The truth is, not many understand where an Ombudsman may fit in a company’s organizational chart. Often, the role of the Ombuds is defined by the effectiveness of a company’s compliance and risk management programs. While the Ombuds may serve as an early warning system and as a source of unbiased feedback for the organization and the board, the concept is still wrapped up in layers of mystery.
Many industry experts believe that the Ombuds field has growth potential, but certain actions must be undertaken to turn potential into reality. A recent panel discussion at Columbia University examined this idea further. The conversation featured Ombuds and other experts representing diverse organizations including, American Express, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the United Nations and it highlighted the versatility of Ombuds who can work across the board in any organization. Other discussions focused on the role of the Ombuds in creating a culture of integrity and transparency and how the Ombuds can help employees make the right decisions to mitigate future risks.
The panelist agreed that Ombuds need to become better advocates of their value. They should:
- Become better at demonstrating how they positively impact the bottom line and organizational climate;