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Reducing risk through smarter learning

Reducing risk through smarter learning

Are your people taking risks that could damage your operation or reputation? Eoghan Thompson explains how a new suite of digital tools can help to reduce corporate liabilities.


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  • Every organisation needs strong codes of operational and behavioural conduct, led from the top. 
  • Digital learning can help to embed ethical and compliant behaviours, addressing any gaps in knowledge and confidence. 
  • Targeted training, development and assessment can ensure employees become personally accountable for their behaviour. 


An organisation’s vision starts with the CEO. But while it’s easy to be a role model for specific behaviours in a small business, as organisations grow, leaders often turn to systems and procedures to influence employee behaviour. 

With more and more businesses now operating within tighter regulatory environments, embedding stronger codes of operational and behavioural conduct throughout the workforce is more important than ever. 

However, a key issue with the way organisations currently deal with risk and compliance is that too many lean on ever more complex systems as a tick-box exercise, something to be completed once a year and filed away. 

What this fails to do is drive personal accountability. Employees fulfil a minimum requirement, tick it off their list and never think of it again, rather than embedding that knowledge in their day-to-day work on a continual basis. 

It’s also an approach that doesn’t play to individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, or address where they might have gaps in their knowledge. Nor does it prepare them for more difficult, one-off scenarios, where they can’t rely on a rulebook and need to use their individual judgement. 

As a result, the values at the top often get lost in processes down below. So how do you drive personal accountability, encourage compliant behaviour and monitor how people behave without turning employees off learning? 

How technology can help

Online learning that is rooted in the day-to-day challenges of the organisation can be used to help employees understand how they should behave. With the right approach, it should demonstrate the link between the individual and the overall corporate culture and instil a sense of personal responsibility in driving that culture.

Supplementing this learning with ongoing assessments provides a mechanism to measure the impact on the individual’s confidence as well as their technical ability. Together, they make it possible for an organisation to demonstrate not only that the right learning took place, but how effective that learning was. 

Making sure it sticks

The assessment process can also precisely identify where learning has failed and allow targeted interventions to take place, pinpointing coaching sessions at specific areas where the individual was weak.

In this way, organisations can harness digital learning to reduce risks by both improving understanding of expected behaviours while simultaneously providing an audit trail of the training and interventions that took place. This serves to demonstrate that the company has fulfilled its duty of care. 

That way, in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong from a compliance perspective, the organisation can show that this was an anomaly rather than a failing in the overall corporate culture.  

Making it work

This dual approach works across different industries and organisations that may have differing behavioural or cultural drivers. On a construction site, for example, there may be an experienced worker who knows he should wear a hard hat but does not and challenges a newer worker to follow his lead. The inexperienced worker may lack the confidence to challenge their colleague, despite knowing the rules. Digital learning and ongoing assessment can identify these cases and prompt managers to intervene. Most importantly, the interventions will be different for the two individuals.

It can also build on the foundations organisations already have in place. In a bank’s treasury operation, for instance, dealers must have a minimum level of compliance understanding before they start trading. Delivering regular compulsory training sessions electronically can maintain this knowledge and employees can quickly identify any skills gaps. 

And because the data is captured digitally, companies can also start building a picture that shows where employees feel less confident about how they should behave and training or interventions can be amended accordingly. 

The right digital learning approach can reduce the amount of time employees need to spend on compliance training and increase efficiencies, because knowledge gaps can be pinpointed and training focused on those areas. 

Why it’s important  

It’s crucial in today’s business environment to be able to demonstrate your business is compliant and to show that employees know what behaviour is expected of them. 

But de-risking your organisation through digital learning and assessment goes beyond delivering people who are certified compliant. Ultimately it means your people are better equipped to make the right decisions and your business is better positioned to defend itself against potential legal – and reputational – challenges.


For more information please contact: 

Eoghan Thompson

Senior Manager, People Powered Performance


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