A company could spend thousands on an ethics training program that has no affect on its employees. Especially in this challenging economy, people want to know what the ROI for an ethics training program is.
The answer is debatable. I mean, how do you quantify the ethical infractions that DIDN’T happen? I certainly understand the concern for provable results for a program like this. I encourage you to take a deeper look at your actual training module to determine what results it could yield. I argue if the training incorporates the essential elements, results will be obvious and felt throughout the entire organization.
I am tired of seeing the effects of ineffective ethics training. After 20 years in this business, I have determined that successful ethics training has common ingredients. The most important ingredient is ongoing training, not just a one-time keynote without any follow up communication, training or reinforcement. This is only giving lip service to ethics and cheapens its importance.
Another ingredient is that the training must be varied in order to make it more relatable to people’s experience, i.e. tools to analyze case studies, monthly department meetings tackling an ethics issue with communal wisdom, an ethics newsletter, highlighting things done right and so on.
Face-to-face training is integral to incorporation of ideas. Online training can only do so much and go so far. It is in the interaction that true wisdom can evidence itself in the discussions of participants.
Why does ethics training fail? There are many answers to this question. Maybe the two hours of ethics training a year is not enough to make a difference. Maybe the training content is not relevant to employees’ daily responsibilities. Could it be that it’s purely web-based and seeks to be compliant rather than effective? Maybe it’s a great showdown but does not have the buy in or respect of participants. Does the training speak frankly to what are the real hot buttons facing employees?
An ongoing program that addresses ethical leadership, moral awareness and decision making is a must. A program that speaks frankly to the heart of the matter and that can relate ethical behavior to participants’ daily lives will be much more effective and will yield results for the long term. An ethics training program that provides the tools to create an ethical climate is the only way to approach ethics training.
Ethics training is not just a nicety that looks good to everyone else. It’s a necessity if you want to decrease the odds of ethical problems before they become a potentially expensive legal problem, a public relations nightmare or a trauma to employee morale. How much would you invest to preserve your company’s reputation, growth and profits? We have seen seemingly indestructible Fortune 500 companies collapse due to one major ethical violation on a regular basis for the last few years. Let me ask, what are you doing to maintain your organization’s ethical culture?
About the Author
Frank C. Bucaro is an ethics expert, a leading crusader– speaking, training and writing– on the benefits of ethics. Coming from a background in teaching with a master’s degree in religious studies, Frank’s career in business spans two decades with the message: not only is good ethics good business, it is also good for business.
He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and has been inducted into the Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE) Speaker Hall of Fame. Frank is president of Frank C. Bucaro & Associates, Inc. located in Bartlett, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
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Frank Bucaro is an ethics expert, who is a leading crusader-- speaking, training and writing-- on the benefits of ethics. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and has been inducted into the Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE) Speaker Hall of Fame. Coming from a background in teaching, with a Master’s degree in Religious Studies, Frank’s career in business spans two decades with the message: not only is good ethics good business, it is also good for business. As an author of numerous articles on ethics and author of the book Trust Me! Insights into Ethical Leadership, Frank has developed unique and humorous insights into the challenges of taking the high road. He provides practical ideas to help with difficult decisions as well as strategies for combating the sometimes blurred lines between right and wrong. A member of the National Speakers Association, he has earned the designation of CSP which stands for Certified Speaking Professional. This award has been earned by less than 20% of the 3800 members of NSA. He was also presented with NSA’s prestigious CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame Award for excellence and professionalism, an award currently held by fewer than 200 people worldwide. He is President of Frank C. Bucaro & Associates, Inc. located in Bartlett, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. A few of the organizations that have invited Frank to speak include BP, the Canadian Pacific Railway, Caterpillar, ENMAX Energy, Fiserv Insurance Solutions, Global Compliance, the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario, Merck, Talecris Biotherapeutics and RE/MAX International. You can reach Frank at 1-800-784-4476 or through his website www.frankbucaro.com. Follow Frank on his blog, Ethics Shmethics, and on Twitter at @FrankCBucaro. Frank is a monthly columnist for CCI. For a complete list of his articles, follow this link.