6 key ways to reduce ethics and compliance risk
Learning Pool has offered top-notch compliance training for years, and along the way we’ve gathered data from millions of users’ experiences with our courses.
Within this data, we see insights. We see expected results along with surprises. And, we see risk.
For example, in our data privacy module, the average percentage of regulation scenario questions answered correctly is 80. That sounds good at first, but it also means that employees are wrong about data privacy regulation a fifth of the time. From that point of view, it is worth digging deeper into the risk. Ethics and compliance risk can’t be fully eliminated, but it can be mitigated—and adaptive training can help. This approach not only teaches employees the compliance concepts they need but also conforms to how individual users learn as they take the course. Here are six steps to reducing risk with adaptive training.
1. Assess needs and resources
Organizations with compliance programs that include training may be meeting basic guidelines and industry best practices, but a check-the-box approach doesn’t necessarily reduce risk—something companies can find out the hard way. Businesses should ask themselves if they are devoting enough resources to compliance and training, if the training is adequately covering ethics and compliance risk, and if the training is truly effective with employees or continues to just check the box. Understanding your compliance readiness baseline helps determine how your program should evolve.
2. Identify training gaps and opportunities
Although some organizations shake up their training in response to a violation of ethics or compliance, there is an opportunity to be more proactive and develop more modern compliance programs. Reacting to a disaster after the fact is usually far more expensive and stress-inducing than preventing the problem in the first place.
A proactive approach to decreasing risk identifies where training gaps are so the organization doesn’t have to continually play catch-up. This strategy recognizes opportunities to teach employees how to act compliantly and ethically, as opposed to just bombarding them with rules to memorize.
3. Be immersive and adaptive
Too many companies offer compliance training that falls flat with employees. The training modules don’t relate to the user, and subjects and quiz questions don’t apply to and/or thoroughly bore the employee. As a result, the employee tunes out from the entire course and comes away learning little, if anything, that applies to their everyday work.
To help address compliance risk, training must be relevant to each individual user, immersing them in the experience so that when they get back to work, they remember and apply what they’ve learned. Outsourcing such training to a top-notch partner ensures that modules are timely and engaging, designed by experts, and customizable to your needs.
As already mentioned, adaptive training provides a powerful tool for navigating today’s risk landscape. No two employees have the same compliance knowledge or react and learn the same way. Adaptive training overcomes disparity by adjusting, in real time, to the actions and progression of the unique individual within the training. This results in differing paths through the training but the same destination—employees who come away smarter about compliance.
4. Learn from the data
If you haven’t realized it already, we at True Office Learning love data—and you should, too! Training data not only tells you how well employees are learning from and engaging with the courses, but also provides powerful indicators on compliance gaps and where the next risk might blow up into a full-scale catastrophe. Besides the short- and long-term benefits of analytics, continually embracing the data helps build a culture of compliance and integrity—benchmarks are established, goals are set and revised, and expectations are ingrained.
5. Re-evaluate and revise as needed
Compliance risk is never static. New threats emerge, best practices evolve, regulations and laws are enacted, and even attitudes change—what may have been considered by some employees as seemingly playful workplace banter 25 years ago might be considered sexual harassment today. Even proactive companies might find themselves reacting to developments and incidents that weren’t quite on their radar yet. Compliance doesn’t wait for next year’s training session, but reinforcement tools, which are great for keeping compliance concepts top of mind, are also fantastic for introducing new content and learning.
In the meantime, if the training data shows that something is missing from the courses or a certain topic requires extra attention, don’t be afraid to update or amend your strategy. Also, consider whether your compliance needs might be better served by training that is more aligned and targeted. Re-evaluating your training strategy acknowledges that risk can’t be eliminated and that your best plan of attack is to stay fluid, flexible, and innovative.
6. Build a culture of compliance
Adaptive training not only helps individual employees better and more efficiently learn but also sends signals of commitment to develop a strong culture of compliance. Organizations that create an environment in which employees feel safe to work and report problems, emphasize that compliance is everyone’s responsibility, and clearly define, promote, and enforce policies ultimately reduce their risk.
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