New guide provides roadmap to better corporate culture

Regulators have warned that listed and non-listed companies lacking good corporate culture will fail investors and stakeholders, and in response key industry bodies have collaborated to produce a guide on managing culture.

Managing Culture — A good practice guide, was launched today at The Ethics Centre, by the Institute for Internal Auditors Australia (IIA-A), The Ethics Centre, Governance Institute of Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.

The launch featured a panel discussion facilitated by Executive Director of The Ethics Centre, Simon Longstaff, and included ASIC Commissioner John Price, Regnan CEO Pauline Vamos and ASX Corporate Governance Council chair Elizabeth Johnstone.

Speaking at the launch, Ethics Centre executive director Simon Longstaff said “This is an important piece of work which brings together years of research by some of Australia’s most knowledgeable people and organisations working in the field of ethics and risk culture. It is a practical guidebook for leaders in any industry, and we’re proud to have been involved in the creation of such a valuable resource.”

The panel shared their insights and discussed creating ethical frameworks and a positive workplace culture.

IIA-Australia CEO Peter Jones said that the Guide outlined the important role internal audit plays in the governance process, which is being increasingly requested by boards, senior managers and regulators to provide an assessment of a company’s culture.

Research has shown that companies that have a good culture perform better than companies that do not. The Guide outlines how each group in an organisation can contribute to a good culture, the first step of which is to create an ethical framework that provides guidance on decisions and an appropriate ‘tone from the top’.

“While having an integrated governance and risk management framework is important, unless an organisation establishes a culture that promotes risk awareness into everything it does, it is unlikely to achieve its objectives,” said Governance Institute of Australia CEO Steven Burrell. “Governance and risk management must be at the core of an organisation’s culture.”

The publication argues that the role of boards is to determine the purpose, values and principles of the company, that the CEO and senior management have the responsibility for implementing the desired culture and that personnel in human resources, ethics, compliance and risk functions all have a role to play in embedding values and ethics.

"Managing Culture — A good practice guide is an important resource for all organisations and leaders," said Chartered Accountants ANZ Policy Leader Geraldine Magarey. 

“Various functions, including boards, management and human resources, were analysed to provide an organisation-wide perspective. The outcome is a tool we trust will help to clarify the responsibilities of leaders in business, no matter the industry”.

Download a copy of the guide

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