Toned down at the top

Most corporate governance experts say setting the right tone at the top is crucial. It helps communicate the organisation’s values, create positive cultures and raise risk awareness.

The theory says that less senior people emulate the good behaviour of their board executives. Getting in front of staff and explaining what the business stands for is key.

So, it should come as a surprise that almost four in ten employees cannot name a single member of their boards. Almost one in five people (18%) say their board is barely visible. A further 17% say the board is not visible at all, according to research conducted by TLF Research for technology firm eShare.

And the research confirms what the governance experts claim. One in three respondents say they do not know what their organisations’ values are. Many say their boards are out of touch with the business.

If the tone at the top is important, boards need to spend more time with their people. They need to be visible and clearly communicate what the business stands for.

Risk managers have a role to play in understanding how well tone at the top is percolating throughout the organisation. Surveys and workshops may be good starting points – especially if you can’t name a single member of the board yourself.

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