In a marketplace where your competitors can easily replicate your products and services, your company's culture can be one of the few unique identifiers for your business. Your culture communicates the shared beliefs and values of your organization's leaders and often dictates how your employees will interact with customers and the outside world.
A toxic culture can lead to high employee turnover and quickly sour your company's reputation, while a positive culture can encourage productivity and loyalty.
One of the most critical times where you can set the tone for your organization's culture is during the onboarding process for new hires. By creating an informed workforce, you can promote positive behaviors and often prevent problems before they occur.
The actions and ethics of your employees have a direct impact on your company's reputation with customers, partners and regulators. From the first day of employment, you want to make it clear to your new hires the types of behavior and language that are and are not appropriate for your organization.
Not only will code of conduct training help to avoid any unintended ethical or policy violations by new staff members, but according to sentencing guidelines outlined by the United States Sentencing Commission, organizations that actively inform their employees of legal and ethical obligations are more likely to receive leniency in the course of an investigation.
In the fiscal year 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recovered more than $525 million through voluntary settlements and litigation for victims of workplace discrimination. And roughly $125.5 million of those settlements were related specifically to cases of harassment.
Harassment and discrimination training is critical not only for your management staff but for all employees. Effective training can help prevent harassment before it occurs and empower all of your staff to respond to and resolve potential incidents responsibly.
A survey of 601 cybersecurity professionals found that 55 percent of the companies represented in the survey had already experienced a security incident caused by either a negligent or malicious employee. And a separate study of 887 companies across 30 countries identified "employee error" as the root cause of 30 percent of data breaches.
No matter how much you invest in IT security software and technology, your efforts are no match for employee naiveté and negligence. With security awareness training, you can make it clear to all of your staff the critical role they play in keeping your business, data, and customers safe from criminals and scam artists.
To compete in the current market, workplace diversity is a critical component of success. Research suggests that racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform industry averages. And gender-diverse businesses hold a 15 percent advantage. Other studies indicate that customers are more comfortable making purchases from businesses that reflect the demographics of their community.
Of course, as your employees become more diverse, the opportunity for words, gestures, and unconscious biases to be misconstrued or cause offense will only increase. By taking advantage of diversity and inclusion training, you can create a culture of respect and tolerance that will help staff to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and more effectively communicate across cultural boundaries.
In 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began to more aggressively prosecute incidents of foreign bribery and corruption. Under current guidelines, your business can even be held criminally liable for bribery conducted by third party vendors or suppliers -- as long as your employees "know" that the funds are being used illegally.
To discourage incidents of corruption among your employees and better protect your business, anti-corruption training should be a priority during orientation. By clearly outlining corporate policy for gifts and entertainment, and by encouraging staff to be on the lookout for potential conflicts of interest, your business can better prevent violations before they occur.
Further, both the DOJ and the SEC have stated that during investigations they will "give meaningful credit to a company that implements in good faith a comprehensive, risk-based compliance program."
A comprehensive compliance training program for your new employees will help to mitigate potential legal risks and create a more civil, enjoyable workplace for all of your staff. By establishing clear employee expectations from the first day, you can better manage company culture and give your new hires the tools to succeed.