To: All Employees:
From: The Compliance Team
Subject: New Ethics and Compliance Policy
It is critical that we strive to build a corporate culture that is characterized by good, goodness, wellness, honesty, respect, cleanliness, honor and nobility, as well as straight shooting, true blue-ness, square dealing and other nouns.
Therefore, effective immediately, we are implementing a new ethics, conduct and compliance policy across all departments. This new policy was carefully crafted by our management team and board of directors–with input from a group of incarcerated former CEOs. (This is similar to hiring a former computer hacker to help you secure your corporate network.)
Because the new ethics, conduct and compliance policy is extremely clear and needs no further explanations, there are no accompanying FAQs, and there will be no all hands meeting to discuss it. The following are some key excerpts. (Note: The full text has been posted on the company intranet that we decommissioned last May.)
- SALES TECHNIQUES: When attempting to sell our product to foreign governments, the amount of any bribe you pay may not exceed the value of the contract you are trying to win.
- PROCUREMENT GUIDELINES: You must go through our formal RFP process to solicit bids from at least three vendors on any new initiative over $1 million. However, no single vendor may actually write more than 95% of the RFP.
- TRUTH IN MARKETING: No more than three claims you know to be false or misleading should appear in any given press release.
- TRAVEL EXPENSES: When submitting travel expense reports, you will not be reimbursed for more than three in-flight cocktails per every hour of flight time.
- WORKPLACE SAFETY: Every effort shall be made to achieve 100% employee safety in all departments and buildings, except our heavy manufacturing facility where we can’t guarantee anything. In that building we are aiming for at least 10 consecutive days without an incident.
- EMPLOYEE RELATIONS: At least 10% of the words in an annual written employee review must be different from the prior year’s review. In addition, all reviews must be completed within six months following an employee’s departure.
- UNION ACTIVITIES: It is forbidden to prevent any union-related activities or otherwise harass or intimidate our union employees. (On a related note, the rumors you may have heard that it was the union people that dinged your car in the parking lot some time in the last year are totally baseless.)
- ENVIRONMENT: You will be pleased to hear that we have disposed of all of our recycling bins and plastic trash containers at an ecologically friendly recycling center that maintains a “zero landfill” policy.
- WHISTLEBLOWERS: Whistleblowers may report suspected wrongdoing at any time. However the use of whistles is not permitted within 500 yards of our corporate campus.
- FINANCIAL REPORTING: Our high volume shredders are the most important weapons in our compliance arsenal. Employees in the finance and accounting department must oil, clean and test these machines at least four (4) days prior to the release of each quarterly earnings statement.
- SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE WORKPLACE: All employees are free to use social media at work. However, prior to doing so, you must disconnect your keyboard, mouse and monitor.
We want you to know about several other important steps we have taken to demonstrate our corporate commitment to ethical and legal behavior.
First, to encourage compliance by all employees, we have set up an employee hotline that is fully staffed “1 x 1“ (1 hour a day, 1 day per week), by which any employee can report suspected violations of the policy. All submissions to the hotline will be stored in a secure, climate-controlled shed in a lawless, war-torn country.
Lastly, to ensure you fully understand our new ethics, conduct and compliance policy, there will be an online test administered at 5 pm today. (Due to the late notice, we have pre-populated all answer fields with the correct answers, so all you have to do is enter your name and click “SUBMIT.”)
Thank you for your time.
The Compliance Team
Bob London is President of London, Ink, a full-service marketing and communications consulting firm in the Washington, DC area. He serves as a Virtual VP of Marketing for businesses that need an injection of senior-level marketing and communications strategy, planning and execution. Learn more at www.londonink.com.