Refreshing an organization’s code of conduct is an important step in building and sustaining an ethical culture. But how can ethics and compliance (E&C) teams effectively communicate with – and train – employees after a code refresh?
We recently hosted a webinar for our partners, Effective Training and Communication: A Practical Approach, to discuss this fundamental topic, featuring a panel with Gail Lehman (General Counsel and Corporate Secretary) from Hexcel and Alex McDougall (Senior Director, Ethics & Compliance Training and Communications) and Samar Aijaz (Senior Manager, Ethics & Compliance Training and Communications) from Cognizant.
The panel, hosted by LRN’s Barri Turner, covered insights and real-life examples around leveraging technology, overcoming challenges and using best practices when communicating with and training employees after a code refresh.
In case you missed it, here are a few of the main discussion points and takeaways from the panel…
- Best channels – and practices – for communicating the code refresh with employees.
The key here is to use a variety of methods, and to start getting senior leadership on board early. By explaining what the team is doing to refresh the code – and why it’s doing it – at management meetings, senior leaders will become engaged and talk about it with their teams. Live training after the refresh is important, too, as interacting with employees and answering questions can go a long way to broad adoption and understanding. E&C teams should announce the code via all channels at their disposal, from email to internal website to internal communications platforms, like Slack and Yammer.
“We reinforced the code update and key messages by cascading communications through leadership, so helping executives set the tone at the top by championing the message and communicating those changes to their team – and setting the expectation that it's important for all associates to read and understand the code,” noted Alex McDougall.
Communications that are simple, relatable, visual and, where possible, fun, are the best option. For example, Cognizant leveraged an LRN, sixty-second “beat the clock” gamified offering to engage with its employees. To date, 12,000 employees have completed the game.
“Whatever you do, if you just do the same thing again and again, people just turn off,” said Gail Lehman.
- How to engage senior leadership, executives and board members.
As noted above, getting buy-in from the top on E&C training is critical to success. One of the best ways to engage senior leadership is to tie E&C into recent, topical issues, like social justice, workplace safety and sustainability.
“I think there's a real opportunity to do it now because investors are so focused on ESG, and really try to tie it together. I think leadership starts to understand it more because it really is a value proposition. We made that very clear in our training that we did on the new code,” said Gail.
- Metrics and insights to use when developing training programs.
The panelists pointed to a number of metrics that they used when creating and building their training. They include broad employee surveys and focus groups – which provide invaluable on-the-ground feedback from employees – and ensuring that the training meets best practices per DOJ guidelines.
“We're also, of course, looking at what is currently, culturally and socially, politically relevant. So, last year, for example, we added a lesson heavily emphasizing anti-harassment, anti-racism, anti-bullying, how to be an ally and being respectful in the workplace,” said Samar Aijaz.
Samar also mentioned LRN’s Analytics feature “which assesses the number of retries for knowledge check questions to ensure that the questions are easily understood. If we do see a high number of retries that means we need clearer information on a policy or procedure.”
And when it comes to receiving feedback, Gail said Hexcel formed a compliance council internally, where people at different levels in the organization can give feedback. Her team has learned firsthand what gets “people excited about hearing about ethics.”
LRN partners can watch a recording of the webinar here.
About the Author
Ethics and compliance leader providing tools, education, and advisory services for global companies to inspire principled performance. LRN’s overall approach recognizes the inherent limitations of rules and regulations in influencing behaviors. In our view, focusing on actions that help build and maintain a values-based culture will mean more compliance and reduced costs as a result of tangible and sustainable behavioral change.More Content by LRN Corporation