IntegrityStar UCF Compliance & Ethics Newsletter UCF Compliance & Ethics Newsletter

Compliance and Ethics Culture Survey Results

In 2016, University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk began conducting compliance and ethics culture surveys and has repeated surveys every two years to benchmark results against its prior years’ results. The surveys aim to measure employee perceptions of the institution’s organizational culture, perceptions regarding misconduct, awareness of the components of the university’s compliance and ethics program, employee’s view of leadership, and their comfort with reporting misconduct and protection from retaliation.

At the request of the Board of Trustees Audit and Compliance Committee, the 2020 survey was conducted by a third party. In partnership with Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices and the organization that publishes the World’s Most Ethical (WME) Company list, the survey was distributed by email to 13,492 employees during the Spring 2020. We received 2,365 completed surveys for a response rate of 18%. The survey was comprised of 92 questions of embedded data, single-select, multiple-select, and open-ended essay question types.

  • 84 questions covering employee perceptions of an ethical culture across Ethisphere’s Eight Pillars
  • 1 question for collecting open-ended comments
  • 7 embedded demographic criteria

As there are very few compliance and ethics programs in higher education that conduct surveys of this type, Ethisphere benchmarked UCF’s results against similar organizations in size and regulatory scope and included a large portion of companies that have achieved WME status.


Ethisphere placed UCF at an overall 78.6% positive rating across the eight pillars of an ethical culture, compared to an overall 80.5% for the benchmark (1.9% below).

UCF exceeded the Ethisphere benchmark in the following Pillars:

Pillar 2: Perception of the Function                                    90.3%  (89.5 benchmark)
Pillar 8: Perceptions of Peers and Environment              91.6%  (87.3% benchmark)

95% responded favorably that the Code explains what is expected of employees as they conduct university business, exceeding the Ethisphere benchmark by 1.4%.

A total of 94% responded favorably that UCF’s policies and regulations effectively explain what is expected of employees as they conduct university business, exceeding the Ethisphere benchmark by 3.5%.

Almost 93% responded favorably to the belief that their co-workers follow the Code, exceeding the Ethisphere benchmark by 7.6%. Additionally, 90% responded favorably to having a personal responsibility for making sure employees behave ethically, which also exceeded the benchmark by 0.9%.

The results from this 2020 survey were also benchmarked against the initial results from the compliance and ethics culture survey conducted in 2016 and 2018.

We continue to see a positive trend with significant increases in employee awareness levels. More specifically, the 2020 survey results revealed:

  • A 21% increase in awareness of the UCF IntegrityLine from 2018 (overall 43% increase since 2016).
  • An 11% increase in employee awareness of the University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk office (overall 33% increase since 2016).
  • Employee awareness of UCF’s Reporting Misconduct and Protection from Retaliation Policy increased by 16%, with 91% employees reporting familiar with this policy (an overall 30% increase since 2016).

An impressive 97% (up 11% from 2018) of employees reported that they were familiar with the UCF Employee Code of Conduct.

Additionally, the survey revealed:

  • A 9% increase in employees reporting that they knew where to find information on UCF policies and procedures, with a total of 93% familiar (exceeding the Ethisphere benchmark by 1.8%).
  • Knowledge on finding information on UCF regulations also increased by 11% since 2018, with 91% reporting familiar.
  • Ninety-two percent of employees stated that they believed that employees demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior, an increase of 9% from 2018.
  • A total of 90% responded favorably to being willing to report misconduct if they observed it, which was 2.6% higher than the Ethisphere benchmark.
  • Since 2018 there was an 11% increase in employees’ favorable responses to being comfortable reporting misconduct to their supervisor (82%) and feeling protected by retaliation when reporting to their supervisor (77%).

Employees reported a 13% increase in feeling protected from retaliation when using the UCF IntegrityLine, with 80% responding favorably. The favorable responses increased by a total of 18% since 2016.

The trends also identified:

  • Employee responses regarding whether they observed unethical behavior or business misconduct at UCF within the last 12 months decreased by 5% since 2018, with a total of 12% responding yes. Although the decrease reflects a positive trend for UCF, it was still 7.3% below the Ethisphere benchmark.
  • Responses to the question whether employees were asked to bend, break, or circumvent laws, regulations, or university policies or regulations also decreased by 4% from 2018 with 2% responding yes. A total of 90% stated that they were not asked to bend, break, or circumvent laws, regulations, or university policies or regulations (8% reported being unsure or declined to answer).
  • The number of employees reporting that they witnessed and reported the misconduct has increased by 13% since 2018, and overall, by 20% since 2016. However, UCF is still 8.7% below the Ethisphere benchmark in reporting witnessed misconduct.
  • Overall satisfaction levels reported by respondents regarding the resolution of reporting misconduct increased by 18% since 2018. However, the Ethisphere benchmark reflects UCF well below the benchmark for each of the reporting mechanisms.

 Response to Survey

Based on the UCF trends and Ethisphere benchmark results, the office will focus on increased communications to reinforce the non-retaliation policy, over-communicate closing the loop on the investigations process, and continue to leverage leadership in compliance messaging. The survey will be repeated in 2022.