Why mobile engagement matters to ethics and compliance training programs

The Covid-19 crisis has shown many businesses a great deal about where they stand on ethics and compliance in general. For years, many organizations have relied on positive, values-driven governance models. Covid-19 has put those models to the test in a practical, real-world situation—and shown the importance of an effective ethics and compliance training program that is available to individuals at all levels of the organization. Mobile engagement in ethics and compliance programs can help raise available knowledge and make it easier for employees to remain in line with the organization's E&C priorities. 

Ethics and compliance: Why mobile matters 

Mobile devices offer a wealth of benefits, as the modern workforce turns to them to get access to information. This growth of mobile content consumption is revolutionizing how ethics and compliance professionals develop their program strategies. It's becoming increasingly important as the workforce shifts, with millennials and younger generations, who have spent their entire lives learning and working in digital environments, becoming more established in the workplace. 

Companies are beginning to use mobile apps to deliver codes of conduct to employees, allowing the organization's culture, values, and ethics to be accessed from anywhere, at all hours. With an increasingly global workforce, larger organizations can trust their codes are at their employees' fingertips, in their own language. 

With easier access to information, mobile engagement allows employees to be sure they're doing the right thing, and gives them the ability to ask questions when they're not sure. Reminders and push notifications can help keep compliance and ethics priorities top of mind for employees. Mobile engagement increases two-way dialogue and peer-to-peer activities, which can reinforce and contextualize E&C programs while making ethical dilemmas and scenarios feel more real. 

The global impact of mobile on corporate culture 

The mobile industry has been instrumental in extending connectivity to people around the world. According to the GSMA Mobile Economy 2022 report, the number of mobile internet subscribers in 2021 reached 4.2 billion people globally. Driven mostly by continued expansion of the mobile ecosystem, the global economic contribution of mobile will increase by more than $400 billion by 2025.  

As a result, mobile has created huge changes in the working world. GSMA Mobile Economy found that in 2021, 12 million jobs were directly supported by the mobile ecosystem—and 14 million jobs were supported indirectly. A report from Strategy Analytics projects the global mobile workforce to be around 1.88 billion people by 2023, accounting for 43.3% of the global workforce. Today's employees, now more than ever, use mobile devices as part of their everyday work requirements.  

The rise in mobile usage offers many opportunities to strengthen an organization's culture, and offers innovative ways to amplify messages about compliance and good behavior. Mobile apps can provide a more proactive approach to ethics and compliance by leveraging a device's geolocation and auto-notifications to provide users with information they need based on regional and activity risks.

A number of companies already use mobile apps to deliver their codes of conduct to their global workforces, allowing their values to be accessed at any time of day, anywhere, and in the local language. And more are making the move. "In almost every conversation I’ve been having with partners and prospects around codes of conduct, they are definitely asking for mobile solutions," primarily because that is the way most people access information, especially younger workers, says Jim Walton, senior ethics and compliance at LRN.  Mobile platforms can help companies easily make their code, policies, and hotline accessible by any device. "It’s more about getting the ethics and compliance message out and making it easier for people to access the information and ask questions when they are unsure," explains Walton. 

6 ways that mobile apps can improve E&C communications 

As today’s workforce leverages mobile devices as a normalized aspect of information access, the growth of mobile content consumption is reshaping how ethics and compliance practitioners innovate their program strategies. 

Mobile enablement can increase workforce engagement by embedding key topics and core principles at the fingertips of colleagues worldwide. Here are six ways that ethics and compliance professionals can integrate a mobile app into their program strategy: 

  • Deliver a code of conduct to employees in a highly accessible way. 
  • Issue reminders and push notifications to employees that will keep ethics and compliance at the forefront of their minds while they're on the job. 
  • Offer the opportunity for a two-way dialogue and peer-to-peer activities. 
  • Provide easy access to information, which means that employees can feel more confident that they're remaining in compliance and keeping in line with the company's expectations.
     
  • Bring ethical dilemmas and scenarios to life for employees through gamified learning. 
  • Offer clear insights into what training modules are being used on a regular basis—and which ones aren't. 

Thanks to the convenience of mobile apps, it's possible to customize the information that employees are getting based on where they are or what activities they're going to be engaging in. For example, an employee traveling out of the country might receive direct reminders about ethical guidelines when interacting with local government officials. An employee traveling for business might receive a reminder about the company's policy for entertainment spending or even the activities employees can enjoy while representing the company. These timely reminders can go a long way toward keeping ethics and compliance considerations at the forefront during an employee's work responsibilities. 

Unfortunately, despite the clear advantages of mobile technology, only around 25% of companies are currently using mobile devices to deliver training, including E&C training, according to the 2022 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report. In addition, some organizations may struggle to deliver effective ethics training, since many C-levels are more concerned with training that directly impacts the bottom line than with E&C training. 

However, that attitude may shift as more companies recognize the importance of mobile apps in delivering ethics and compliance training. Having a mobile strategy can go a long way toward improving employee understanding of the broader E&C program.  

Shifting priorities: Organizations look toward a mobile-first approach 

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the 2022 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report  notes that many organizations are making significant changes to the way they handle E&C issues, including making that vital shift to mobile. Around 72% feel that integrating major E&C program elements into a mobile app is a high-impact issue for the company. And 71% consider it a high-impact priority to provide simplified and searchable policies and procedures. Companies are also shifting to training specifically designed for virtual platforms, including Zoom and Microsoft Teams. 

There are several key things organizations may need to take into consideration when making the shift to a mobile environment.  

  • Ensuring that all devices meet company compliance standards. In many cases, organizations can improve their ability to meet those critical standards by rolling out corporate-issued devices that fit corporate security parameters.  
  • Providing high-quality content that engages and interests employees. Sometimes, employees may struggle with the concept that the training is "boring" or difficult to absorb. High-quality content, on the other hand, can prove much more engaging for employees.  
  • Issuing training in relatively small slices to make it easier to absorb. Ideally, employees should be able to complete modules in about five to 10 minutes, allowing them to digest the content they've already viewed before moving further into the course.  
  • Offering training that is available across devices. While mobile training allows employees to complete those training modules wherever they are, employees may want the freedom to shift from one device to another as they manage their training tasks.  

An ethics and compliance program mobile app can help set the company up for success and raise the odds that employees will interact with those small, digestible modules of content.  

4 lessons for delivering compliance training with mobile devices 

When developing your ethics and compliance training for mobile devices, it’s important you keep these considerations in mind.  

1. Corporate Security Policies. 

Today's high-speed wireless has changed the communicationsenvironment and most mobile devices now have multiple connection options (Ethernet, standard Wi-Fi, etc.), accompanied by a myriad of entryways. These entryways can be an invitation for an intrusion and/or attack. A comprehensive corporate security policy is critical to ensuring overall safety. 

2. Blah Content. 

Employee opinion of training content as boring (or previous bad experiences) have a huge impact on the adoption of compliance training. The development of creative, engaging content and multi-media delivery is paramount.  

3. Content overload.  

 Best practice training delivery modules are those that employ smaller slices of content. Employees tend to absorb and retain material better and longer when they can complete a module in five to ten minutes, and then have time to digest what they have learned before moving further into the course. 

4. Delivery across devices.  

 Delivery of course content across different devices has been proven successful. An employee is more likely to experience less stress and is more apt to complete the training if they are able to begin a course from their desktop at work, continue the lesson on a smartphone while waiting for a lunch meeting, and then complete it on Saturday on their laptop. 

Do you need a mobile compliance training program? 

If you need an ethics and compliance e-learning program that will allow you to better reach your employees, LRN can help. Contact us today to learn how we can help you develop better mobile engagement in ethics and compliance training across your company. You can also check out our latest resources on E&C mobile adoption: