EY: 86% of HK employees want compliance policies to be simple

Chris Fordham,EY Asia-Pacific leader, Fraud Investigation & Dispute ServiceEighty six percent of Hong Kong employees say they want their companies to simplify and localize compliance policies to make them more understandable.

This is one of the key findings in latest Asia Pacific Fraud Survey 2017 released by EY this week.

“Employees are demanding absolute clarity and anything short of that impacts morale, hiring, retention and overall business performance, companies need to simplify their compliance protocols to help ensure employees follow them,” Chris Fordham, s.

The survey showed that the Hong Kong employees put more weight on an organization’s compliance culture than their counterparts from the rest of the region. Ninety five percent of local employees they want to work in a company with a strong compliance culture, two percentage points higher than the regional average.

What’s more, nearly half of respondents from Hong Kong (48%) said they would accept a lower salary if it means working for an ethical employer. The figure is four percentage points above the APAC average.

The data above are indicative of Hong Kong workforce’s tendency to stick by the rules.

In fact, only 54% of Hong Kong respondents say that bribery and corrupt practices happen widely in the city, compared with nearly 80% recorded among Mainland China employees and more than 60% regional average..

The Asia Pacific Fraud Survey 2017 was conducted between November 2016 and February 2017 involving nearly 1,700 respondents from MNCs and domestic companies in 14 countries, such as Australia, China, Hong Kong India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The interviews were done online in local languages on an anonymous basis.

Meanwhile, EY found that more companies in the region have set up a whistleblowing hotline to encourage employees to report fraud. Almost 40% of Hong Kong respondents said they would not use this existing internal reporting mechanism to report misbehavior within the company, with nearly 30% saying they would prefer to make a report directly to the police.

“It is a waste of time and effort putting in place these reporting mechanisms when they are not being used. We are concerned that employees don’t have enough faith that their reports will be handled confidentially or that these reporting mechanisms will result in proper follow-up and punishment fo the guilty parties,” said Fordham.

Millennials’ conflicting values

EY sounded the alarm for companies to train and educate millennials, a fast growing segment of today’s workforce, about the value of following the compliance framework of their organization.

Across the region, the survey finds that this age group is more inclined to justify offering cash payment to win or retain more business. They are also more incline to justify offering entertainment or personal gifts to win deals, and they would even be willing to extend monthly reporting periods to meet financial targets.