The right training can ensure that your workers walk the walk on compliance today, tomorrow, and into the future.
Lying, cheating, and stealing in the workplace are all too common. When people get caught, they often make excuses for their behavior, deny it, or blame others. When you implement a compliance training program that is more than an obligation and that reaches employees on a real, personal level, a culture shift results. The foundation of an effective compliance program includes six key elements: executive commitment, accountability and ownership, training and support, end-user engagement, alignment, and value measurement.
- Executive commitment. Don’t let compliance become an afterthought for execs. Managing staff, watching the bottom line, and maintaining quality are clearly essential concerns; but stress the important role compliance pays in all of these responsibilities. There are generally five steps in a compliance training program: awareness, meeting minimal requirements, self-driven behavioral change, full integration of compliance, and business strategy. Expectations of compliant behavior need to come from the top.
- Accountability and ownership. Everyone in the organization needs to understand their role in compliance and realize that they are accountable for their behaviors. You must define the risk of noncompliance, your program goals, and the potential impact of unethical behaviors and actions. When goals are clarified and shared and ownership is established, every team member knows what need to be done, why, and how.
- Training and support. You need to cover the right topics and provide ongoing reinforcement. Technology can help with this, and you can have programs hosted in the cloud or available via mobile devices. Among the topics worth addressing are how to avoid costly errors that could lead to fines or other legal sanctions (and what to do if an error does occur), how to protect the organization’s public image, and the importance of reducing the risk to revenue and growth goals. Design training around specific job roles and responsibilities.
- End-user engagement. Make compliance fresh and relevant; and keep it on people’s radar. Communication can help. Employ a multifaceted training program to increase the ability for employees to pursue compliance education. It also should inspire/incentivize them to live and breathe compliance.
- Alignment. Don’t just set goals/metrics for compliance. Use measures such as analysis of whistleblower hotline calls, internal audit findings, and training rates to track trends over time. Consider adding externally-focused measures such as independent evaluations, ongoing risk assessments, and other benchmarks.
- Value measurement. Don’t underestimate the potential impact of compliance on the bottom line via risk mitigation and organizational sustainability. It also can positively impact your public image and brand, bringing in new customers/clients and attracting quality workers.