Nicholas Elliot, July 27, 2017
Many companies continue to undervalue ethics and compliance training, according to a survey that suggests recent news stories of culture and ethics problems at organizations such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. are not creating an impetus to act in other companies. The survey from compliance services firm Navex Global of 929 ethics and compliance professionals found 25% said their organization doesn’t have a dedicated budget for training and 93% don’t even try to calculate a return on investment from training. “Implementing more sophisticated methods to assess training effectiveness and ROI will help demonstrate the usefulness of E&C programs and increase executive buy-in,” stated the report.
For the first time in the four years since the survey first was published respondents listed “complying with laws and regulations” as their top ethics and compliance training objective, beating out “creating a culture of ethics and respect” 59% to 57%. Training for board members declined from last year, falling to 44% of organizations that train board members from 58% in 2016. Just 17% of new directors received training and only 25% undergo training for cybersecurity or data privacy. “I find it troubling boards of directors are getting less training,” said Tom Fox, principal at Advanced Compliance Solutions, in an email. If recent scandals at high-profile companies demonstrate anything “it is the need for more compliance training and greater oversight of compliance,” he said. Even with training, Mr. Fox said the key for each company is to determine its own risks and then manage those, “even down to risk-based training.”
On the flip side, leading organizations are not delivering more training but smarter and more targeted training, taking data from their policy-management and incident-management systems and combining it with training data to create more savvy and efficient programs, said Ingrid Freeden, a vice president at Navex Global and author of the report, in an email. “This ecosystem approach to using data from different parts of your compliance environment can actually make it slimmer and more effective,” said Ms. Freeden. “But it requires an understanding of return on investment, it requires planning, it requires a dedicated budget. We continue to monitor and pay closer attention to this trend.”