Your leaders, managers, and individual contributors all work hard. Every day, organizations work together 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 of varying size, like 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.
What Compliance Issues Really Come Down To
When there are regular issues like bullying and harassment, neglecting safety protocols, or careless use of protected data, you have to look deeper than whether or not the rules are being upheld in order to rectify the problem.
If your compliance training is being ignored or not taken seriously, then look around and ask yourself if your leaders and managers are exhibiting two key characteristics: respect and integrity.
In fact, do more than ask yourself – ask your teams. Use anonymous survey tools to find out if respect and integrity are ubiquitous in your company’s culture.
If your leaders are prone to cutting corners, showing bias in interactions with others, or nonchalant about safety in the workplace, then that is going to affect how every employee views the organization’s stance on compliance. It can even make it easier to justify unethical behavior when leaders are lax in these areas.
“In the long run, a positive culture of integrity is the foundation for an effective ethics and compliance program, which, when properly embedded into an organization, can create a competitive advantage and serve as a valuable organizational asset.”
Respect and integrity must be visible at the top if you’re looking to shift your culture toward one that highly values compliance.
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
You may be thinking, “That’s all great, but how do we continually make those values known while keeping up with compliance training for audits?”
Training administration doesn’t need to be a hassle, especially when it comes time for audits. There are a lot of great resources out there to help you deliver and track compliance training online, along with providing follow up quizzes, and even post-training reinforcement boosts to improve employees’ retention of what was covered.
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.
Utilizing online solutions to provide engaging training content can help you reinforce a message of respect and integrity, while making administrative requirements a breeze.
Build a Compliance Culture That Lasts
A particularly well-known and popular phrase, especially 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.
But focusing on compliance can revolutionize your company culture, create a safer, more efficient workplace, and ultimately save your company from costly fines and lawsuits.