Are Your Compliance Training Dollars Going to Waste?

May 31, 2016

BankruptcyEach year, companies spend millions of dollars developing training programs for their employees on compliance issues – anti-bribery training, Code of Conduct training, ethics training. In fact, 88% of organizations require their employees to certify completion of and adherence to compliance training, according to the DLA Piper 2016 Compliance and Risk Report. While that number shows the overwhelming importance of compliance training, the more shocking number is that less than half of companies penalize those employees who do not make it through those trainings.

“I was surprised by the finding,” shared Brett Ingerman, a partner at DLA Piper and co-chair of Global Governance and Compliance practice for the firm. “If you are going to go through the effort and expense of delivering the training and not track and follow up on those employees who don’t complete it, it seems kind of pointless.”

As Brett sees it, there are a couple of ramifications of this type of non-compliance to compliance training. For one, it sends a terrible message if you are an employee who doesn’t do the training and there are no repercussions. “The message is compliance isn’t all the important, this training wasn’t all that important,and we really don’t care that you act in compliance and ethically in the business that you conduct on behalf of the company.” It also points to the office of the CCO  – a compliance program without follow up is a sign that someone is not doing their job right.

With the 2015 Yates memo holding compliance officers personally responsible for both the company’s actions and in-actions, this number should start changing rapidly. There’s always an opportunity to follow up with employees and mandate compliance. With the opportunity to deliver training in multiple ways, including online, there’s little excuse for non-compliance with compliance. “We have a client that was so serious about it, that you have three tries to take the training, and if you fail to complete the training on the third opportunity, you don’t get paid,” explained Brett. Of course not all companies will go to that extreme and it will differ depending on industry, sector, and culture.

Considering the time, effort, and resources put into creating and maintaining a compliance program, failing at the final step – ensuring employees complete the training – seems wasteful. In the end, Brett feels, anything less than 95-97% of completion ratio for compliance training is unacceptable.

About the Report

DLA Piper’s 2016 Compliance and Risk Report: CCOs Under Scrutiny is the first of its kind. View results and download the report online. DLA Piper is already working on a second compliance survey, taking a closer look at the opinions of directors and the unique issues that multinational business face.

About Brett

brett_ingermanBrett Ingerman a partner and co-chair of DLA Piper’s Global Governance & Compliance practice. His primary areas of practice are business and commercial litigation and arbitration, with a focus on complex commercial disputes and lender liability issues. Brett also has significant experience in corporate investigations and compliance involving criminal, quasi-criminal and administrative agencies. Brett has designed and implemented global compliance programs for companies large and small, and focuses on providing practical compliance advice consistent with best practices and local custom.