We get it: It can be difficult, sometimes, to get excited about Code of Conduct training. Maybe you’ve done the same training for several years because you’ve been overwhelmed with other needs. Maybe your Code needs a refresh, and you’re unsure how to make your training engaging when your Code … isn’t. Or maybe your Code course has just become an uninspiring, click-through affair.

Luckily, we at Rethink are always excited about Code training. So maybe, this year, we can help you level up. 

Transforming your organization’s Code training into an engaging learning experience can be essential for inspiring genuine commitment to ethical practices in your organization. So, how do we turn what is often seen as an annual exercise into something that truly resonates? Let’s dive in.

Set the Baseline

First, the basics: Training on your organization’s Code should advertise and reflect your Code. It should look and sound like you. It should cover your key risk areas, contain information about speaking up, and list contact resources.

But remember, while your Code course should be the cornerstone of your training curriculum, it shouldn't be the entire curriculum. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Cover certain fundamentals annually but rotate other topics to keep the content fresh and engaging.

How do you keep it fresh and engaging? By tailoring it to your organization and your audience.

Know Your Audience

Compliance professionals are experts on what’s going on in their organizations (or they should be!). Spend time talking to people across different parts of the business. Listen to their excitement, worries, and complaints. 

Complaints, especially, can be a gold mine of insight.

For example, pay attention to specific requests or concerns about the training. Some common pitfalls are that the course is too long, there’s too much reading, it’s irrelevant, or it contains too much legalese. The answer to these is almost always: Tailor the content to fit your organization.

It's tempting to cram everything under the sun into your training but resist the urge. Instead, zero in on what you want your employees to keep top of mind. This could be influenced by your industry, current events, or specific challenges your company is facing. Take another look at those complaints. Look at your recent risk assessment and hotline data. You can’t please everyone, but when your training is tailored to your audience, they will notice the difference.  

Know Your Brand

Your Code training should mirror your organizations identity. Your organization's brand isn't just for customers or clients; it's also an internal influencer. When considering whereto customize and upgrade, remember who your organization is as a brand and reflect that in your training.

What do we mean by this? Organizations will react differently to the same content. Are you conservative and reserved? Is your organization more horizontal and informal? Are you wondering if you're hitting the mark? Ask yourself: Does this training look, sound, and feel like us?

For example, here are two videos addressing the same topic: asking questions and using the compliance helpline. But these videos are very different. Depending on your organization, one video may be a better fit than the other.

Using the Helpline/Reporting Line (Speak Up)

Never Stop Searching (Speak Up)

Customizing your look goes beyond brand aesthetics or logos — it sends an important message: Customization demonstrates significance, relevance, and organizational dedication to Code training. Generic-looking content often leads to tepid employee engagement, while tailored content underscores the importance of Code training to the entire organization.

Authenticity matters. 

Know what risks you can take — and take them. Think Super Bowl ads. They're memorable because they're bold and different. While you should avoid anything offensive or that undermines your credibility, don't be afraid to mix things up with your brand attributes. If something hasn't been done before, it might be precisely what you need to make your training standout and stick in people's minds.

Hitting the Next Level

Once you’ve done this work, you need to know how effectively it resonates with your team. You need some data. You can gather quantitative and qualitative data to help you assess engagement levels, takeaways from the training, and how it aligns with the roles, locations, and risks your employees encounter in their day-to-day work.

Don't limit your analysis to the training itself. Examine your entire compliance environment to see what actions the training is prompting, such as hotline calls, company intranet searches or visits, or general compliance inquiries.

Elevating your Code training from a mundane task to an engaging and meaningful experience is no small feat, but it's undoubtedly worth the effort: Make the training reflect your organization's identity, focus on the essentials, and dare to be different.

And just maybe, you can inspire an even deeper commitment to ethical practices across your organization.