Pandemic highlights importance of corporate integrity, report reveals

90% of Irish organisations have measures in place to promote integrity and ethical behaviour, according to a survey by EY Ireland.

The research reveals that disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent emergence of hybrid working models have highlighted the importance of corporate integrity for Irish businesses over the past 18 months.

80% of those surveyed said they either frequently or occasionally hear their management speak about the importance of behaving with integrity.

While the findings are mostly positive, some indicate there is still more work to be done.

Only 54% of Irish organisations have a code of conduct for employees on how they should behave in business.

While just 44% provide regular training relevant to legal, regulatory, or professional requirements – and only a third provide training on ethics and integrity in business or professional life.

“While further progress on individual measures is needed to promote integrity and ethical behaviours in Irish organisations, this should also be seen as an opportunity,” said Julie Fenton, EY Ireland Global Operations Leader for Forensic and Integrity Services.

“Taking steps now to address perceived gaps will help businesses meet rising customer, employee, and societal expectations, thereby enhancing their reputation, protecting their brand, and building long-term sustainable value,” she added.

The report also reveals that 80% believe the standards of behaviour that employees expect from management have increased significantly in recent years, with a further 84% claiming they believe the general public in Ireland has higher expectations than before when it comes to how people should behave at work.

While the move to remote working has many positive benefits, the report reveals that there may also be a risk that distance from the organisation could result in a disinclination to report perceived integrity issues.

“Irish organisations have had to rethink their operations, their business models and how their people work,” said Ms Fenton.

“They now need to apply the same innovation capacity to rethink their compliance models and risk management processes,” she added.