Too Often, Ethics and Compliance (E&C) is Treated as a Disconnected Function, to the Detriment of the Overall Organization

Companies Can Take These Specific Steps to Integrate E&C Training and Communications into Business Operations, According to a New Report from LRN Corporation

NEW YORK, June 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The ethics and compliance function is frequently siloed from the rest of business operations, used solely to put out a company’s regulatory fires rather than to proactively solve ethical and legal problems before they happen. But the highest performing E&C programs – those that lead to the least misconduct, best financial performance and are most aligned with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) evaluation of program effectiveness – treated E&C as a central and indispensable component of business, according to a new report from ethics and compliance firm LRN Corporation.

Importantly, E&C and business leaders can take several steps regarding their E&C training and communication to immediately up the ante on E&C performance, according to LRN’s “7-Step Guide: How to Operationalize Ethics & Compliance Training into Your Business.” This new guide is based on research from LRN’s 2018 Ethics and Compliance Program Effectiveness Report, released earlier this year.

Emphasize Company Ethics and Values in E&C Training

“While it’s important for workplace education on ethics and compliance and related communications to explore the details of rules and policies, the most effective programs convey a company’s values, emphasizing them over granular rules,” says LRN’s Susan Divers.

The good news is that the majority of training programs (89%) have begun to communicate organizational values as well as rules. This is important, says Divers, since a rule can’t account for every situation, but a value can serve as a general guiding principle for behavior across many contexts.

Communicate E&C Training Across Multiple Channels, Especially Mobile

According to LRN’s Saira Jesrai, “More companies need to start going across channels with their training content: specifically, more need to offer workplace education on mobile devices so that employees can access E&C content anywhere, at any time.”

Currently, only 40% of E&C programs offer mobile training, even though it has been conclusively linked to higher E&C performance.  It’s not realistic to expect every employee to know everything that’s in the code of conduct, and compliance experts aren’t available around the clock, so having compliance materials and training at the fingertips of employees allows them to access E&C materials seamlessly as they work, Jesrai says.

Activate Front Line Managers to Communicate More Robustly About E&C Issues

“Middle managers often serve as the connective tissue between rank-and-file employees and senior leadership. They can be powerful intermediaries when it comes to the compliance concerns of front line employees and the larger goals of a company’s management,” Divers says.

In fact, 92% of the highest performing E&C programs have middle managers that deal effectively with E&C concerns raised by their team. This means having managers who open discussions of ethical issues during team meetings, take ethical issues into account when deciding on promotions and take responsibility for and corrective action in response to compliance failures, according to the report.

Among other recommendations from the guide: identify high-risk areas and activities on an ongoing basis; continuously reinforce training initiatives, as opposed to using “one-and-done” training courses; and measure training and communications efforts by soliciting feedback on training material to improve future programs.

Jesrai concludes: “Shifting the E&C function away from the fringes and toward the center of a business can seem daunting, but there is a wealth of quick, actionable steps that leaders can take to immediately make E&C more effective and fully integrated.”

For more on the findings, click here to access the 7-step guide.

For more specific and actionable insights on E&C program effectiveness, access the 2018 Program Effectiveness Report here.