Learning Technologies UK: 4 tips to deliver ethics and compliance training

Ethics and compliance is L&D’s shop window. Get it wrong, and nobody wants to come back. Get it right, and employees will be more enthused about the prospect of engaging further. But ethics and compliance training is far more than a process of imparting information and ticking boxes when it has been delivered. Great E&C work involves recognising that it is about helping people make the right decisions at moments that matter.  

This was the main theme of discussion for “Going beyond tick-box compliance and ethics training to enthusiastic adoption with well-planned campaigns,” one of the many panel discussions during the 2022 Learning Technologies London conference, Europe's leading showcase of organisational learning and the technology used to support learning at work. 

The panellists for this session included:  

  • Michelle Parry-Slater: Learning and Development Director at Kairos Modern Learning 
  • Fraser Simpson: Associate General Counsel – Ethics & Governance at Welcome Trust 
  • Josh Warrell: Learning & Development Business Partner at Les Mills 

Each panellist's organisation has shifted attitudes toward their compliance training, moving from a “have to do” to a “want to do” mindset. This shift from rules to values is consistent with findings from LRN’s 2022 Ethics & Compliance Programme Effectiveness Report: that a values-based approach to governance builds and sustains ethical culture—the essential element of more effective E&C programmes. Our research shows that an organisation dedicated to sustainable human values will exhibit superior performance across operations and be significantly more successful at integrating ethics and compliance into its day-to-day operations.  

4 best practises to deliver ethics and compliance training 

So, how do you make sure you are hitting your compliance goals? Stop explaining and start behaving! The panellists recommended the following best practices when delivering an ethics and compliance training programme: 

1) Invest early in ethics and compliance training 

Be bold and invest in E&C training programmes before something goes wrong. The initial up-front cost and time required to building an effective E&C programme is minuscule compared to the potential financial penalties and long-term reputational damage compliance breaches can lead to.  

2) When developing your E&C training, start with “why”?  

Why should an employee participate in a compliance training course? What’s in it for them? Be human in how you think about E&C training. Engage your learners before you design a training programme, so that you can better ensure that training material will resonate with people. It is also important to use authentic language that feels familiar and relatable to your audience. 

“Who does compliance well? Those companies that call it a Behaviour Change programme and not an E&C program. Organizations do not act through policies; they act through people.” 

—Fraser Simpson, Welcome Trust 

3) Be brave when building your training programme

Delivering a basic “tick the box” E&C solution does not cut it anymore—for regulators, board directors, or employees. Companies should push the bar higher by adopting a campaign-based approach to E&C training, which includes recognising the importance of marketing and using a range of platforms to embed key messages throughout the organisation. Leveraging ongoing communications and awareness campaigns effectively is essential to fostering engagement. And if something does not work, that’s ok; learn from it, and then try something else. 

4) Emphasise rewards and recognition to create a culture of high performers 

Two dimensions of organisational culture that LRN has researched extensively are reward systems and recognition. 

  • Reward systems are the extent to which ethical behaviour is included as part of formal rewards structures and reinforced through promotion decisions. 
  • Recognition is the extent to which leaders express appreciation for team members and recognition for how a job is done, not just outcomes achieved. 

Building a compliance training programme that emphasises these two dimensions can help create a culture where people want to be high performers. Leveraging gamification is one way to generate that high level of engagement. This approach is effective in non-E&C training programmes but is not used enough in E&C training. Use “league tables” to motivate learners to complete their E&C training on time. Incentivise them to participate in the programme. Invite local guest speakers to deliver powerful sessions in-person or virtually. Do not be afraid to get creative. 

The key takeaway  

Building ethics and compliance training that promotes an ethical culture within your organisation does not happen overnight—but keeping these best practises in mind when developing your training programme can set your culture up for success. Do this by focusing on the “why”? The why is driven by humans. Involve your employees in the ideation and design of the programme so that it resonates with them. Adopt a campaign-based approach to delivering the programme. This will resonate more with your employees and help it to move beyond a “box ticking” exercise. 

For more information, you can view our practical tools for building an effective E&C programme.