Ethics and compliance are critical parts of any corporate culture. When a company focuses on ethics and adherence to industry standards, they reap many benefits: a positive reputation within the industry and community, a happier and more productive workforce (with minimal turnover), and a potential for millions saved that might have gone to lawsuits or settlements.
With so many great rewards on the line, ethics training should be a no-brainer for every organization. So why are so many employees failing to meet compliance standards? The answer is a simple one: the company’s training isn’t engaging.
If you’re struggling to make your ethics training “stick,” don’t worry; you’re not alone. According to the Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Learn Strategy Study, only 34% of organizations report that their compliance training is “effective.” Frankly, your company can’t afford to exist outside that 34% — which is why we’ve got some tips to help you improve your ethics training.
Ways to Improve Ethics & Compliance Training
How can you make your ethics and compliance training more effective for your employees? There are many options available, but first you need to figure out where you’re training is falling behind.
Start with a few employee interviews or surveys to determine the problem: are your ethics standards unclear? Is the training too long? Too dry? Once you know what you need to fix, you can use one (or a few) of the tips below to create a more effective ethics training program.
Create Common Goals Between Leaders and Employees
Most of the time, conversations about ethics and compliance center around employees. Organizations want to know how they can ensure compliance from their workers — but they often fail to recognize that adherence and ethical behavior start at the top.
If you want to create a corporate culture of ethics and compliance, you need to get managers and team leaders on board with your goals. Once you do, your leaders will be better equipped and inspired to train their employees. They’ll also be more likely to lead by example and take appropriate action against individuals who break with compliance standards.
Begin your ethics training overhaul by having a special meeting for any employee in a management role. This will give you an opportunity to review ethics and compliance requirements and give your managers the chance to ask any questions. Once your company leaders are on the same page across the organization, it will be much easier to foster an ethical culture in the workplace.
Utilize Micro-Learning for Flexibility
We’ve all been in those long, dry training sessions that seem to last forever. And guess what? Very few of us remember what happened in those meetings! The truth is that hours-long training seminars rarely “stick” with attendees — and when the subject is ethics (something most employees already understand at a basic level), everyone is apt to mentally check out awfully fast.
You can prevent boring your employees (and wasting valuable time) by skipping the all-day training courses and adopting a micro-learning style. “Micro-learning” uses short training sessions (often in the form of short videos or segments) to give your employees the basics they need to know for company compliance.
Micro-learning is great for two main reasons: it’s flexible and it’s effective. With micro-learning, your employees don’t need to waste a day brushing up on their compliance standards. They can simply watch a few training videos when they have some free time over a few days. This makes your workforce more productive!
Even better, micro-learning trainees are more likely to retain the information. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, micro-learning is 17% more effective than traditional training methods — and that value is too great to pass up.
There is a reason that children learn their earliest lessons by playing games. Game-based learning is a highly-effective way to engage students, as it speaks to their desire for play and competition — all while subtly getting them to learn.
Believe it or not, adults are driven by those same desires. This is why gamified training can be much more effective than a traditional lecture.
Instead of simply discussing the compliance and ethics standards for your company and industry, make your training a little more fun. Give the training sessions a theme. Tailor your lessons around a fictional narrative that illustrates your points. Set up a “quiz-show” style game with prizes for the employees. This break from the norm will make your employees pay attention — and it may even get them excited to participate in the training.
Don’t Ignore Diversity Discussions
If a company wants to have an ethical corporate culture, they must strive to be inclusive and welcoming of people across all walks of life. Unfortunately, many people have unconscious biases that can interfere with your goals for diversity. If you want to prevent those biases from becoming a problem, you’ll need to address this issue head-on.
Your ethics and compliance training should include a discussion on diversity and inclusivity — ideally a discussion led by individuals who are often marginalized because of their identity. Not only will these individuals be able to speak from experience to address potential issues they could face, but their unique perspectives can help all your employees understand the value of diversity in the workplace.
Consider Remote Employees
Around 4.3 million people currently work remotely in the United States, and that number is likely to climb in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. For some leaders (particularly those used to the old way of working), these remote employees may be out of sight and out of mind. However, these men and women still represent your organization — and therefore, they need to be trained on the company’s ethical standards.
This is yet another opportunity to incorporate micro-learning into your training protocol. Short training videos (perhaps accompanied by an online quiz or two) are a great way to train employees anywhere in the world. Digital training ensures your organization does its due diligence and trains every worker, while still allowing your remote workforce to stay in the comfort of their own home offices.
Create a Corporate Culture
Improving your ethics and compliance training isn’t easy, but it is well worth the investment. And now, you can simplify the process with help from third-party compliance vendors. Companies like ComplianceLine offer training programs and other resources to help you create a truly ethical corporate culture.