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Memo to Managers
Compliance Training: Your Managerial Responsibilities
From time to time you’ve received announcements about upcoming ethics and compliance training. In the past, questions have been raised about what exactly managers are responsible for doing with their teams as training rolls out. Bottom line, you need to touch base with your employees to remind them of their obligation and ensure that time is scheduled so that everyone can complete the training on time. But there’s more. Besides making sure each person on your team completes the course by the deadline, here are some ways that you can help support these important initiatives:
- Make the time to attend training sessions yourself. Attend live training sessions; not as a moderator or an observer, but as a participant. Nothing says “we’re all in this together” more than actually being there. If training is online, be the first to complete it and talk about the topics relevant to your work group.
- Create your talk track. All managers should have thirty second responses that are ready-to-go when an employee asks why they need to attend the training or why the company is putting such effort into ethics and compliance.
- Watch the non-verbal (and verbal) cues you send. Sometimes an eye roll or a shrug from you, or saying “I guess we have to do training again,” is all that’s needed to undermine an ethics & compliance initiative. You are likely more powerful and influential than you know.
- Be selective and act as an advocate for your employees. You know your employees and the issues they face better than anyone. Work with your compliance officer to ensure that the most relevant training is available. And don’t be shy about pushing back if you feel a training requirement is out-of-sync with employee needs. Though there may be a good reason why it’s required, it’s important that the compliance officer understands your concerns.
- Take it seriously and get with the program. Capitalize on communications from the compliance department. You have the responsibility to make those messages real and relevant for your staff. Your employees can tell a phony from a mile away. If your heart’s not in it, they’ll know.
- Seal the deal. After the training is over, a follow-up question or comment from you can help seal the deal and reinforce the training. A simple comment can make all the difference: “You know I wasn’t sure what to expect from the training, but it raised some interesting questions. Don’t you think?” Then take a few minutes in a staff meeting to review one or two of the topics and discuss how they apply in your work group.
- Try quick reinforcement. Some organizations have “safety moments” where every meeting begins with a sentence or two about safety. Consider starting staff meetings with a similar “ethics moment” addressing a topic in the code of conduct.
- Don’t be a stranger. Compliance officers too often become isolated in organizations. Having a compliance officer who knows you, your business and your concerns can be a real asset. Make the first move. Why not offer to take your compliance officer out to lunch? How about inviting a member of the ethics and compliance staff to talk about a compliance topic important in your work area? Let your staff know the topic in advance and ask them to be ready with questions. It could pay dividends in next years’ training.
Remember, employees want to know that you support the training before they embrace it. Every time you do or say something that supports the program, it opens their minds to it. Ultimately, what employees learn and internalize from the training helps protect our organization.
Questions of the Month
Q: What should I tell my employees about the purpose of ethics and compliance training? They say they don’t need to take the training because they already know right from wrong.
A: You should tell them that, in the business world, as in life, decisions are not always black and white. Training is provided to help guide their decisions and actions, especially in gray zones. Training is one of the controls we have in place to lessen organizational risks by explaining what is right to do. Also it reinforces awareness of the tools and resources available to help employees make the best decisions. Training supports the compliance program goal to prevent, detect and correct potential misconduct before it causes damage to our colleagues, our stakeholders and our organization. That helps to keep the organization healthy and our stakeholders happy.
Q: We took this training last year. Why do we need to do it again?
A: There are a few reasons why training needs to be repeated. First, there may be changes in our organization’s risk profile that require additions or changes to our standards. Employees need to know about them. Second, information must be repeated several times before people can remember it when they need it. This is why you will see periodic communications throughout the year from ethics and compliance to reinforce the training. Third, there may be industry or organizational events that warrant highlighting different topics. And finally, annual training shows an organizational commitment to doing the right thing and to making sure the work force understands what that means.
Our newly-released Training Benchmarking Report contains findings and analysis from a survey administered to 750+ training professionals in ethics, compliance, HR, legal and training roles. Learn what top organizations are doing to cover more risk areas, improve training effectiveness and measure the success of their programs.
Using Compliance Communicator
Equipping managers with the skills they need to navigate the E&C challenges they face is critical. Use the content in Compliance Communicator to help keep compliance top of mind with your managers and strengthen your organizational culture. NAVEX Global grants you permission to publish any or all of the content to best suit your needs.
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