It’s not always easy to do the right thing or to make ethical decisions in a complex business environment. People get lost inside large organizations and group think can overwhelm even normally ethical individuals. Converscent has created a platform to help, and today it announced a new benchmarking dashboard to allow companies to measure just how well they are doing from an ethical perspective.
In recent times, we’ve witnessed the impact it has when companies don’t behave ethically. Converscent CEO Patrick Quinlan says that there is real cost for behaving badly both in terms of dollars and reputation. He believes that it’s in a company’s best interest to stay on top of undesirable behavior before it spirals out of control.
Quinlan pointed out whether it’s the diesel scandal at Volkswagen or the sexual harassment revealed by Susan Fowler at Uber, it has changed the conversation about ethics. He says it’s no longer just about bottom line financial results, how you behave as a company matters too in the court of public opinion and in financial markets.
He believes this can be measured and the Converscent Ethics Dashboard is designed to provide metrics about how well your company is complying with a set of internal guidelines. The Conversent platform includes components to enable employees to safely report bad practices going on in a company such as bribery, corruption, sexual harassment and more. A more automated API driven system pulls in data from a variety of internal systems and analyzes that for ethical gaps.
Much like companies audit their financial systems, you can start to audit how ethical the organizational structure is and how negative behavior is being handled. The company not only looks at internal data, it can help customers benchmark against others in their industries. Quinlan says that it’s possible to spot a trend even before someone reports it.
“Sometimes you have this interactive code of conduct, where there’s a new vice president in a region and suddenly page views on the sexual harassment section of the Code of Conduct have increased 200% in the 90 days after he started. That’s easy, right? There’s a reason that’s happening, and our system will actually tell you what’s happening,” Quinlan explained.
He says trend reporting like this can help a company spot a problem before it spirals out of their control. In other cases, it may be more subtle, but Converscent can pick up less obvious trends as well.
Conversent, which launched in 2013, has raised almost $72 million. They have 630 customers with 6.4 million employees accessing the Converscent platform. Customers include Kimberly Clark, Microsoft, Capgemini and Under Armour.
By Ron Miller