Business magnate and philanthropist Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Last year, the world watched as scandals involving major companies like Facebook, KPMG, Mobile Telesystems, Swiss Bank and multiple other businesses made headlines for failing to address compliance-related issues within their organizations. After the legal battles ended, millions in fines were issued, and the companies took a huge hit to their reputations that would lead to even bigger losses.
Most companies won’t experience ethics and compliance issues at this scale. Even so, if violations like these do happen, the costs can be just as harmful in terms of legal fees, fines, and even worse – damage to business reputation.
If ethical conduct is to drive your company culture and be the norm at your business, a robust and effective ethics and compliance training program is your best bet to protecting your company’s reputation. Here are five ways ethics and compliance training can help reduce risky behavior at your business and give your team a solid footing for creating a more ethical workplace.
1. Ethics & Compliance Training Inspires Good Decision-Making
Your code of conduct is one of the most valuable assets at your organization; it provides guidance on how employees should behave at work, treat colleagues, and represent your business. But on its own, a code of conduct is often viewed by employees as “rules to work by” instead of “values to be driven by”.
As part of ethics and compliance training, code of conduct training reinforces expectations laid out in your company’s code of conduct, not only reaffirming your company’s commitment to operating ethically at every level, but also equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to make decisions that protect your company’s reputation.
2. Ethics and Compliance Training Helps Make Your Business More Competitive
At a time when a single ethical misstep can cost your business its reputation among customers, vendors, and government agencies you work with, it’s important they know your company takes compliance-related issues seriously. In fact, a recent survey from Edelman, a global communications firm, found that consumers view ethical drivers such as integrity, purpose, and dependability as three times more important than a company’s competence or business ability.
A robust and effective ethics and compliance training program gives those who purchase your products or are invested in expanding your organization confidence in your ability to make good business decisions and lead a team that cares about how its perceived in the marketplace. What’s more, it significantly reduces business risk as your company explores and takes advantage of new revenue streams.
3. Ethics and Compliance Training Helps Boost Employee Loyalty
It shouldn’t be surprising that employees are less likely to remain loyal when they haven’t bought into your company’s mission and ethical standards. It also may be why 33% of executives consider improving employee loyalty and faith as their second-highest strategic priority over the next year, according to a study by The Predictive Index.
While retaining talent isn’t always easy, ethics and compliance training can make all the difference in creating loyal employees and helping your company look more appealing to others in the industry. Ethics and compliance training helps create a more aspirational workplace, providing additional value to the employee experience, which leads to happier employees and less turnover. Additionally, as the expense of hiring and training new talent is reduced, your company enjoys more costs-savings benefits.
4. Ethics and Compliance Training Helps Leaders Be More Engaged
Your company’s leadership has a big influence on employee behavior and how they feel about the business. If leadership isn’t up to date on the latest compliance guidelines and regulations, they may not act in full support of a compliance team’s initiatives, causing employees to view ethics and compliance training as less important than it should be.
When leaders understand the internal and external problems that can result from a non-compliant workforce, such as the financial, reputational, and cultural costs that can arise, they’re much more likely to see the value of training and voice their support openly. And as leaders become more engaged, they motivate the behavior that builds a stronger, more united team and helps them embrace the standards that bolster your company’s reputation.
5. Ethics and Compliance Training Creates PR Opportunities
When an employee acts unethically or goes against company policies, it can cost your business a lot of money. More importantly, however, it can thrust your business into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, hurting it even further.
Today’s customers expect a lot from the brands they do business with, as evidenced by a range of recent studies and articles that show how much customers value authentic, transparent, purpose-driven brands that share their personal values. In this sort of climate, it is vital for organizations to do more than speak to their company values. In order to build trust with customers and create meaningful connections, brands must demonstrate a level of integrity that leaves no stone unturned – meaning everyone, at every level, needs to understand the values that drive your business, and have them instilled in such a way that it influences their day-to-day behavior and decision-making.
In addition to creating a company culture that customers respond to, an effective ethics and compliance training program helps your business prevent a PR nightmare, enabling marketing and sales teams to focus their efforts on building the brand instead of responding to bad press. What’s more, since word-of-mouth advertising is so valuable to running a successful business, ethics and compliance training helps employees adopt the kind of behavior that helps future customers – and their communities – react positively instead of negatively whenever your business is mentioned.
At Interactive Services, we help protect your company’s reputation with our award-winning ethics and compliance training solutions. Every one of our solutions can be tailored to your organization, ensuring your business provides employees with the right training to create a more ethical culture. Discover how we can make a difference at your business with our free 7-day trial!
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