5 key insights from the 2024 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report

As geopolitical events, new technology, and regulatory developments increase the severity and frequency of risks, E&C programs are focused on their risk mitigation efforts. At LRN, a central lesson from over 10 years of primary research is that values-based programs are not only the most effective, but also correlate strongly with reduced risk and better business outcomes. This is validated in our brand-new 2024 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report, which features global data and insights from more than 1,400 E&C professionals. This report also marks 10 years of LRN benchmarking crucial data on program evolution for E&C professionals worldwide. 

But how exactly are E&C programs evolving in response to this increasingly complex risk landscape? And what do global best practices look like going into 2024? Let’s dig into five key insights from the report (which you can read in full here) and what they mean for improving ethics and compliance program effectiveness in 2024. 

Taking a values-based approach to compliance is the path forward 

Values as the principal means of motivating ethical behavior has become a fundamental principle of E&C programs, and is a best practice that has gained traction over time. According to the report, 77% of E&C professionals indicated their organization emphasizes values rather than rules to motivate ethical behavior—a 27 percentage-point increase from when LRN first asked this type of question in 2016.  

Risk mitigation and analysis are top E&C priorities for 2024 

Program effectiveness is foundational to risk mitigation. Global ethics and compliance programs ranked risk mitigation and risk analysis as their top priorities for improvement and usefulness for evaluating program impact.  

Operationalizing ethics and compliance presents challenges 

The gap between leadership and middle management when it comes to operationalizing E&C continues to grow. There is a 37 percentage-point difference between leaders and managers who lean on company values to make tough decisions—the highest gap since LRN started collecting data on this point. 

Employee-focused training is a hallmark of highly effective E&C programs 

While 74% of global E&C professionals reported making significant changes to their programs to meet the needs of employees working remotely and on a hybrid basis, companies with high-performing E&C programs were nearly 2x more likely to make these changes for their employees. 

Our report found that high-performing E&C programs are also 1.9x more likely to have their training systems improved to be more user-friendly and increase overall effectiveness. In addition, they are 1.7x more likely to both use a dedicated E&C training library for their program and use their training providers’ platform to distribute E&C training. 

The need for good data and analytics is crucial for effective risk mitigation 

 Ongoing evaluation, particularly in light of changing risks, is a key component of program effectiveness. The 2024 report found that high-performing E&C programs are 2.1x more likely to leverage data from a variety of sources to guide program focus and development—using risk analysis, misconduct trends and patterns, root cause analysis data, ethical culture surveys, training content retention, benchmarking, and much more. Notably, high-performing programs are nearly 3x as likely to benchmark against other E&C programs. This can provide global and industry-specific context on program design, one of the three fundamental criteria in the DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance.  

The key takeaway 

The 2024 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report validates a central lesson from over 10 years of primary research—values-based E&C programs are not only the most effective, but also correlate strongly with reduced risk and better business outcomes. Download a free copy of the report today to get the latest metrics and uncover best practices you can adopt right now to reduce risk and strengthen the foundations of your E&C program.