What you'll learn on this podcast episode
Engagement is a hot topic in the ethics and compliance space—it impacts training, communications, and overall program effectiveness. But driving engagement gets tricky when you have a global presence or employee populations with different working conditions and technologies. How can E&C professionals foster engagement in a way that resonates with everyone—and even makes it fun? In this episode of LRN’s Principled Podcast, host Dave Hansen talks with Kerry Ferwerda, the ethics and compliance manager for Europe at NSG Group, about how to plan a successful corporate ethics and compliance week. Listen in as the two discuss ideas and best practices around event content, communication, and participation.
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Guest: Kerry Ferwerda
Kerry Ferwerda is the ethics and compliance manager for Europe at NSG Group, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass and glazing products for architectural and automotive. it is also a leading supplier of technical glass products within its Creative Technology division. NSG has principal operations around the world with sales in over 100 countries.
A passionate advocate for doing business the right way, Kerry has worked within ethics and compliance for the past 10 years. During this time, Kerry has led E&C education initiatives across the group, operating across the business lines to develop and implement education programs that deliver value and embed a strong company culture.
Prior to joining ethics and compliance, Kerry worked within the group’s Automotive Glass Replacement business unit for 12 years, gaining a wealth of experience in roles across multiple departments and functional disciplines—including Finance, Operations, Supply Chain, IS, and Customer Service.
Kerry holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Technology for Business from Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
Dave Hansen is the global advocacy marketing director at LRN, an organization focused on ethics and compliance solutions that help people around the world do the right thing. His team drives LRN's customer obsession by building community, deepening customer engagement, and finding meaningful opportunities for collaboration. Dave is passionate about learning, having spent most of his career within higher education or training. He loves sharing customer stories and best practices in the name of continuous improvement. Dave is a proud dad, coffee enthusiast, drummer, and scuba diver. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and reading!
Principled Podcast transcription
Intro: Welcome to the Principled Podcast, brought to you by LRN. The Principled Podcast brings together the collective wisdom on ethics, business and compliance, transformative stories of leadership and inspiring workplace culture. Listen in to discover valuable strategies from our community of business leaders and workplace change-makers.
Dave Hansen: Engagement is a hot topic in the ethics and compliance space. It impacts training, communications, and overall program effectiveness. But driving engagement gets tricky when you have a global presence or employee populations with different working conditions and technologies. How can E&C professionals foster engagement in a way that resonates with everyone and even makes it fun? Hello and welcome to another episode of LRN's principled podcast. I'm your host, Dave Hansen, global advocacy marketing director at LRN.
Today I'm joined by Kerry Ferwerda, the ethics and compliance manager for Europe at NSG Group. Today is a topic near and dear to my heart. We're going to discuss planning your own corporate Ethics and Compliance Week. Kerry's a real expert in the space having just completed NSG's second annual global event with extremely high participation in a 96% satisfaction rate on average across her organization. Welcome, Kerry.
Kerry Ferwerda: Hi. Thanks for inviting me.
Dave Hansen: So let's get things started. Please tell us a little bit more about NSG and your most recent Ethics and Compliance Week.
Kerry Ferwerda: So NSG Group is one of the world's largest manufacturers of glass and glazing products for architectural, so that is the building glass and glazing and glass solar panels. Also, we also have an automotive division, so that is glazing for both new vehicles and also replacement markets. NSG is also a leading supplier of technical glass products within our creative technology division. So that is, for example, the likes of thin glass for displays and lenses for printers. Our company has around 26,000 permanent employees with operations around the world, and we have sales in over 100 countries.
Dave Hansen: Wonderful. Can you tell us a little bit more about your Ethics and Compliance Week?
Kerry Ferwerda: Yeah, certainly. So in terms of Ethics and Compliance Week, we first held a small pilot for E&C week back in 2020 just in Brazil, and that was received really well locally. So therefore in 2021 we went global. Our theme for 2021 was back to basics there we covered such things as policies and procedures and the importance of speaking up. We actually learned so much from that year and took on board feedback, which allowed us to create a much more inclusive Ethics and Compliance Week across our whole organization in 2022.
So in 2022, we held our Ethics and Compliance Week at the end of November, and our theme for 2022 was respect. We had a tagline for the week, which was make respect visible, and this actually aligned to one of our core values at NSG, which is to respect others and unleash their potential. So it was a company-wide event held across the whole week, and it was really critical and important to us in ethics and compliance to ensure that all levels of our organization felt a part of it.
Dave Hansen: That's wonderful. So this was just your second global event. What was the motivation behind pulling together an event like this and what do you hope to accomplish when you host an Ethics and Compliance Week?
Kerry Ferwerda: So for us Ethics and Compliance Week, it really is an opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on the importance of ethics and compliance for us to create awareness, but also a reinforcement message. We wanted to put ethics and compliance on the forefront of everybody's mind across the organization and a week dedicated to ethics and compliance allows us to do just that. Hopefully we chose a theme that really resonated with our colleagues and allows them the time to reflect on the topic and also how they can apply it in their own working and also personal environment. We wanted an event which obviously generates and promotes healthy discussion around the arena of ethics and compliance, and also opens conversations about respect within the organization. NSG really promotes a strong culture of ethical behavior within the group, and Ethics and Compliance Week really helped us to reinforce that.
Dave Hansen: That makes plenty of sense. What does this look like in practice? What was on the agenda for your Ethics and Compliance Week? How did you determine what was on the agenda? Can you please tell us a little bit more about that?
Kerry Ferwerda: Yeah, certainly. So in terms of coming up with the theme for the week, our ethics and compliance team, we all sat down together and we took a look at NSG core values because we really wanted to align our theme alongside this, and the one which really spoke to us at the time was respect others and unleash their potential. So that was determined what the topic for the week would be. During this brainstorm also was born the tagline, which was obviously make respect visible. Now once we'd determined that that was going to be the main topic, so respect our globally in C team, then sat down to break it down and come up with ideas around the topic.
So we wanted a theme that was different for every single day, and the themes that we came up with for each of those days were what is respect? Respect amongst each other, respectful communications, respecting group values by speaking up. Each region as well also held their own day in a topic which resonated with that region. So for example, in Europe it was microaggressions. Our South American region did a whole day about DE&I in terms of content creation. So how did we go away and come up with what we wanted to say each day. Each E and C region took a day and they went away to formulate what the content will consist of. Now this is great because actually it created a whole plethora of ideas from all across the globe.
So we came up with things like we had excerpts from ted talks, we had videos from senior leaders in the group. 12 golden rules were created as well when we were discussing respect amongst each other. We have various MS forms for interactive activities. We used infographs. We also use some of your LRN videos all to support the theme in of that particular day. We also wanted to inject some fun. So there were daily Wordle challenges, some regions around competitions for participating in activities or we also gave out calendars, which were very much relating to Ethics and Compliance Week.
In terms of the week for us, both the opening and the closing of Ethics and Compliance Week was really important. So for example, Monday's topic was what is respect? So I asked some of our senior leaders to record what respect meant to them and compiled this into a short video to set the tone for the week. At the end of the week to close the week, our COO, so Munehiro Hosonuma composed a video which brought the week to a close. So in that video, Hiro explained what respect meant to him, plus how he saw strengths and our differences, and really gave across the message that open dialogue and appreciation really will make our respect visible to others.
That Friday of Ethics and Compliance Week also saw the close of our respect and annual compliance education. So we had over 12,000 people across the group take a 20 minute education module about respect, which completely linked into the topic that we were discussing. Finally, Friday also saw the opening of our ethical culture assessment, which obviously are running in conjunction with LRN. This was issued group wide and we're actually really looking forward to seeing the results. NSG last completed this survey back in 2019, so we're very much anticipating the results to see the positive changes since then.
Also on the agenda for the week, we actually celebrated our ethics role models. So our appraisal system allows employees to leave impressions for other employees or for our colleagues, and as part of that process and impression, an ethics role model badge is available to bestow as part of that process. So these badges are awarded to our colleagues who exhibit and encourage ethical conduct within the organization. So at the end of E&C Week certificates were issued to all our employees who'd been awarded these ethical role model badges over the past year to really celebrate that fact. They were actually presented to the individuals by their own regional director, which just added to the importance of the accolade that they were given in terms of ethic role model badges, and they were very well received by the individuals.
I just want to make a really important note here in terms of our communication and that is translations and making sure that the information is accessible to all the employees across the group. We had 15 different local languages to deal with and translation was done for everything. So for example, I edited and subtitled 120 videos. Every email communication, every poster, every form and SharePoint page was also translated. So internal support here was critical, and our comms team at NSG did an absolutely fantastic job helping us with that. You should also add that this does take a lot of time, so we have to make sure that you're planning enough time for that translation content to actually take place, but also to then craft that translated content into your SharePoint pages, your email communications, et cetera. So you must make sure that you have sufficient time in your plan for that.
Dave Hansen: That's such a good point though, all of the work and all of the effort that goes into making those translations and making sure that your employees can access the content in the language that's native to them, it's those little details that I think that really help with engagement. So I love that you took the time to do that.
Kerry Ferwerda: Yeah, absolutely. One of the great feedbacks that we had from 2021 was potentially we didn't reach the shop floor enough and we didn't engage across the whole organization. So one way we knew that we had to do that in 2022 was the translated content. We had to be able to reach everybody that we could across the group, and having the communication in people's local language was critical to that.
Dave Hansen: Yeah, absolutely. You discussed the content that you produce in leadership making videos. You talked about the badges and making sure that regional directors were helping groups celebrate that collection of badges. All of that is just fantastic stuff for engagement, and I know engagement is a hot topic, especially as we were talking about here with all the different audiences that you need to reach. Can you dive into that a little bit more? Who participated in your E&C Week and talk a little bit more about how you reached them?
Kerry Ferwerda: Yeah, certainly. So as I mentioned before, key to us was reaching all levels of the organization, especially because a large population of our employees are on the shop floor. They don't have access to email, they don't have access to the internet, for example. So there were two main communication strategies we used in terms of how do we reach those two different sets of people. So during the week, every employee who actually had access to email was sent to communication in their designated language around 8:00 AM local time each day. So everybody received the same communication at 8:00 AM every morning when they went into the office. We actually utilized RNs campaign manager for that, and we issued around 12 and a half thousand emails daily.
Now, those emails contained links to the videos or the specific SharePoint sites or any interactive activities for the day, but actually we received great feedback on those in terms of people really enjoyed the short digestive information that then they could go and seek out more information on specific topics that interested them, but also they could do it in their own time. They didn't have to be somewhere for a set activity. So we got great feedback on the way we did and delivered our email communications.
To reach our shop floor colleagues, there were two forms of communication. So first of all, we created a poster. It gave a very brief overview of Ethics and Compliance Week. It had our tagline on there, our logo for the week, et cetera, but it also had open QR codes, which linked to some of the interactive activities that we'd also sent out to all those who'd received it on email. We opened out those QR codes, so you didn't need to be part of an NSG network to access. You could access it through your own personal mobile so you could access the activity and complete it.
Secondly, we created something called a shift brief. Now, the intention behind this was that it was a very simple document which contained a few sentences about the day's theme. So we had a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and that was to be delivered by our shift managers at the start of every shift. So every shift that an employee attended during Ethics and Compliance Week, they had at least a few sentences to align with the theme of respect that was very much aligned to their role on the shop floor, and it was very well received, to be honest.
Now, in terms of the communication, every single communication we issued, we made sure had the same look and feel to it, and our tagline also of Make Respect Visible was highlighted on every piece of communication. Alongside that theme in terms of our communication, our group E&C function also helped us create our own teams background, which we utilized in every meeting we attended, and we also created a specific email auto signature for the week. Now, this was used in advance of Ethics and Compliance Week, and it was something we encouraged the rest of the group to also use both prior to the week itself and during in the week two.
So that was the communication strategy in terms of how we were going to reach everybody, but actually the preparation for delivery began much, much earlier. It was really important for the success of Ethics and Compliance Week that we really engaged our key stakeholders way before the event even ran. This was done in many various ways, and actually it started around six months before the event. So how did we go and do that then? So the ethics and compliance function in NSG is comparatively small. Each region has its own regional manager, so we really had to exercise our links with the business to really embed Ethics and Compliance Week across the organization.
One of the ways that we did this was we utilized our ethics network, so in NSG, ethics and compliance operate a global ethics network. Now that consists of both ethics ambassadors and ethics champions. In terms of our ambassadors, they're very much senior people within our organization, mainly at regional director level, and these are in each business unit and group function. So they're senior people who really support embedded ethics into the business. Our champions are very important and they're almost what we call our boots on the ground. So these are people within our business units who know our sites and we know their sites and their processes and really help us with communications.
So starting way back in August, bearing in mind Ethics and Compliance Week wasn't until in November, each regional ethics and compliance manager held meetings with their ambassadors to start with, and that was to slowly introduce Ethics and Compliance Week to gather their support, also to inform them how they could potentially help us to make E&C Week a success. Most of our material was available at that point so we could show them what was coming, and we got some initial feedback from that that we fed in, and also critical to this was we really needed their assistance and support in terms of cascading the communication and the message that E&C week was coming. What was it about this is what will happen within their business unit or group function.
Our champions absolutely also were involved. They were key to getting things like our shift briefs and posters into the operations, making sure the poster was hung up on the wall, making sure that the shift brief was cascaded down to all the shift managers so they knew what it was, what was expected of them because they're the ones that really knew and understood the communication cascades at their sites. Another critical point was senior management engagement, and this started way back in the early depths of planning Ethics and Compliance Week.
So our director of ethics and compliance, Lisa Watterson, took the time at the beginning to talk to our senior management about the theme to engage them, but also to really ensure their support from the top. It was really critical. We this visible show of support, our senior managers were also involved because they were asked to contribute by way of videos. They were issued most days aligned to whatever theme of the day, and all our regional ethics and compliance managers we spoke to all our business units and our group function directors in our areas to ensure their support. Also. Now, these conversations took place throughout the buildup to Ethics and Compliance Weeks starting right at the planning phase.
For us, constant communication and reinforcement of what we were trying to do was really crucial, and along those lines, every speaking opportunity that ethics and compliance attended was a chance for us to talk about Ethics and Compliance Week. For example, whether it be we would join in plant manager meetings, HR, regional career development workshops, SBU management meetings, anywhere we could access, we made sure to talk about E&C Week. We also utilized all different types of communication within the business from things like Yammer, internal bulletins, newsletters, splashes across the front pages of NSG intranet, so you name it. We took the opportunity to promote Ethics and Compliance Week as best we could.
Dave Hansen: Now I know you can't see my face, but I am grinning from ear to ear right now. That reinforcement part of events like this, it's so very, very critical just that people hear the message, hear it again, and hear it again.
Kerry Ferwerda: Absolutely.
Dave Hansen: I mean, I know you're familiar with LRN CoLab our community, but that's the same way with that. We don't shut up about it.
Kerry Ferwerda: No, absolutely. And that was one of the things that we learned actually back from 2021, we almost left it too late to start telling people about Ethics and Compliance Weeks. So when it arrived, people were a little bit like, "What's this?" Whereas last year it was very much a case of, "Okay. I've heard about this. Here's the communication. Let me take a look at it." So they understood what was coming. So it wasn't almost a shock to receive the emails or see the posters or hear about it in shift briefs because it being communicated so well prior to the event itself.
Dave Hansen: Well, being able to build upon what you did in that first year to help derive the second year is also really good. Let's shift a little bit and talk about that. How do you know that an event like this is successful? I mean, what are those data points that you collected then from past events to help inform this event or from this event to help inform next year's event?
Kerry Ferwerda: Yeah. So at the end of the week, so part of our Friday communication, we issued a survey across the group as part of the email communication in terms of, please can we have your feedback? Asking people did they feel the communications were relevant to them, did they enjoy the content, et cetera, and there was an overwhelming positive response in terms of enjoying participation, the communications themselves and also the appropriateness of the actual topic. Our SharePoint pages, they received thousands upon thousands of clicks and also of videos too. They had thousands of views. There were also the signals of success as well for us. Regional directors talked about Ethics and Compliance Week when issuing their own monthly business updates, encouraging their business units participation. Some business units even created their own videos with their ethics ambassadors and champions, which were shared. Another example, our operations in India, they took the timeout with all employees and held open sessions so employees could talk freely and openly about that topic of respect. So that was important.
We did also hold some wash-up sessions afterwards just via teams for ambassadors and champions to talk about the successes and the failures within their organizations and their sites, and that's provided us some great feedback that we can take into planning for next year. And on that point, one of the things that we'd like to do this coming year, so 2023, is involve those people. So our ethics network in the planning process and the content creation, so it doesn't just come from E&C, so it feels like it's owned by the organization as well. So that's one thing we really wanting to implement this year when we start planning for 2023.
We had some great feedback from some individual group functions. So our talent management team loved the golden roles that were issued as part of respect amongst each other, and they're going to use them during group development programs. So ongoing, it will keep being used. I also know from some feedback that some of our plants have printed them, but big a three posters and they're displayed around their plants now. We also had some positive messages come back from the shop floor on how they were really pleased to be included and actually felt included. That was a really positive thing for us to hear.
And also, as a result of Ethics and Compliance Week, we've also heard and seen some business units want to carry that theme of promoting ethics throughout the year. So for example, our manufacturing excellence team are now issuing ethical dilemmas each month to be discussed at plant level, which for us, it's just so brilliant to see. I'm still receiving feedback. I received some feedback today from our group. I ask colleagues that they really like the content we created, and the managers within that function really appreciated the fact that the content was created for them, and they can then use that as well in terms of spreading that ethics message amongst their teams throughout the year.
Again, we also had some very positive feedback from them about the Wordle challenge. So they've asked us to try and include something like that on our monthly communications moving forward to get some interactivity. But I think even without that hard data collection, sometimes you just know and you just have a feeling that something worked, and I think our whole team felt it, and actually after the week, we really felt that it was worth the hard work that we all put in behind the scenes to actually make it a success. It felt really good. We really ended the week on a high, and that was brilliant.
Dave Hansen: I couldn't agree more, putting together an event, especially something with as much background as you did, it's a little bit of art and it's a little bit of science. I mean, you have some of the hard data. To have a 96% satisfaction rate from an organization that's 26,000 employees is so hard to get. It's a great stat, but I would be so proud of just hearing those individual stories of yes, we now want to issue ethical dilemmas in our unit, at our plant level. I think that's such a nice touch to say people like what was happening and want to keep going. It's got to be such a proud moment for you.
Kerry Ferwerda: Absolutely. We were all exhausted but elated at the end of Ethics and Compliance Week in our team. Yeah, for sure.
Dave Hansen: So before we go here, I'd just love to hear two or three tips for all of our listeners who might be planning their own E&C events. What did they need to know or what did they need to do to have that same success?
Kerry Ferwerda: Okay. So I guess my three top tips would be, the first one is to start planning early. We're already thinking about the process for formulating Ethics and Compliance Week in 2023, and we're practically nine months before the event will occur. So planning early is really critical to the success, especially as I spoke about before, if you need to translate content and documents, it always takes longer than you think it will. Secondly, engagement, you need to garner that engagement right at the start. We started with senior management, set the tone from the top, get the engagement from then, but also you really need to ensure that you engage those people.
So for example, in NSG for us, that was our ethics network and our communications team. You need to engage those that you are really relying on to cascade your communications. You need to make sure they're involved and they're supportive and they understand because actually it's predominantly those people who really will make sure that your message is carried down throughout your organization. And finally, I think you have to have a topic that really resonates within the business. Last year, the theme of respect really did that within NSG. So now the pressure's on for us to come up with another cracking topic for this year. So yes, they would be my top three tips, I think.
Dave Hansen: Those are all absolutely perfect. It looks like we're already out of time for today, Kerry. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for joining me on this episode. I look forward to hearing how everything comes for this year's event. I know it's nine months away, but it's probably going to be here before we both know it. So it's been great having you on the podcast. I hope you'll come back and speak with us again and tell us how great this year's event is.
Kerry Ferwerda: Thank you, Dave. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Dave Hansen: Once again, my name is Dave Hansen and I want to thank you all for listening to the Principled Podcast by LRN.
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