Looking to embark on your company’s ethics training program? You’ll most likely need the services of a professional ethics training company to do so. Due to the infancy of this market, there’s a small selection of companies to choose from, offering different methods and packages.
Your first venture into a compliant workplace begins with the hiring of an ethics training company: they are far and few, as this is still a relatively new market. While one ethics training company has real-world experience in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, others generalize more into legal compliance and broad-scope topics. Using different methods to deliver the message to your employees, the type of training you select will depend on various factors, including cost, customization and delivery.
This is indeed a decision you’ll have to do your homework on, to ensure that the selection you’ve made for the company that will initiate your employees’ training is doing so with accuracy, practicality and effectiveness.
There is no concrete answer, as different companies offer a widely different methods of providing ethics training to your company. While off-the-shelf training might cost in the ballpark of $1,000, a fully-customized and coded software portal may reach $25,000 and beyond. Remember: the most in-depth, updated and individualized the ethics training program, the more of an asset the program will be to your corporation in the eyes of a court of law.
There’s an obvious difference between an off-the-shelf ethics training software package, and a fully customized ethics and compliance program. Ethics training software sets are “universal” in the sense that they cover the basics of ethical issues in a broad scope. These solutions typically do not cater to specific industries, which may be a necessity if your company must be OSHA-compliant or otherwise. Think of it as a general office training solution: nothing more, nothing less.
Customized ethics training programs, on the other hand, involve an ethics training company that employs a team of corporate compliance specialists (typically with both real world ethics experience and graduate degrees in ethics) along with an IT team capable of programming a custom software solution to train and certify large quantities of employees. These training programs effectively cover all facets of corporate compliance from soup to nuts; reviewing all topics from workplace harassment to code of conduct and conflict of interest violations for all levels of employees. These customized solutions involve software portals, hosted by the ethics training company or within your organization, that employees can access, study and complete at their leisure. The results are tallied and available to the human resources or compliance department within your company, for record-keeping and managerial purposes.
Ethics training is also commonly delivered by a moderator or instructor. Instructor-based ethics training is defined by a classroom setting, where an ethics professional delivers a training program to your employees. These sessions are basically ‘lecture halls,’ where all relevant, pre-determined topics regarding business ethics are discussed. Another method called discussion-based ethics training, is a more interactive lecture session where participation and role-playing are a part of the learning process, which is usually delivered by a member of your own organization.
When making a final decision for your company, be sure that you are well acquainted with the top three ethics training companies you are looking to employ. Pump their sales team with all of the most relevant questions you can materialize. Compare and contrast the pricing structures, features, individualized aspects, and software packages amongst them. Last but not least, research these companies’ standing in the ethics training field: are they seasoned professionals? Are the programs created with experienced ethics and legal professionals? Don’t forget to ask these important questions.
Given the size of your organization, narrow your final decision down further by selecting the trainer who is best suited to your company’s size. It would be illogical to choose a service that specializes in large-scale, Fortune-500 caliber ethics training solutions if your company only has 50 employees. Ethics trainers who are experienced with specific categories of companies, whether it be small to mid-size or large organizations, are more well-versed in their respective category.