As the workforce dynamics stemming from the massive disruptions of COVID-19 stabilize, mandatory ethics and compliance training has emerged as a crucial effort for organizations – not only for hedging risk, but for establishing an organizational culture that supports engagement, retention and performance during the critical onboarding window for today’s new employees.
These revelations are especially important as organizations grapple to attract and retain employees amid the so-called “Great Resignation,” where workers across many industries are leveraging their position of strength amid tight labor markets. Today’s new hires appear to be deciding whether they’ll stay at an organization long-term at nearly the point of starting a job – a far cry from a decade ago, when managers felt they had six months to win a worker over, according to information from the Society of Human Resource Management.
Typically occurring during the first few days of a new employee’s tenure, mandatory compliance training is a major opportunity for influencing a worker’s decision to stay at an organization. Ask yourself – is your program creating workforce value, or simply checking a box?
Training and Onboarding Remote and Hybrid Workforces
As a comprehensive assessment of enterprise risk management trends across the world during the second year of the COVID-19 era, NAVEX’s 2021 Definitive Risk and Compliance Benchmark Report revealed half of organizations saw no change to their workplace culture amid the major shifts brought on from the pandemic. A quarter of organizations even said their culture had improved during the same period.
While it’s clearly the case that not all organizations and roles pivoted to remote work during the pandemic, many did, and the net preservation or enhancement of company cultures reported during this time suggests remotely deliverable programs and messaging, not perks like office amenities, were serving as a major positive culture driver. This raises the interesting prospect that mandatory ethics and compliance training delivered by remote digital channels was among the forces helping to prop up organizational culture during this extremely disrupted economic period.
Almost 70 percent of organizations delivered compliance training through a digital mechanism in 2021, according to the NAVEX report. This means most companies can provide the same experience regardless of whether an employee is remote. While this training can be required by regulation or otherwise necessary to mitigate risk, it is also a consistent touchpoint of employee experience that is often among the first for a new worker.
That compliance training sends a message to new workers about their employer’s ethics and values makes it an effective tool for laying an early groundwork for an ethical culture – an important factor the next generation of workers is using to make career decisions. Diversity, equity and inclusion is one area where younger workers in particular are looking for employers to set a high standard. In fact, 87 percent cite DE&I as “very important” in the workplace, according to a survey of 1,400 workers born after 1996 by the staffing organization, Tallo. As such, strong DE&I and anti-discrimination training at the time of onboarding is a critical step for engaging the emerging labor force known as Generation Z.
Communicating Company Values Through Compliance Training
Communication about a company’s values and culture is a major driver of employee engagement, according to SHRM. It is far from a vanity concept – highly engaged employees were five times less likely to quit than employees who were not engaged, and information published in Fast Company showed that companies with a strong ethical culture were 40 percent better than their peers in a host of business performance measures.
Finally, while ethics and compliance training is critical for new employees, it sits within an important ecosystem for long-term retention. Opportunity for further training and skills development also correlates positively with employee longevity, SHRM found.
So – is your ethics and compliance training checking a box? Or is it part of a broader human capital strategy, fueled in part by a pandemic pivot to remote work and the Great Resignation, to broadcast your organization’s ethics, values and culture in a way that inspires, engages and retains the best talent of today’s workforce?