Every day, your leaders, managers, and individual contributors work hard to find ways to increase revenue, decrease expenses, and create a more productive, engaging workplace.
Unfortunately, all of that hard work can be undone by a few negligent or disrespectful employees.
According to the EEOC, in 2019, there were 7,514 sexual harassment cases filed, costing companies $68.2 million. That’s a huge expense, and only includes sexual harassment cases. When you factor in discrimination, wrongful termination, and workplace safety claims, disregarding the importance of compliance can become quite expensive, not to mention the cost to brand reputation (which could end up being much, much more).
Why Workplace Compliance Is an Ongoing Challenge
Every regulation a company must follow is designed to have a positive impact, be it making a process safer or protecting consumers or employees.
Sometimes that makes processes more complicated in the short term while having great long-term benefits, but it can be very difficult for employees to see it that way. That’s why compliance training is often seen as a nuisance more than a benefit.
It can be tempting to cut corners or easier to do things the way they’ve always been done, but there can be costly ramifications for not paying attention to or following regulations.
For some organizations, staying compliant is frustrating and seems to create many headaches such as audits, investigations, lawsuits, and expensive settlements. For others, compliance is rarely ever an issue, or if it is, then it’s resolved quickly and doesn’t require escalation.
Where does your company fall on the spectrum of compliance issues?
If this is a sore spot for you, then perhaps your team needs to dig a little deeper to find the root of the problem.
How to Build a Compliance Culture
Before you can instill compliance into your organization you must develop actions to take for your employees. Compliance can be talked about all day but won’t have as much of an impact if it’s not practiced. Here are a few strategies to implement:
- Hold regular training sessions and test employees on their knowledge
- Utilize compliance training technology to track completion of training programs
- Create incentives for ethical actions
- Hold confidential one-on-ones with staff if sensitive topics need to be discussed
A Culture of Safety and Security Leads to Higher Performance
It should be obvious that employees who don’t feel safe physically or emotionally in the workplace won’t be able to deliver their highest performance potential. When culture allows harassment or unsafe conditions to go unchecked, productivity losses can become just as expensive as lawsuits.
When people care about each other’s safety and well-being, they’ll make a point to fix or clean up things that may not have been their fault.
Say there’s a spill that an employee comes across – integrity helps them recognize that this should be cleaned up to prevent someone from falling, even if they didn’t cause the spill.
In the case of harassment, it’s all too common for bystanders to do or say nothing, for fear of retaliation either by the offender or the organization if they report it.
In a culture that doesn’t value integrity, it’s too easy for people to ignore problems and expect someone else to fix them.
Compliance is really the end result (and just one of the benefits) of a culture where people look out for each other’s best interests, rather than only their own.
Don’t Let Compliance Training Be a Stumbling Block
Many categories fall into compliance training, and all are equally important, so its crucial not to breeze over any topics.
Anti-harassment, workplace violence, DEI, and risk management should all be taught and discussed equally. Training does not have to be difficult; compliance talks about situations that most people know about but maybe are unaware that they are doing it incorrectly.
Keep it simple, talk about what you should do just as much as you say what “not” to do.
It can be awkward and uncomfortable discussing certain situations and as a result they get pushed under the rug. This then creates mistakes that could have been avoided because people do not want to talk about it. It’s a lot easier to talk about a hypothetical situation rather than dealing with an issue at large.
Learn more about how to effectively train your employees on important compliance topics here.
Your training program as a whole is a great way to keep up a consistent message about what your organization stands for.
“Communicating values is much like a marketing campaign—it needs to capture people’s attention and use different content, formats, and communication channels to remain fresh.”
Employees don’t always have to be taken off the job to complete compliance training. When you provide mobile-ready, online training content, they’ll have the opportunity to engage with training wherever they work, and not see it as something that only matters in the classroom to check off a box.
If you’re in the manufacturing industry, this can help you tie L&D programs to your bottom line while educating your workforce on proper safety and communication practices.
Build a Compliance Culture That Lasts
A popular phrase in L&D circles, is that training is not an event. In other words, training and development is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop when a classroom session is completed, or a video is watched from start to finish.
Rather, training is an ongoing series of learning, reinforcement, application, and feedback that leads do a desired outcome, usually a behavior change or improvement in skill.
This approach is popular in most training programs, yet rarely considered in compliance training. Treating compliance as an ongoing process can transform your company culture, and make compliance a valuable part of your company’s everyday operations.
That’s why BizLibrary’s Client Success team sticks with you and your training program, to help you see the results you’re looking for in the long term.
We understand that compliance training isn’t always thrilling. It may not lead to an immediate return on investment, or feel like there ever will be one.
Learning to Love Compliance, a BizLibrary podcast episode, goes into great detail on what strategies companies should take to reinforce the importance of compliance and how to align training with your business goals.
Focusing on compliance can revolutionize your company culture, create a safer, more efficient workplace, and ultimately save your company from costly fines and lawsuits.