What role should HR play in preventing corruption in the workplace?

There are numerous systems available to tackle corruption - is your anti-corruption strategy up to scratch?

HRD spoke to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CIPB) about how HR should be preventing corruption in the workplace, and the practical straegies that you can implement.

“Everyone in a company has a role to play in tackling corruption, in particular the HR department since it handles the management of people within organisations,” a spokesman for the CPIB told HRD.

There are numerous systems that a HR director can put in place, ranging from designated reporting procedures to specific training initiatives, the CPIB said.

HR should establish procedures for employees to report potentially corrupt behaviour in the workplace, the spokesman said, and employees should be able to report anonymously.

“HR could establish mechanisms… like a whistle-blowing or internal audit channel which will underscore the management’s strong stand of reporting corrupt offenders to the authorities.”

Training and development programs are also vital to HR’s anti-corruption efforts, the CPIB said.

“For instance, at orientation for new recruits, it will be useful for HR to set the tone and underscore the company’s commitment to carry out transactions honestly and with integrity.

“Furthermore, as part of a training framework for existing employees, [HR] may introduce a training programme on compliance and ethics or expand on existing one.

“During such training, the employees learn what constitutes corruption, are alerted of areas which are susceptible to corruption while being kept informed of the corruption prevention measures, systems and processes in their organisation.”

Employees should also understand the bureaucratic constraints of operating in different countries, such as necessary paperwork and documentation.

In some cases, corruption may occur in situations where there is little or no personal gain, but employees simply take the short cut to get things done and do not meet bureaucratic requirements.

Lastly, the nature of some job roles means that employees should be properly informed of guidelines relating to entertainment and gifts to prevent corrupt behaviour, including the declaration of conflicts of interests.

HR could introduce job-rotation or block-leave initiatives for corruption-prone positions, such as procurement and finance management, CPIB suggested.

And what happens when reports of corruption are made? What are the next steps for HR?

“HR may coordinate or refer the matter to the legal/compliance departments within the company (if any). Alternatively, the HR can make the necessary reports to local authorities when criminal conduct is suspected,” the CPIB said.

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