Editorial Note: Last week, we conducted a LinkedIn poll regarding Wirecard. The following article is a response to that poll and its results, offering a less frequently discussed perspective.
When news of the Wirecard scandal first broke, it was clear that it was not the result of days or months gone wrong, but instead years. And, as information surrounding Wirecard’s misdealings became more widely known, many businesses and professionals began sharing their opinions.
To be fair, the inspiration for the story I’m sharing with you today came about due to a LinkedIn poll our own company, BusinessForensics, conducted to gain insight as to what people in the financial crime fighting community perceived to be the main contributing factor to the company’s demise.
Many people participated in the poll, and others also explained the reason behind their vote. A few notable examples include:
- “Basic lack of integrity and character”
- “The management was too greedy”
- “Both internal audit and external audit should have seen the warning”
- “Watchdogs going after whistle-blowers instead of questionable management”
For many, the situation is beneficial: media outlets receive enough material to keep them busy for a few weeks, headhunters start an intensive round of competition for top talent, and professionals in the industry share their ideas regarding what can be learned, and done differently, next time.
However, in this ocean of precise and perfectly analytical opinions, advice, and checklists, there is one key element most of us have been missing: empathy
Regular people, like you and me, are also affected.
Wirecard’s parent company filed for insolvency, putting an initial 200 jobs immediately at risk. Once the insolvency was filed, a new level of uncertainty began to grow for the company’s remaining employees, leaving nearly all 5800 without their regularly-scheduled paycheck at the end of June.
Many people have already lost their jobs — some, literally, overnight — even though they were committed to Wirecard’s success for years.
These are people — some of whom I know, personally — with ambitions and plans that came to an abrupt and painful halt. They are our colleagues, customers, partners, friends, family. Some are feeling emotional pain. Some are feeling lost and do not know their next step. Some feel used, lied to, or taken advantage of. Some are even struggling to find a new job.
At the same time, LinkedIn is overflowing with emotional messages of Wirecard ex-employees. And I find it amazing that nearly every such message mentions the team of involved, positive-minded, ambitious professionals who the author will dearly miss. Everyone mentions what an amazing place it was to work, how they enjoyed their job, and how much they believed in their work.
Sure, we should learn from the mistakes of companies like Wirecard and take preventive measures in the future, through initiatives like increased transparency in company audits, clear communication, and better ethics training.
I also believe the majority of amazing people, who made the company a great place to work and have fun, deserve to be in the spotlight just as much (if not more) than those who made the, ultimately, fatal decisions for the company.
This is why we work hard, every day, to continuously improve a solution that helps protect clients and consumers by making it easier for employees to identify fraud — internal or external.
To make sure that people who give their all to the business do not come to work one day to find out the company no longer exists. To ensure stability within a company so it empowers trust in the future. To promote a safe environment so the people, who are the core of each business, can feel comfortable and fully realize their potential.