engagement. Adaptive learning and using behavioral performance data were recommended as preferred ways to reduce seat time, assess effectiveness and increase engagement rather than either simplifying training to be very high level, or reduce the scope of material covered.


Overall, the emerging trends were a good balance of the risks we tackle as compliance professionals of regulatory landscape change, strengthening internal controls and better understanding and leveraging the most important aspect of them all, employee mindset and the science behind their decision making.

Want to learn more about any of the topics above? Let’s chat!



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