Ethics Training Tips

Ethical organizations recognize that ongoing ethics and compliance training is an essential part of the effort to reduce ethics and compliance violations and to influence employee behavior.

Attendees at the recent Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Global Fraud Conference had the opportunity to learn about how to integrate training as part of an effective ethics program. One of the speakers cited practical tips from CEB on creating an effective and engaging ethics training program.

We’d like to share that list with you, as a follow-on to our May 2015 blog post on Effective Ethics Training.  Here is a summary of CEB’s ten practical tips as presented at the ACFE conference (Moody, 2015):

  1.  Do not drown employees in details.  The speaker cited a survey that said people can typically only handle hearing three main topics at a time before they begin to tune out.  Remember this when conducting training.
  1.  Focus training disproportionately on management.  The speaker recommended having an executive- specific ethics code with unique training for those at the top.
  1.  Make training interactive.  Ask questions to facilitate participation.
  1. Keep training modules short to hold employees’ attention.
  1.  Use a variety of media types (e.g. live seminars, webcasts, etc.).  Webcasts should supplement live training, not replace it.
  1.  Use simple “dos and don’ts lists”.  Keep it unambiguous and direct.
  1.  Employ engaging gimmicks such as quizzes, games, or skits.
  1.  Personalize the ethics code to the company.  For instance, use the company’s name and logo in the presentation.
  1.  Have managers conduct the training whenever possible.
  1.  Tell stories of employee misconduct that occurred at the company and how it was handled.  However, be careful of slander or revealing sensitive information.  Unless circumstances involve publicly available information, omit all names and personally identifying elements or prepare hypothetical cases.

This list of ten ethics training tips alludes to the importance of face-to-face training that encourages discussion and exploration of realistic scenarios so that employees can better understand how the “rules” apply to their day-to-day jobs. Such training also can help employees recognize red flags and know how and when to report their concerns.

Effective training is not a one-time effort; it has to be a continuous effort. But that effort can help to produce the kind of company we all want to work for.

Ethical Advocate recognizes the importance of training in the ethics and compliance toolbox. Contact us for information about comprehensive ethics and compliance solutions, including ethics and compliance training and confidential and anonymous hotlines.


Moody, Mandy. “10 Tips for Ethics Training,” ACFE Insights, June 15, 2015.