Return on investment is greater for organizations with training programs deemed mature or advanced, helping them achieve risk mitigation and culture change, says a new report. 

In the 2017 Ethics & Compliance Training Benchmark Report from Navex Global, 48percent of respondents said their training programs were maturing – meaning they have a basic plan for the year that covers risk and role-based topic assignments. Effectiveness measures for these programs are limited to completion rates and qualitative feedback.

Another 10 percent of respondents said their programs were advanced – meaning they have a sophisticated multiyear training plan that covers a variety of topics assigned to specific audiences based on need and risk profile that includes live and eLearning, short-form and long-form courses and a variety of engaging formats. These programs also have a disciplined approach to reporting and measuring training effectiveness that focuses on training outcomes. Larger organizations were more likely to have mature or advanced programs.

Echoing previous year’s results, training at the highest levels continues to be a potential problem spot. Thirty-six percent of respondents said their organizations don’t provide ethics and compliance training to their boards – and another 21 percent said they didn’t know whether they did. Additionally, just 25 percent of organizations train their boards on cybersecurity.

But survey respondents are clearly concerned about complying with laws and regulations, likely influenced by recent corporate scandals and cyber-attacks. The order of the top two training objectives identified by respondents flipped this year compared with 2017, with complying with laws and regulations edging out creating a culture of ethics and respect for the spot.

Many respondents (about a third to half) indicated that they were unsure what outcomes their ethics and compliance training program has achieved, as few attempt to demonstrate a return on investment. Analysis suggests that organizations with sufficient budget (mainly ones at an advanced stage of maturity) experience lower employee turnover. However, about a quarter of organizations don’t have a dedicated budget for ethics and compliance training, similar to the 2016 findings.

Other findings include:

  • Organizations define a culture of ethics and respect in various ways; the two most common definitions highlight a culture that creates a workplace that encourages people to speak openly and aligns with regulatory requirements.
  • Just 41 percent of respondents said they provide training on cybersecurity, a surprising finding given the regular appearance of cyber breaches in the news.
  • Just 43 percent provide training on speaking up and reporting/anti-retaliation.