The recent plethora of stories involving conflicts of interest abound in our government structure. It seems that no matter how much money someone earns, the status of their position (FBI for example) or the public office they serve, the drive for individuality and heroism pull them out of their moral and ethical center. The Mueller investigation has highlighted so many of these conflicts that you have to wonder what the impact is on human resources, risk management and the health of your organization. Bruce Ohr, Reality Winner, and Peter Strzok are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the issue of 2nd jobs and conflicts of interest. We will be hosting an episode on conflicts of interest in the Risk Control Show soon. Don’t miss the episode.
What is a conflict of interest
TheBalancesMB.com explains it as “A conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual has competing interests or loyalties. A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations.” And it is exactly those types of conflicts that cause the biggest problems. They lead to discrimination, disparity, bottlenecks and prevention of mission and goals for the organization. The outright kickbacks, briberies and corruption are easier to spot and deal with. It is these hidden biases that often lead to ongoing devastation to the organization. So what to do?
The Form 700
One way to help remind (remind, not prevent) conflicts of interest is to ensure that everyone in your organization is completing a Form 700. This form requires people to spell out their conflicts in black and white. The forms should be reviewed by your HR and Risk Management departments and really talked about. Don’t just file the forms and pack them away. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/Form700.html
Review your employment policies and contracts. Spell out what 2nd jobs and conflicts are. Enforce those contracts and review them annually with employees. Talk about conflicts and offer training on conflicts of interest that are likely to crop up in your organization.
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