Governance, effective behaviour and a healthy corporate culture are key concerns for companies in all sectors. This is recognised not only by RSM's business consultants, but also by external regulators.

We see in practice that compliance and risk management work effectively and sustainably only when they are well embedded in the governance, culture of the organisation and behaviour of employees.

Within RSM, we combine our expertise in behaviour and culture with our governance-focused expertise. This way, we support you and your organisation from an overall vision to ensure a good fit between internal governance, risk management and corporate culture.

Our corporate governance consultants help you, for instance, to review the governance of your organisation or to recognise, understand and address problematic behavioural patterns. They do this from a role where they alternate their knowledge and experience as sparring partner, sounding board and culture and behaviour coach.

Want to know what RSM's Corporate Governance & Culture consultants can do for your company? Please contact us.

The “three lines” model certainly has merit for the governance of an organisation, although we at RSM believe a pragmatic approach is even more important. It’s the result that counts. Especially since the structuring of a risk control framework based on the three lines model can be too costly and complex, for smaller companies, for example. Our governance consultants regularly advise on appropriate organizational structures, in which the risks are well identified, and therefore manageable, and the decision-making structure has been customized to the companies’ needs.

At RSM, we can support in setting up your corporate governance, in line with relevant laws, regulations and governance codes. Think about:

  • Adaptation of the "three lines" to your organisation.
  • Support in the development of your code of conduct.
  • Design of your compliance charter, as a translation of applicable laws, regulations and industry standards focused on your organisation.
  • Integrity risk assessments for your organisation or parts of it (personal, organizational, relational or market behaviour related).
  • Drafting policies, standards and guidance in consultation with you for your internal governance, compliance and risk management.

Your staff determines the results of your business, and culture is the key driver for organizational success. Even when you feel that you’re in control in terms of commercial results, you may still face risks in terms of behaviour and corporate culture that can have a negative impact on the performance or survival of your company. For instance, everyone is familiar with the (serious) incidents in the financial sector. These show that the underlying causes of incidents often lie in the culture of the company. Intervening at an early stage in situations where undesirable behaviour is displayed prevents problems in the future.

The behaviour and norms and values of managers and employees together define your corporate culture. This is the foundation of your organisation. We examine and measure various elements that are indicators of corporate culture, such as:

  • Experiencing (psychological) safety, 
  • management style,
  • decision-making
  • dealing with mistakes.

We also include "soft controls" in our approach. These are the non-tangible elements which impact behaviour of your employees and thus your organizational goals. For example, the behaviour of directors, management and employees can affect - intentionally or unintentionally - the quality of cooperation, and thus the successes and results of your organisation.

Ways to influence behaviour and culture - besides having a good conversation - include a code of conduct, whistleblower scheme and/or awareness sessions. We can identify and assess these in your organisation. These tools are called "soft control" instruments. In addition, we see in practice that so-called "hard control" instruments, such as policy papers, procedures and supervisory systems, can only be effective if the right culture is already present in all layers of the company.

Several incident assessments confirmed as root cause that the actual behaviour of your employees is not always in line with the so-called desired behaviour. This can have a direct and negative impact on your desired business integrity.

Listen to podcasts from our specialists:

RSM Podcast | Voice of ESG | Interprenting governance, culture & compliance

Marlène Jans | Three Lines Model