Ethics & Compliance Training, Communication & Awareness
Don’t Just Train…Advertise!
It’s that time of year again – gift giving season! Hooray! However, those of you in the ethics, compliance and corporate risk community know that the holiday season brings with it a lot of potential problems for employees. So, what do you do? You send out a stern reminder email that they delete before reading because it’s from compliance. Or you trot out the rather ominous gift & entertainment policy that was written by a lawyer that makes your brain hurt. Or you post something on the intranet site that no one ever visits. Or you push out a training video highlighting a relevant scenario, but the acting is really bad and it’s a little condescending and secretly employees hate you for it. Boring, boring and more boring…and easily ignored and forgotten. But, if not that, than what? Here’s a workplace fact. Most employees don’t think about this issue at all, which is in and of itself a problem. But if they do, here is what they are thinking.
- What kind of gifts can I give and to whom?
- What kind of gifts can I receive and what do I do when I receive one?
- What the hell is nominal value?
- What’s the big deal anyway?
- What will happen if someone finds out?
- Who do I contact to find out more info and where is that information?
Here’s another workplace fact. Most employees are people! And human beings, as mischievous as we are, generally like to stay out of trouble with the people that pay them. Many want to achieve and most want to be a good person, but ALL want to avoid the hassle of doing something that will get them in trouble. They just want a simple way to get the info they need. Here’s another workplace fact. People are forgetful. We all have short-term working memory, which means that we know a lot of stuff, but it’s not always available to us in the time of need. There is an old truism that I think makes sense here and that is “people need to be reminded more often then instructed” which is attributed to Samuel Johnson. I’m not going to tell you about him. He has a white wig on which makes him seem important. You can Google it and look him up on your own time. So, if people are forgetful and have short-term working memories, they don’t need more training. They need more reminders so the information is top-of-mind in the time of need. If they generally want to avoid causing problems, then they simply need to recognize that there is a potential issue and they know where to go for more information. This can be solved through advertising, i.e. a series of simple, short, interesting “commercials” that appear in lots of places, gives them a simple message that they can remember, and tells them where to go for more information. One more thing. If you want to remind more often, then you will be more successful if your messaging is entertaining and fun. It doesn’t have to be funny or humorous or comedic, although that is helpful. It does, however need to be interesting and memorable. Then you can run that commercial more often and it further solidifies the message. Here is one example of short, fun, catchy, 60-second Gifts & Entertainment jingle. Click on picture or link below.
When it comes to ethics, compliance, privacy, information security, workplace behavior and the Code of Conduct, we spend way too much time force-feeding bad, condescending, finger-waggy training down peoples’ throats and it works against our interests. Employees just tune out. Train less. Advertise more in short, interesting, positive ways. Focus on three simple things.
- Remind them of an issue/topic with one simple message.
- Tell them where to go for more info.
- Let them know that it’s safe to go there.
This advertising-like approach will give you a better chance of having a well informed audience and in addition helps create an environment of trust and support.
L&E has a large library of short, entertaining, commercials in a variety of fun formats and styles addressing common corporate risk areas, including:
- Gifts & Entertainment Policy
- Conflicts of Interest
- Helpline & Hotline promotion
- Speak up and confidential reporting
- Integrity & Workplace Respect
- Privacy, Confidentiality & Information Security
- Harassment & Discrimination
- And more
Contact us at [email protected] to discuss how we can customize these or create new materials to meet your specific training and communication needs.