Kimberly-Clark (K-C), founded in 1872, has a proud tradition of integrity and values-based leadership. Our code of conduct opens with our CEO, Tom Falk, observing that the core values of accountability, authenticity, caring, and innovativeness have guided the company for nearly 150 years. He continues, “Every day, we are dedicated to living these values.”
Our values provide an indispensable foundation on which to build an ethics and compliance program and to manage enterprise risks, but there is more to do. As with virtually all companies, especially those with a global footprint, the challenge is sustaining these values and driving integrity behavior from location to location and culture to culture. For example, how can we ensure that a new employee in Shanghai, China, understands the values of a company that was founded in Neenah, Wisconsin? Or how can we ensure that the values stay relevant and applicable for employees who are new to the workforce as well as those who have been at the company for decades? These questions are not unique to K-C, nor is there a single answer to them.
The key is driving accountability throughout the organization from the most senior executives to individual contributors. The approach that we took involves driving an integrity culture through company-wide performance metrics.