As rogue traders continue to make headlines, KPMG’s Head of Risk Consulting, Karen Briggs, addressed an audience of senior executives debating the impact that rogue behaviour can have on the bottom line.

Karen suggested that HR teams can – and should – play a central role in managing risk and preventing fraud. She commented:

“The morning after a fraud is discovered is always fraught with concerns, as business leaders try to identify why specific signs weren’t spotted, attempt to justify how something slipped through the net and convince stakeholders that everything possible is being done to ensure the same opportunity doesn’t present itself again.

“Yet this is often a case of pointing the finger of blame in someone else’s direction, when an organisation’s leadership should actually be taking a closer look at the culture they have created. It is, after all, the tone from the top that sets in motion how employees behave and it is up to managers and leaders to outline – in words and actions –what is expected, valued and rewarded in the business.

“It is here that HR teams can play a pivotal role. Rather than trying to create a personality profile so that organisations spot the next opportunist before they take their opportunity, HR should be making sure that any gap in knowledge between those at the top and bottom of an organisation is kept to a minimum and fostering a culture where challenges become the norm. If questions are asked about positive and negative results, it quickly becomes clear that managers are actually managing and taking responsibility for the actions of their staff.

“The fact remains that it is easy to blame technology or the weakness of any control systems when fraud takes place. The truth, however, more often lies in an organisation’s culture and the real test is whether the leadership and HR can work together to shape an environment where behaviours, before people, are prevented from ‘going rogue’.”

Karen’s comments were made at an event held at the Maze Restaurant in central London, held to identify the common cultural elements that lead to ‘rogue behaviour’.