Practitioners Share Their Top Ethics & Compliance Training Objective—And It's Not What You Might Expect

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Ninety percent of survey respondents from NAVEX Global's 2014 Ethics & Compliance Training Benchmark Report, cited their top ethics and compliance training objective as “Create a culture of ethics and respect.” This was closely followed by “complying with laws and regulations” (89 percent) and “preventing future issues or misconduct” (82 percent).

Once focused almost exclusively on establishing important legal defenses, the new top priority for compliance training is building an ethical culture. This trend is true even among ethics and compliance and legal job titles that have traditionally been more focused on program defensibility.

Increasing Awareness of Training’s Impact on Corporate Culture & Overall Program Effectiveness

The increasing employee awareness of corporate culture as a training objective is an important program evolution that signals a broader awareness of the need to help employees understand what it means to act ethically and with integrity—and a realization that desired compliance behaviors often flow from a culture of ethics and integrity.

But, creating a culture of ethics and respect tends to require greater investment of time and resources than “complying with laws and regulations”—the second most-cited objective.

This change also points to a major challenge for ethics and compliance professionals. “Check-the-box” training will not help organizations achieve the culture and behavior change goals they are clearly chasing. In fact,outmoded training can backfire by increasing employee cynicism.

Bland training programs that are neither relevant nor engaging will not close the gap. High-quality, engaging training must become the norm (not the exception) and must be combined with other elements of a holistic and robust compliance program designed to pursue these important goals.


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