In our new interview series, we will be bringing together compliance futurists to talk about the compliance & ethics landscape, effective training strategies, compliance trends & patterns, and tips on creating a world-class training program. In our first interview, we are thrilled to share our conversation with Christopher Annand from Cargill. Christopher led the work that won Cargill's Brandon Hall Award for Best Advance in Learning Measurement in 2020. You can read more about Cargill's program here.
Tell us about yourself!
I have been a member of the Ethics & Compliance community since the early 2000’s; originally entering the field from within the financial services industry. I joined Cargill in late 2013 and currently serve as the Director of Operations for Cargill’s Ethics & Compliance Office, based in our global headquarters in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.
In addition to leading a global team of compliance professionals spread across four countries, I also serve as the owner of Cargill’s Global Mandatory Compliance Curriculum, where I design and deploy training courses for our onboarding, annual refresher and specialty programs. In March of this year my role will expand again to serve as an Ethics & Compliance Leader for one of Cargill’s global business groups.
What do you wish you could have told your rookie Compliance and Ethics self?
As frustrating as it can be sometimes, having the patience to focus on incremental change rather than swinging for the fences is a better way to build trust and partnership with the business. Big and splashy enhancements are always tempting but can lead to major resistance and the expense of political capital that might have come in handy when something blows up (and yes, something always blows up).
How do you define a successful Compliance & Ethics program?
In my organization, there are three components to success:
- Being focused on influencing the behavior of our employees – showing them we are their ally
- Demonstrating to the business that we care about their business – and that E&C can be a competitive differentiator
- Regularly showing value for the investment – of both time and money
What was your key takeaway from 2020?
Prior to 2017, Cargill performed a majority of its mandatory training through in-person facilitation; typically reserving online training for reacting for compliance breakdowns or sudden regulatory shifts. I spent three-years building and refining our online curriculum between 2017-2019 and getting the organization comfortable with moving to the electronic format. With 2020 seeing our workforce move to almost an exclusive remote working environment and likely having a greater mix of remote workers after the pandemic passes, that investment in an online approach is paying off in spades and positions my curriculum for even greater success in the years to come.
What’s the biggest challenge on your horizon in 2021 you plan to tackle?
While 60,000+ employees of Cargill work in an technology-enabled way, I still have a large portion of employees that are in more of a production setting where access to a company-issued computing asset is limited. Finding ways to provide access for these employees to my online curriculum or a blended variant that can increase the efficiency of reaching this audience while also increasing engagement with our program will be a big lift, but we’re working on it.
What is the one thing about Compliance and Ethics you wish we could change?
The speed that our E&C departments often have to enhance and mature in order to deal with the pace of change in the regulatory and business spaces. As many in our field know, resources (employees and budget) are limited and we often have to defend what we have, with fewer opportunities to ask for more. While I can’t remember the last time I thought my E&C job was boring (I don’t think I ever have thought that), some extra sleep would be nice from time to time.
What’s one thing about your program that you are very proud of?
How much our program has matured in so many areas since the time I joined Cargill, especially in our training and communication efforts. Cargill employees are consistently proud of the commitment to ethics and compliance through our company culture, but had less visibility with the program that supports it. Today, we have an established brand and outreach that has increased our ability to engage and support our employees before mistakes happen and our employees deserve that support.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I have a variety of interests, but my top faves at the moment are “experimental” cooking and baking in my kitchen and spending time with my first grandson during his baby years. Those two will continue to be enjoyed in the future for sure, but a real passion will come back to me about a year from now as I return to the skies as a private pilot and work on enhancing my skills in some newer aircraft than when I first trained over 15 years ago.
Where can people connect with you?
I can be reached through LinkedIn and am happy to grow my professional connections.