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Employee Uncertainty

A new study is showing that employee uncertainty is the leading cause of employee noncompliance. In this newsletter we are looking into why and what we can do as employers/employees.


“Compliance culture is a valuable part of mitigating misconduct,” but it’s not the most effective approach for dealing with uncertainty, Chris Audet, chief of research in Gartner’s legal, risk and compliance leaders practice, said in a press release.

Instead, Gartner’s study revealed that improved quality standards — the design of policies, training, communication and tools — has more than double the impact than compliance culture on reducing uncertainty, according to the firm.

But compliance culture is still important: It has 1.5 times the impact than improved quality standards on reducing situations where employees rationalize noncompliance and 1.4 times the impact on reducing malice, Gartner pointed out." Learn more


"There are three primary situations that lead to noncompliance: Situations of uncertainty (not understanding how to comply), rationalization (thinking that noncompliance is not wrong in a certain context), and malice (not complying despite knowing it is wrong). According to a Gartner survey of 1,012 employees in December 2023, uncertainty is the most experienced situation leading to employee noncompliance.

In the survey, 87% of respondents said they faced situations where they didn’t know how to comply in the last 12 months, followed by 77% of respondents who experienced situations of rationalization and 40% experiencing situations of malice.“Compliance culture is a valuable part of mitigating misconduct, but it isn’t the best way to address the most common situation leading to employee noncompliance: uncertainty,” said Chris Audet, Chief of Research in the Gartner for Legal, Risk & Compliance Leaders practice." Learn more


"C-suite executives talk a lot about how they’re managing uncertainty. “We’re being prudent and mitigating risks,” they say. They describe the strategic choices they’re making to strengthen the organization’s resilience and ability to win. At a personal level, they work on toning down their perfectionist tendencies and avoiding unhelpful simplifications.

Their focus is hardly surprising. Stakeholders, including employees, want reassurance that the organization can navigate through complex, uncertain, and volatile conditions — and they don’t want those conditions used as an excuse for a lack of strategy, bad decisions, or poor performance. But all this talk of uncertainty can leave employees feeling anxious, both about their current position and prospects. They may become reactive, defensive, and inward-looking, as if to insulate themselves from the effects of the uncertainty. Asking them to be resilient, flexible, and committed, as many leaders do, can create additional pressure and make things worse." Learn more

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