You’ve got the CEO’s buy-in that your ethics and compliance program is a central part of the company’s culture. That’s great news, but are you using their presence in the right way? Living Your Best Compliance Life columnist Mary Shirley offers her spin on well-worn training activities.
For some time now, my team and I have been working on leveling up our tone from the top messaging in the ethics and compliance training module for all employees. In many organizations, the CEO appears in training emphasizing how important compliance is and encourages colleagues to take the training module and finish it on time.
Here’s the thing, though, it’s a wasted opportunity. Because if the CEO is making the effort and commitment to appear in a compliance training in the first place, it’s clear that they stand behind the initiative, so there is no need to explicitly state that to everyone.
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Training costs an awful lot to deliver. Not only in terms of the compliance department’s direct pecuniary costs to make the module and invest their time and energy into it, but also due to the fact that for every minute a colleague takes compliance training, the company loses a minute of productivity from their core jobs.
As integrity professionals, we must take this opportunity cost seriously and use every moment of our training (and all of our other initiatives involving the business) wisely. Instead of having the CEO repeat the same kind of messaging every time, not adding any extra value, let their presence speak for itself and use their appearance as an opportunity to teach about a learning objective within the training.
Yes, that’s right, I’m suggesting turning your CEO into an adjunct compliance professor. But go a step further and add tone from above and all around by incorporating other voices in the business for increased relatability — it’s an informal way to have a compliance ambassador program, too!
You can put a spin on this for the next training that is a little easier on your leaders. Use a caricature of their face along with a quote from them in a speech bubble offering a useful training tip. This saves them doing a recording and keeps mixing up your format for how you’re presenting ethics and compliance education and messaging.
This tweak on the original idea also works for a standalone communication campaign or to bolster tone from the top in policies by sprinkling relevant colleague quotes throughout the documentation.
If you liked this tip, I am pleased to share that I’m working on a book (after hours) with my editor on practical and actionable ideas to level up your compliance program. Look out for “Living Your Best Compliance Life” with tips and hacks to level up your compliance program, published by CCI Press soon, initially as an Ebook, followed later by a hardcopy launch in the fall.
Want a sneak preview? Here’s the blurb: “Whether you’re a Chief Compliance Officer, team lead or individual contributor, this book is packed with forward thinking hacks and ideas to improve the effectiveness of your Ethics and Compliance program to build a stronger, winning function, honoring psychological safety. This manifesto for living your best Compliance life, contains carefully curated tips and takeaways for optimum impact and immediate action, at low or no investment – because the typical Compliance Officer is not flush with funds and makes do like a corporate MacGyver – we see you! Mary Shirley provides detailed instructions while also coaching you to ask the right questions of yourself, and colleagues, to succeed as a well respected and highly sought after business enabler of the Reputation/Revenue Protection and Preservation Department!”