What is Corporate Compliance?

Compliance means legal and compliant behavior. Every employee in his company has the obligation to comply with company-specific and statutory rules in his or her professional activities. Every employee influences the reputation of the company through his or her professional activities. While it takes years to build up a good reputation, it can be damaged from one second to the next by the thoughtless and irregular actions of just one individual employee. To prevent this, all employees must understand the importance of compliance.

Compliance – a strategic focus of corporate communications

In recent years, a series of spectacular scandals has brought the area of compliance into the limelight of a broad public. Companies have now realized that the success of a business depends to a large extent on the extent to which every employee is guided in his or her actions by the principles that protect the company's reputation. Compliance becomes an important part of corporate culture, serves as an internal control and early warning system, supports quality assurance and is a constant value driver in the company as an image factor.

Systematic compliance communication as cornerstone of corporate reputation

As a topic of internal communication, compliance communication includes a wide variety of measures. In addition to providing information and clarification about the applicable guidelines and legal principles, employees also need to be trained and the dry topic of compliance needs to be made tangible for them.

Compliance should not only be understood as a restrictive code of conduct. Rather, it is a matter of integrating compliance into the self-image of entrepreneurial action as well as integrating it into all work and business processes in advance. In order to achieve these goals, suitable and tailored employee communication on compliance issues is an important success factor.


Whistleblowing - Whistleblower Protection Act (Hinweisgeberschutzgesetz - HinSchG) creates facts and a need for action

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Giving employees the opportunity to report violations of rules confidentially or even anonymously to the compliance department is now standard practice, at least in large companies. When the Hinweisgeberschutzgesetz (HinSchG) comes into force on July 2, 2023, smaller companies with 250 or more employees will also be obliged to offer an internal or external reporting option for violations (whistleblowing via hotline, mail or app) – and also to ensure that employees know that it exists.

From December 17, 2023, the regulation will then be mandatory for companies with 50 or more employees. This means that company management must quickly create the organizational conditions for the reporting process, if it has not already done so. Otherwise, there is a risk of heavy fines.

Just as importantly, communications decision-makers must set up suitable compliance employee communications on the subject of whistleblowing. This should meet three requirements: It should be appropriate for this sensitive and conflict-prone topic in terms of style and tone, it should be tailored to the respective corporate culture, and it should be creatively designed so that it penetrates the employees' minds and remains in their memories. 

Which goals do successful companies pursue with compliance communication?

Compliance communication: Supporting employees while maintaining reputation and competitiveness – these are the two most important goals of internal communication on the subject of compliance. The topic is of central importance for the external image and the reputation of the company. That's why you shouldn't leave anything here to chance. Talk to us.
  • Increase awareness of compliance (measurable, for example, by the number of employees using the hotline and other contacts with compliance officers or an appointed ombudsperson)
  • Introduce and communicate whistleblower hotline in accordance with the requirements of the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG).
  • Initiate more dialogue, motivate employees to make contact
  • Positive approach to the topic, i.e. also breaking down the tabooing of the topic and removal of contact barriers
  • Supporting employees, offering advice, concrete help and solutions
  • Protect the company's reputation, avoid image damage
  • Uncover internal problems and correct them before they become public knowledge.
  • Avoid penalties for the company and business management
  • Creating a culture of trust, responsibility, and values
  • Demonstrate that compliance does not hinder business, but demonstrably leads to more success. In other words, compliant behavior as a motor for new projects, i.e. compliance as a business enabler.
  • Long-term: prevention of compliance incidents, avoidance of reputation losses, prevention of negative media coverage

Is your compliance communication not yet sufficiently developed? Would you like to improve your compliance communication? Are you concerned with the communication of the Whistleblower Hotline according to the Whistleblower Protection Act?

We look forward to hearing from you and talking to you.

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Practical examples

Bayer AG

Bayer AG – Global Compliance Communication