As issues such as misconduct, harassment and racism are confronted in the workplace, former Google VP and Chief Compliance Officer Andy Hinton offers some words of experience to struggling brands.
Hinton recently joined the board of advisors at NotMe Solutions, Inc., a company founded in 2017 and based in Los Angeles that offers a free app.
The app allows people to anonymously report an issue they have experienced or witnessed from their mobile device in as little as three minutes.
While Hinton expanded on Google’s core value of “Don’t be evil,” he also spent time at GE Capital and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York. He spent his career teaching people how to raise concerns when they see them.
2020 will go down in history as the year of awakening in the United States as more people become aware of systemic problems that have plagued this nation for centuries.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily caught up with Hinton to talk about his new role at NotMe Solutions, Inc., and his expert advice to help brands and other companies tackle discrimination, harassment and racism. The idea is to reduce friction and gain trust.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily: What is the role of a chief compliance officer?
Andy Hinton: It’s the operational lead that ensures employees act consistent with the laws, values and ethics of the organization. If you think about policies and processes that are intended to prevent, protect and respond to misconduct. Also to build up and nurture the company’s culture.
S&PMD: How might this apply to brands and advertisers?
Hinton: It’s always been the case, but more now since the COVID crisis and tragic event around George Floyd and others.
People are looking for commitments to combat racism and discrimination -- not just from the leaders of the organization, but concrete examples of their commitment of addressing misconduct.
Something like a #NotMe solution addresses that. It’s a way to show your company’s members you’re sincere in raising concerns, and that you’ll deal with it in a responsible way.
Virtually every regulator, from the Department of Justice to the FCC and others, have all made it clear when you’re evaluating any compliance program for their effectiveness, one thing they will focus on is an effective method to raise concerns and a culture to do so, even if you go off the tracks. It makes you a better partner to work with.
S&PMD: Has #NotMe been in touch with organization such as police and fire?
Hinton: We do have partners with the fire department, but they are really focused internally. It’s still aspirational to expand it into more of a community tool.
S&PMD: What types of questions does the app ask the person reporting the incident?
Hinton: Any government agency or company could implement this app. It helps the person walk through reporting their concerns. It asks how the conduct they experienced or witnessed make them feel? What type of response would you like to see?
What are some of the things people report these days?
Hinton: It runs the gamut from harassment to discrimination, all the way to bribery and theft. We have even discussed using the tool for oversight of the police, which could be more effective in reporting misconduct because people would feel safer.
S&PMD: Once a report has been made, how do you analyze the data to make sure the person isn’t just blowing off steam?
Hinton: They would need to investigate the concern in a way without bias.
The more objective the response and independent of the organization, the more it’s perceived as fair.
I’m hoping companies look for outside third-party resources to do investigations and lead responses. Too many people just don’t trust investigations that have been done in-house.
Larger companies like Google and GE tend to have internal teams, but people tend to trust the findings more after being analyzed by outside companies that can many times do a better job of responding to concerns.