Do you ever read something online and realize you’re arguing out loud with your computer? Maybe I’m just crazy (let’s call it “passionate”), but that happened to me recently while reading an article.
The article’s basic premise was that online ethics training is stupid and a waste of everyone’s time. I found myself saying “but… but… but” out loud to most of the author’s points, like:
But, I’ll admit, what bothered me most is that the article reflects what most people tell me when I mention what I do for a living. I hear things like: “I HATE that kind of training!” or “Ugh, my company makes us take so many of those courses.”
And I want to say to those people—and more so to their employers, who require the training— “But… it doesn’t have to be this way!”
During my years working in the ethics and compliance industry, I have seen Codes of Conduct evolve from documents that read like legal treatises to easy-to-read, visually appealing, conversational documents. This new and vastly improved generation of Codes actually helps people understand what their company’s values are and what is expected of them as employees. And that is such a good thing!
Just as Codes have evolved, so too should a company’s online ethics and compliance training—and all training, for that matter. We no longer live in a world (and I’m not sure we ever really did) where taking a 45-minute online course on the Code of Conduct or in a particular risk area is a good use of anyone’s time.
So, what should employers do? Scrap online training all together? Of course not. But employers need to be smarter and make sure they’re engaging their employees with training and communications that actually raise awareness, not cause their employees to resent and ignore what is in front of them.
The same suggestions we’ve made for improving your Code of Conduct also apply to online ethics and compliance training:
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