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Online Workplace Ethics Training: 3 Ways to Customize and its Benefits

According to the 2018 Global Benchmark on Workplace Ethics (GBES), the pressure to compromise standards has been felt by more than 1 out of every 5 employees. This in turn has led to an increase in misconduct. In almost half of the countries surveyed (18 countries participated in the survey), employees felt that managers do not voice support for workplace integrity. This kind of data raises questions on the effectiveness of workplace ethics training programs that we currently have, doesn’t it?

It is a fact that ethics training is one of the ways to directly influence employees’ conduct and build an ethical culture in the organization. You have a choice to either opt for customized training or consider an off-the-shelf solution. Both kinds of solutions use scenarios for ethics training as it facilitates problem solving and provides a sticky learning experience. But, can an off-the-shelf solution that doles out a list of ethical practices be as effective as you would like it to be?

Customizing your ethics training can prove to be a better investment as you can see from the table below that shows a comparison between customized and off-the-shelf ethics training.

Parameters Custom Ethics Training Off-the-Shelf Ethics Training
Relevance Learners are able to find the training relevant as it includes scenarios they face often at their workplace. Training can be further customized to address a group of learners, if required. Addresses ethics training on a broader level and may not be exactly relevant to learners’ roles always.
Cost Initial investment is higher but proves to be profitable in the long run as the training solution is extremely scalable. Initial investment is lower compared to custom eLearning, but there are additional expenses when you need a scalable solution.
Updates Easier to update the course with new scenarios when required. Frequent updates not possible.
License Fee There is no license fee involved and the training can be rolled out to any number of learners. A catalog course comes with a license fee per learner or groups of learners. So when you need to train a large number of employees, the cost increases accordingly.
Ownership You gain ownership of the course and can make changes when required. You have the option to design the course to match corporate branding and style. You do not have access to the source files, as the training provider retains the rights to make changes to the course. The course is generic and does not follow your company branding guidelines.

3 ways to customize your ethics training program:

1. Tailored Scenarios to Make Training Realistic

Consider a scenario where an account manager in a US-based organization is traveling outside the US to meet a client. It’s the festive season and the client offers the account manager a small gift as a token of appreciation. Should the account manager accept the gift?

In the above scenario, the decision of the account manager should be based on the gift policy followed in his organization. If the gift policy states that gifts lesser than $50 in value are acceptable and the gift is within the specified limit, the manager would be right in accepting the gift. Such tailored scenarios make the learning experience relevant to the learner.

2. An Engaging Style to Match the Company’s Branding and Culture

According to the case study Managing Ethics and Legal Compliance: What Works and What Hurts, ethics training programs fail when employees believe that the training exists only to protect the top management from blame. The study also found that an ethics training that followed a values-based cultural approach works best.

It is easier to explain the nuances of business ethics with a customized training program that matches the company’s culture and branding style.

In one of our eLearning projects on Code of Conduct Training, we used an informal tone of language that matched the company culture. The GUI and the colors used in the course were in tune with the company’s corporate branding guidelines. We used icons, simple text, and infographics to communicate ethics and values in a concise manner that made learning easy and engaging.

  • With customization, it is also possible to include scenarios that are specific to a target audience (for instance, managers) or include anecdotes on organizational culture. This builds interest in the course.
  • If you’re planning a blended learning program to drive ethics compliance at your workplace, then apart from scenario-based eLearning, you could consider discussing a case study in the classroom.

3. Easy Content Updates for Periodic Reinforcement of Training

Training people on ethics isn’t easy and it requires periodic reinforcement just like any other training program. But would learners be interested if they had to read through the same scenarios every time they take the refresher training?

Custom eLearning provides the opportunity to include different sets of scenarios when a refresher training needs to be rolled out. We have been able to deliver a rapid eLearning solution where a Code of Conduct training was designed for rollout for 3 consecutive years. The difference was that each course included a different set of scenarios. So every time a learner went through a refresher training on ethics, he had to deal with a different set of scenarios where he had to make the right choice on ethical practices. This also worked as a great strategy to maintain learners’ interest.

Come to think of it, ethics aren’t really noticeable until they cease to exist anymore. But by then, it’s too late for any kind of training to salvage the reputation of your organization. So, it’s a good practice to get your employees started early on with ethical practices using a custom eLearning solution. Our Practical Guide on Custom eLearning is a resource that can help you in this endeavor.

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