Effective corporate compliance training programs help to prevent poor conduct and ensure proper governance in your organization. This helps to minimize risk, maintain your reputation, and provide a better more productive environment for your employees to work in. Compliance training is mandated by legislation, regulation and/or policy, but the current approach that organizations are taking don't really work.
According to the 15th Global Fraud Survey conducted by EY in 2018, 13 percent of respondents said they would justify cash payments to win and retain business when helping a business survive an economic downturn. Furthermore, EY’s 2016 14th Global Fraud Survey indicated that 42 percent of respondents could “justify unethical behavior to meet financial targets.” These numbers hint towards extremely low knowledge retention and reinforcement rates.
Keep in mind that as an industry, millions of dollars are spent to provide regulatory and compliance training to combat such behavior (in excess of $5 billion annually, according to Training Industry research).
So, where is the disconnect? If businesses are spending all this money to help overcome this challenge, why is unethical behavior still so pervasive and accepted? There are two main problems with the current approach to regulatory and compliance training:
- The wrong emphasis on training methods
- Lack of measurement
A survey conducted by Deloitte and Compliance Week, indicated that many companies view their compliance training to be most effective when their employees simply completed the training programs.
“Measuring compliance program effectiveness remains largely the same for large organizations as small ones, with the top methods being an analysis of internal audit findings, completion rates for compliance training (emphasis ours) and hotline call analysis.”
The emphasis here is on simply completing the training, with no measurement of proficiency or understanding of the subject matter beyond a test at the end of the training. The mentality can’t be to simply complete the training and pass the test if we want to change behaviors, make the workplace more efficient and avoid costly mistakes.
Anyone who is responsible for training is familiar with the “forgetting curve,” introduced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 19th century. In essence, after training, we forget what we were taught over time – forgetting 79 percent of new information within a month. Forgetting is a natural occurrence, and studies have found that’s just how the human brain works.
With regulatory and compliance issues, what companies are trying to do is change behavior. This is not a one-off training event, it’s a continuous process. It has to start with engaging, high-quality regulatory compliance training with repeatable assessment. It should then be followed by significant knowledge reinforcement over time with key metrics that clearly show learner proficiency. Having measurable metrics such as this shows that learners remember what they have been taught.
Compliance training initiatives have to move beyond simply checking the box activities that only show completion. It needs to transition to ongoing training programs that add significant reinforcement and measurement so companies can change behavior to achieve the desired results.