Building Cultures of Trust at Laureate Education

Ethical Systems seeks to highlight companies with a strong commitment to ethical, speak up cultures and trust. One of these companies is Laureate Education, Inc., who created a series of internal videos for their 70,000 employees about trust, blame and ethics. We present them below with an introduction by Laureate’s Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Mark Snyderman.

Laureate Education, Inc. is the largest global network of degree-granting higher education institutions, with more than one million students enrolled across 70 institutions in 25 countries at campuses and online. Laureate offers high-quality, undergraduate, graduate and specialized degree programs in a wide range of academic disciplines that provide attractive employment prospects. Laureate believes that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit. This belief is expressed through the company’s philosophy of being ‘Here for Good’ and is represented by its status as a Certified B Corporation™ and conversion in 2015 to a U.S. public benefit corporation, a new class of corporation committed to creating a positive impact on society.
Laureate has always had a strong mission but had never articulated their purpose or identity. In 2014 Laureate embarked on a project to define who they are and what they stand for as an organization, which resulted in the “Laureate Movement”, a culture narrative that is comprised of various elements such as mission, purpose, long term plan, and operation principles. Today these important elements are woven into many aspects of the organization from helping their leaders decide who they hire to how they develop their employees.
To help their employees all over the world better understand the newly established narrative, Laureate’s culture team created the “Desire Campaign.” Each month during this campaign, the team focused on further explaining their spirit and their character, to demonstrate how Laureate is “walking the talk” and truly living the “Laureate Movement”. Once per month communications were cascaded to employees via emails, videos, posters, and surveys.
One important aspect of the Laureate character is being trustworthy. Being part of the Laureate Network means that each employee has a responsibility every day to earn the trust that others have placed in them. To support their employees in understanding the character of trustworthy, the culture team collaborated with the ethics & compliance department to provide three short learning modules to discuss the reasons people behave unethically and how it can lead to bigger problems. In these three modules, Laureate employees could hear and learn from their own Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer how easily people can rationalize their misbehavior and how it can be avoided in the future. These videos were part of an email that was sent to nearly 70,000 employees in the Laureate network during the Laureate month of Trustworthy. The three videos were well received by the audience and created 100% positive feedback from employees throughout the network, which, in turn, has increased followership, readership, and ultimately attributed to the adoption of the Culture Narrative in Laureate Institutions today.


Why do we misbehave?


Who’s to blame?


Other things to avoid