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Why Employee Compliance Training Promotes a Healthy Workplace

Claudia Domenici Avatar


Customers, the board, and not least employees expect organizations to train their people in ethics, code of conduct, and wellbeing topics. Compliance teams can use employee compliance training to foster a healthy and safe work environment and a sustainable future for the organization.

Corporate compliance spans across multiple topics and lately, even more perils and potential exposure have emerged in the corporate risk matrix. This means that specific drivers are putting pressure on the individual organization to establish an effective ethics and compliance initiative.

One driver is the increased focus on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. Another driver is the expectations of employee conduct to uphold the organization’s reputation. At the same time, the emergence of hybrid work means that organizations are facing new responsibilities to help and protect their employees.

As a member of your organization’s compliance team, or as the person responsible for it, you might have noticed that this pressure comes from internal and external stakeholders alike. It forces the organization to expand its compliance training programs to encompass, for example, Ethics and Code of Conduct, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training. 

3 focus areas for employee compliance training

For some organizations, it feels like a pressure, whereas for others, it is more of an extended responsibility that needs to be lifted. Some organizations though, see wellbeing, and ethics and compliance training as an opportunity to grow a healthier and more inclusive workplace.

Three shifts that have impacted organizations to expand their employee compliance training, stand out:

  1. Post-pandemic health – 43% of employees globally (57% in the United States and Canada) are affected by stress according to Gallup. Increasing stress and lack of wellbeing because of uncertainty, changes in their jobs, and remote work post-pandemic calls for organizations to take responsibility and initiatives that support the health and safety of their employees. 
  2. Values and culture – Many organizations are in a transition to remote and hybrid work. It has become clear with the help of thought leaders like Josh Bersin that organizations need to use their corporate values and culture more actively to keep employees connected with the organization.
  3. Global movement – The global movement toward improved diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the increased awareness to fight the climate crisis, have made it essential for businesses to embrace these values.
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Effective employee compliance training creates human-centric workplaces

According to a McKinsey & Co survey, 36% of employees who have returned to onsite work after the pandemic report negative mental health effects of onsite work. Employee compliance training used to play a reactive or defensive role to mitigate risk, but organizations can use it to build, inclusive, and healthy work environments for people. In the upheaval created by the pandemic, where organizations are reshaping their policies and procedures, this human-centric approach to compliance training puts people first by protecting them and making them feel safe.

You might be wondering whether additional compliance training introduces a financial burden on the organization. But research presented by MIT Sloan Management Review has found that the benefits of training employees and HR about dealing with mental health, and other wellness initiatives outweigh the cost of these initiatives.

While compliance training is an effective way to improve wellbeing and help employees becoming more productive, it is also an important step in making the business more resilient and avoid employee misconduct.

Accordingly, boards and management teams focus more and more on training organizational values like transparency, trust, and inclusion. Why? Firstly, because a company depends on its people and a healthy work environment is a prerequisite for a viable business.

Secondly, because a thoughtless and noncompliant action performed by an employee or manager can damage an organization’s reputation as quickly as anyone can tweet a critical post.

Creating meaning through training

We have now seen how compliance training reduces the risk of employee wrong-doing and promotes productivity and wellbeing. But compliance training has one more positive effect: it creates purpose and meaning for employees. 

People feel that subjects like #blacklivesmatter, the climate crisis, #metoo, the pandemic, and stress-related illness are important issues in their lives. When organizations include topics like anti-harassment, nondiscrimination, and environmental awareness in their compliance training, they are making people’s work meaningful in a bigger context.

Essentially, compliance training increases belonging. If, on the contrary, the conversation between employees and leadership or among colleagues does not reflect what is happening in the world, work life risks to be less meaningful.

As an organization, this means you have a great opportunity to connect diversity, inclusion and belonging by training ethics, values, and code of conduct. By enabling effective compliance training you engage and empower people to make the right choices in work situations. It also strengthens the integrity of the individual, team and organization and builds a healthier business.

Emerging stronger from a crisis

A crisis requires special and immediate actions, but it also represents an opportunity for organization to address the employees’ needs and follow a better direction. The actions taken by some companies after the pandemic indicate that compliance training focused on the physical and emotional health of employees can be a way to emerge stronger from a crisis.

In PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2021 business leaders were asked, ‘What is the single most important action your organization has taken so far in its response to COVID-19?’. 80% said (32% strongly) that they took actions to protect their teams by considering the physical and emotional needs of their employees: ‘From moving to remote work and implementing safety protocols, to assisting workers with personal hardship, organizations put the spotlight on supporting health and safety’.

Organizations clearly have a big desire to support their people. Effective health and safety compliance training is a powerful tool that enables your organization to maintain workforce resilience through healthy employees and responsible teams empowered to execute.

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The best compliance training for employees

A key driver in social, environmental, and ethical compliance is connecting the training with the organization’s strategy. But for the individual to adopt the organization’s values, policies, and procedures it takes more than reading about them. Employees need an effective way to train compliance topics.

As a compliance team you should focus on your organization’s situation and find the key topics to create a healthy and inclusive workplace for all your employees. 

Some of the most valuable compliance training topics are:

  • DEI training (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
  • Anti-harassment training
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing training
  • Ethics and Code of Conduct training

To create an effective learning program that supports your organization’s strategy you must ensure that training does not become a tick box exercise. Instead, drip-feed the compliance training in connection with day-to-day training of related business skills to create a solid learning impact.

Off-the-shelf compliance training delivered in an up-to-date learning solution empowers your compliance team to be proactive and create effective compliance training that promotes a healthy workplace for people.

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Claudia Domenici Avatar
Content & Partner Marketing Manager

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