Corporate compliance is something that can keep even the most seasoned leaders awake at night. Oftentimes, questions like, “Have I done enough to ensure my workplace is the best place for my employees to work?” and, “What if I have forgotten a critical area of compliance training that could put my organization at risk?” can dominate the mind. These are valid concerns, however, compliance isn’t just about checking a box. It’s about something bigger -- the future of your organization. 

According to an article in HR Dive, 2019 signals the start of placing diversity and inclusion at the forefront of organizations. The #MeToo movement, which put sexual harassment in the spotlight, and the continued push for pay equity are making it increasingly important for employers to offer structured training to address these and other workplace matters. 

Training is preventative, not reactive 

It’s important to start thinking about compliance training as a resource for preventing problems in the organization. Consider, for example, diversity and inclusion compliance training, which, when effective, raises employee awareness so that they can start to see things differently. An open mind can begin to understand the value of diversity in the workplace increases the level of respect that employees have for each other. Inclusion then becomes a more organic process that doesn’t require enforcement. 

Now, we are not deterring from the need for training, as compliance is one of those areas that require it. What we are proposing is that compliance can and should be a measure of prevention rather than a reaction to problems. 

Reducing risk by increasing awareness sensitivity 

What drives many organizational leaders to seek out compliance training is the fear that they are somehow putting the employees and the business at risk. After all, there have been too many cases where a serious claim has come up and zero compliance training was in place. Coming from a place of fear is not a good way to view compliance. 

Let’s switch this way of thinking for a second. Suppose that your company has a basic compliance program in place to address things like safety and information privacy. These are pretty much standard for all organizations. How does this training benefit your organization other than protecting you from a potential violation? Do employees benefit other than becoming more aware of their environment? It’s actually for an organization’s benefit of being able to prove compliance. 

When it comes to training for less procedural aspects of the business, like diversity and cultural tolerance, the increase in value tends to lean towards employees. They are the factors that are influential in the overall brand and culture of your business. Change this and all other matters can be managed from a place of high-level thinking. 

Importance of designing an employee compliance strategy

Compliance should not be approached in a casual unstructured way. It is far better to have a well-designed program that teaches core ideas of compliance. In diversity training, the foundation for appreciating people from all backgrounds requires a great deal of education. This is the area where ideas and attitudes can be transformed. 

Focused training on inclusion then reinforces this value by teaching employees real-world skills they can use to demonstrate respect and collaborate with others. For example, how to help employees from other backgrounds share their ideas, how to make sure everyone has a say in projects, and when to intervene if you think someone is being disrespected or left out. 

Creating a culture immune to unpleasant employee behavior

As you can surmise, compliance training in diversity and inclusion is much more than just ticking off a list somewhere to prove it’s done. It is an ongoing effort to change the corporate culture to prevent it from ever becoming prone to unpleasant and unwanted employee behaviors. 

Organizations that put effort into making diversity and inclusion meaningful to their culture actually produce an environment in which the culture can become immune to negative behaviors. It also gives the organization a better brand in the industry as people learn this is a priority. This is good for business as it attracts and helps retain talent.