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How to be proactive about your recruitment organisation’s integrity risks in 2021

By Darren Murphy

Core Integrity

The internal risks for businesses have never been under the level of scrutiny and pressure that exist today. From the global pandemic’s impact on the business landscape and associated security risks to increased threats from cyber criminals with issues like business email compromise (BEC), phishing and data breaches, running a business and managing risks in 2021 is a complex equation.

The risk landscape in 2021

Every business, regardless of its size, industry or maturity is exposed to integrity risks such as fraud, corruption, conflicts of interest and employee misconduct. Internal integrity risks remain a persistent threat to businesses as employees look to take advantage of weak internal controls, outdated business practices or lucrative opportunities to commit fraud and engage in misconduct.

In times of uncertainty, instances of employee misconduct, fraud and corruption can significantly increase as employees who may face mounting financial pressure start to rationalise unconscionable behaviour. Unfortunately, for businesses, this is bad timing.

How to manage the new risks

For most businesses, the best place to start is to focus on your employees, their roles and the behaviour you expect from them. This is often captured in your organisation’s policies, such as a Code of Conduct, Bullying and Harassment Policy or Conflicts of Interest Policy.

Start by reviewing and updating your policy suite to ensure employees understand what is expected of them. Often when we conduct internal investigations into employee misconduct or instances of fraud, we encounter employees who are not familiar with the policies, cannot remember the last time they read the policy or where it is located – leading to breaches and instances of concern.

Our second recommendation is to improve the way issues are managed and implementing hard audits and policies for use of company funds (i.e. corporate cards). These two areas present the greatest area of risk for an organisation as it affects the greatest number of employees across all roles.

We consistently see an inadequate approach to this as registers for tracking conflicts of interest and purchases are often underutilised, empty, and siloed across business units and there is a lack of oversight and review from an organisational level.

Moving to Centralised Compliance Software

In 2021, housing policies and integrity resources on intranet sites is an outdated way to manage risk. A cloud-based compliance software, such as the one we use at Core Integrity (, can dramatically improve your integrity risk and compliance program.

There are several simple initiatives that can be implemented through a cloud-based compliance platform to help proactively manage risk in your recruitment business, including:

  • Ensure all company policies are located on the one platform to maintain version control of each policy and distribute these to all employees automatically by role, function, and location for reading and attestation.

  • Move all conflict of interest, and gift and entertainment management online so employees can submit declarations in real time for management to review, approve or investigate.

  • Migrate incident, issue, and safety reporting online so employees can submit issues via mobile devices as they occur rather than waiting to return to the office to submit a paper-based form.

  • Leverage technology to integrate your organisation’s whistleblower or ethics hotline into the compliance platform to improve the reporting experience.

  • Drive engagement and use by employees by leveraging communications and announcement functionality.

Now is the time to proactively assess and mitigate the potential integrity risks in your business and examine the opportunities to enhance your compliance program and engage your employees. Prevention is always the best method to ensure your organisation is protecting its people, reputation, and bottom line.

If you need support or more information, Core Integrity are here to provide advice – reach out here.

About Darren Murphy

Darren has over 25 years’ experience as an integrity risk professional spanning corporate risk and governance, investigations, and protective security. Darren now leads a multi-disciplinary team of risk professionals and helps organisations protect their people, reputation and bottom line through his business, Core Integrity.

Darren’s CV also includes roles as Head of Investigations at one of Australia’s largest financial institutions as well as 13 years as a Detective in law enforcement.

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