How to Get the Most Out of Your Ethics and Compliance Training
If you’re like many workers, just the thought of attending another ethics and compliance training session is enough to make your eyes glaze over and even fill you with dread. While compliance training probably doesn’t rank high on your list of favorite things to do, it is an essential part of life in the modern workplace.
Ethics and compliance training is vital for a variety of reasons:
- Promoting a better work environment: Ethics and compliance training helps to create a better understanding of the roles, expectations and standards that apply to every employee. This establishes the tone for a healthier, more productive workplace culture.
- Keeping abreast of change: Changes in regulations occur frequently in most industries these days. Timely compliance training helps you stay up-to-date and avoid potentially costly violations that could negatively impact you – and the organization.
- Creating consistency: Training is necessary for keeping everyone on the same page regarding ethics and compliance issues.This ensures a more consistent decision-making approach that results in standardization and uniformity throughout the organization.
- Increased transparency: By promoting adherence to rules, regulations and accepted behavioral practices, training contributes to greater transparency. This makes it easier to identify and track a violation – which ultimately protects you and the organization.
Maximizing Your Training Results
Because of its importance – and the fact that it is a requirement for every employee – it behooves you to get the most out of your ethics and compliance training. As with most things in life, the more effort you put into the training and the more receptive you are to the content, the better the results you’ll attain from it. Accordingly, the approach you choose to take to training will make all the difference.
Here are a few tips to guide you as you participate in the training program:
- Pick a good time: If you’re taking a self-directed study program where the training materials are available online, set aside a time where you can focus without distractions. You’ll get more out of the learning experience if you’re not feeling stressed, hurried or overly tired.
- Take an active role: A classroom or interactive virtual training program allows you to participate in the discussion and provide immediate feedback. Taking advantage of these opportunities will make the training more interesting and engaging – and you’ll retain more of what you’ve learned.
- Focus on values – not just rules: Compliance training typically entails learning new rules and regulations. The training will resonate more if you try to understand the values behind the rules. For example, take the mindset that a new safety guideline is intended to protect you and your coworkers – not solely to punish you if you violate it.
- Make it personal: As you go through the training, think about how to apply it to your specific job function. Create a scenario in your mind of an ethical dilemma you’re likely to face and how you can use what you’ve learned to make the appropriate decision.
- Keep an open mind: As the saying goes, you don’t always know everything you think you know. Even if some portions of the training seem to cover familiar ground, there will likely be something new that you haven’t come across before – especially with the constant changes that occur these days.
- Pay attention to the “triggers”: A primary goal of most ethics and compliance training programs is to help you recognize a violation when it occurs. Pay close attention to the cues that indicate an inappropriate action or behavior and know what to do when they happen (i.e., informing your supervisor or initiating a hotline report).
- Make a list of follow-up actions: Once you’ve completed the training, make a list of steps you can take right away to apply what you’ve learned. For example, note the changes you’ll need to make to comply with a regulatory update – or behavioral modifications that can help you avoid an ethical misstep.
- Review the material: Any training initiative can feel overwhelming, especially if it covers a lot of ground in a short time. Periodically review the materials after the session. Focus on the areas that have the most significant impact on your job function and work area.
Following these tips will make ethics and compliance training seem like less of a burden. You’ll also gain a better appreciation of its value to you and the organization.