DOJ Training Expectations | Thomas Fox – Compliance Evangelist

Welcome to a special five-part blog post series on the New Traliant, sponsored by Traliant, LLC. Over this series, we will discuss key issues that Traliant is helping to lead and define the online training industry in going forward. I will visit with John Arendes, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), on what is new at Traliant and what the Department of Justice (DOJ) has communicated to the compliance community regarding its expectations around online training and communications; Maggie Smith, Vice President of Human Resources, on the role of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in your corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) program; and Scott Schneider, Head of Content Development, on your Code of Conduct and anti-corruption training. In Episode 2, I visit with John Arendes on DOJ communications around its expectations for training.

There have been multiple communications from the regulators over the past couple of years about what they expect in training, first at the federal level from the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and second at the stage level as many state regulators have also communicated what their expectations are around training. Last October, the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Lisa Monaco gave a speech where she announced changes under the Biden administration’s DOJ enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other white-collar crimes. For the first time the DOJ talked about corporate culture, and Monaco said that companies and compliance officers need to assess culture. Moreover, the DOJ would look at a company’s culture in an enforcement action.

All of this means that companies must strengthen their training and communications. Arendes said, “when you look at the very top of an issue it is always stemming from a culture at the top of an organization.” He believes culture should be inclusive, diverse and respectful. This means moving beyond the standard or even traditional ‘check-the-box’ training. This DOJ assessment of corporate culture will require companies go “beyond just checking the box.” Companies need training which offers practical advice, case studies, and address real life scenarios.

This is key to Traliant training, “it’s based on real life. When we talk with our customers, they also say to us and communicate, here’s our culture and here’s what we’re trying to get to. How do you help us with that?” The Traliant approach is to create an entire program of courses that interlocks to each other, to create a learning and engagement experience that we hope will help a company in either changing their culture or reinforcing it, in a documented effective manner.

Another key that Arendes mentioned for anyone evaluating online training is the granularity of the training. For instance, basic discrimination and harassment training for the healthcare community is different for the restaurant environment. You should begin with your vertical, or specific training. In healthcare that would be training based on the healthcare environment. This means your training is targeted right to the audience. From there you should look for the creation of scenarios with different job positions, doing those different scenarios. Arendes provided the example of a nurse, working with a doctor is different from a receptionist working with the doctor.

We concluded with a discussion of the DOJ mandate for shorter, more focused compliance communications as a supplement to deeper dive training. Here the Traliant approach is called ‘Spark’. In this approach, the training is designed to ‘spark’ a conversation. Organizations will periodically use such communications to challenge the entire organization which can facilitate ongoing conversations about specific aspects of culture. From DEI to safety to ESG, to doing business ethically and in compliance. This also fits directly into the DOJ prescription of short, focused communications which can be effective. These can also be well documented so that if a regulator comes knocking you can quickly and efficiently demonstrate targeted, effective communications.

While Arendes cautioned that such short, focused training should not be seen as a deep drive or comprehensive training, it can supplement deeper and richer training. Shorter training can work well to reinforce deeper training. You can roll out these shorter trainings at multiple times throughout the year to “give reinforcement to spark these conversations.” He concluded, here at Traliant, “We have a whole standard library of those that come right out on the box with our library subscription and people are using them continuously, to do this reinforcement throughout the year. Based on their effectiveness and this new DOJ approach, I see those becoming more and more important to compliance programs.”

Join us for our next episode where we look at DEI training.

Check out the podcast with John Arendes this blog post is based upon here.

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