Are You Using the Crowd? You Should Be…

Sometimes we just plain run out of creativity. Or we aren’t inspired. Or we don’t feel as if we’re connecting the way we need to with the business.

When you’re feeling this way, why not turn to the business itself to help you out? It’s a process called crowdsourcing, and if you’re not using it already, the time to start is now.

What is Crowdsourcing?


Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining materials and ideas from a wide group of people. It’s engaging with the employee masses to create ideas and quotes showing engagement with the compliance and ethics program.   

Why does it Matter?

It Creates Social Proof


Crowdsourcing encourages a social phenomenon called social proof. Social proof is powerful, as explained by Dynamic Yield:

"Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. In essence, it’s the notion that, since others are doing it, I should be doing it, too. Social proof is especially prominent in situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.

Also referred to as “herd mentality,” social proof is a phenomenon where decision-making becomes credible and validated through the behavior of others."


Crowdsourcing gives employees the impression that others are invested in the compliance and ethics program, so they should be too.

How do You do it?


Crowdsourcing is done through engagement with the community and requests for specific involvement. There are many different ways to crowdsource that can benefit your compliance program.

These include:

Getting Quotes


Ask people for a one-sentence quote that can be attributed to them. This is frequently done in response to a specific prompt. For instance:

➡️ What does ethics mean to you?

➡️ Why is it important to act ethically at our company?

➡️ What are the benefits of our company being perceived as ethical?

➡️ What does compliance mean to you?

➡️ Why is it important to have a Code of Conduct?

➡️ What does the Code of Conduct mean to you?

Make sure you ask for permission to use people’s photos as a part of the request process. Not everyone will say yes, but it’s very helpful if you’re able to put a face with a name, especially if you’re drawing from diverse parts of the world and business.

Focus Groups


You can also obtain quotes (and insight) by asking people to participate in focus groups and using the information you receive.  

Nominations for Awards


You can create an award of some kind and ask for nominations. Telling people they’ve been nominated for an award for acting ethically can boost morale and make people more excited to participate in the program.

Publicizing the finalists and winners for awards provides social proof that others are supporting ethics at the company. The stories and anecdotes people write in their nominations can be used as the basis for your media posts as well.

Obtaining Media


Crowdsourcing creativity is always great.

You can do this by asking people to:

➡️ Film a video of themselves responding to a prompt question.

➡️ Film compliance-related material in their offices to show support for the program.

➡️ Create a compliance-related meme.

➡️ Vote on a name for a new initiative or compliance-related mascot.

➡️ Participate in a poll to help guide the program’s direction when it comes to things like training or communications.

➡️ Create a social media post on the intranet or internal social media site like Yammer or Facebook for Business about compliance, ethics, or the Code of Conduct.

You can use these materials to showcase how engaged people are at the company when it comes to compliance and ethics. You can also use their responses to guide your program so that it mirrors people’s natural language and the way they think about compliance and ethics.

Potential Challenges


Crowdsourcing can be a double-edged source. First, you may not get much (or any) participation. This outcome shows reverse social proof. Lack of participation may show employees that disengagement is the social norm, encouraging others to opt out emotionally.

Asking people questions can also elicit negative responses. One curmudgeon posting that “the Code of Conduct is useless when managers ignore it all the time” can create a raft of other negative commentaries.

Another challenge is obtaining quotes, photos, and stories from someone who then leaves the company. It can be awkward to have materials out there showing people who have left.

Skew the Odds in Your Favor


People often don’t want to be the first to participate, so skew the odds in your favor by having a pro-compliance employee commit to being the first to participate. Ask them to answer the first prompt and tell people that they did. Have them create the first meme. Get them to commit to shooting the first video and posting it on the internal social media site.

We’ve all seen a room full of people suddenly jockeying for position to ask questions once the first one has been asked. Use this natural tendency to your advantage.

Crowdsourcing comes in many forms and should be part of your arsenal for making the program great. It provides social proof that others are participating and can improve everything from engagement scores to greater participation in your ethics and compliance survey. When you hear from the crowd, you can be more creative and give them exactly what they want.

Share the blog!

Picture of Kristy Grant-Hart

Kristy Grant-Hart

Kristy Grant-Hart is the founder and CEO of Spark Compliance.
She's a renowned expert at transforming compliance departments into in-demand business assets.