Compliance teams need to make a better first impression. While it’s always important to minimize the burden that employees feel compliance training brings, compliance teams should make a special effort with new hires.
New employees have a lot on their plate. Along with the rather steep learning curve that comes with settling into a new role, they are often required to attend mandatory training with multiple departments, including HR, IT, Data Privacy, and Risk Management. All of these training sessions and requirements can, therefore, unintentionally slow down the onboarding process, and — ironically — make it less likely that employees will take in and use all that the company wants to get across to them.
And now is a great time for compliance teams to rework their onboarding training, as companies usually step-up their hiring efforts in spring. Similarly, if a firm is closing a piece of M&A or has a robust on-campus recruiting program (which brings in a lot of new faces in the summer), now is the time to plan ahead, too.
Three steps will help compliance teams cut the training burden for a company’s newcomers.
Communications before new hires’ arrival: It’s important to plant the seed of compliance and ethics early; after an employee accepts a job offer, but before the first day. A gesture as simple as a brief introduction to the company code can paint a positive picture of the company’s culture of integrity.
Consider working with HR or the relevant line management to do this, since many companies are already communicating first-day logistics to new hires. This welcome letter could come from business units, HR, the chief compliance officer, or other senior leaders. But Compliance should provide key information, such as codes of conduct, ethical values, and helpline contacts (see chart 1 for an example).
Chart 1: Typical introductory email Source: CEB analysis
Click image to expand.
Integrate training sessions: Compliance is just one of the many functions that provide training to new employees, and there are many opportunities for these functions to join forces to lighten the load.
Compliance teams should ask themselves the following questions to see if they can work with others to streamline new hire training:
Are you repeating topics covered by other functions? If so, can you come to a uniform message about this topic?
Who is the best to take the lead on discussing the topic?
Is there any nuanced content in the compliance training that might not work for an integrated training? Can you save it for a more targeted training later when new employees become more comfortable at their work?
The compliance team at a multinational electricity supplier in CEB’s networks collaborates with other assurance partners to cut overlaps and deliver an integrated training to new hires (see chart 2). As a result, new employees only need to attend one, instead of three, training sessions.
“There’s really good collaboration taking place,” the firms director of ethics and compliance says. “If we see things from a compliance perspective that could be a risk, we share it with the other groups. There’s a more holistic view of issues and coordination than we’ve ever had before.”
Chart 2: Coordinating new hire onboarding training Source: CEB analysis
Enlist help from managers to address ethical concerns: Compliance training might only take place periodically, but its principles should stay with employees longer than the course itself.
To maintain the training effect, Compliance should work with their most productive allies – direct managers who work closely with new employees — to help show a new hire what constitutes (and doesn’t constitute) ethical behavior. Chart 3 shows a sample to-do list that compliance teams can give to managers to help them address new hires’ concerns.
Chart 3: Sample to-do list for managers Source: CEB analysis