Lots of companies talk about making compliance and ethics a priority. Walmart is putting its money where its mouth is.

The retail giant announced last month that it will soon begin basing a portion of compensation for top executives, including CEO Michael Duke, on the company’s ability to meet compliance goals. If top executives don’t meet compliance objectives, they risk having their annual bonuses reduced…

By adopting incentives to meet compliance goals, rather than penalties for compliance infractions, Walmart is ahead of the curve. “Most executive compensation or bonus plans will have subjective elements,” says Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, an executive pay consulting firm based in New York City. “There will be wording in there that you have to comply with laws and regulations, but it has always been more about after the fact—after there is a problem—instead of upfront and proactive. Compliance should be holistic, not just following the rules, but going beyond the rules and avoiding problems.”

Compliance Week / May 7, 2013