A wise person once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. So if you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Over the years, the world watched as major corporations like Facebook, KPMG, Mobile Telesystems, Swiss Bank, and others have made headlines for failing to address compliance-related issues within their organizations. When the dust settled from the lawsuits, the companies were hit with multimillion-dollar fines and damaged reputations.
Deborah Coram is the CEO of Safetrac, a leading online training provider based in Melbourne. She explains why a strong culture of ethical behavior supported by a quality compliance training program is an employer’s best bet for protecting a company’s reputation.
Can you briefly describe your background and your career before Safetrac?
Coram: I am a lawyer by trade specializing in technology law. Before returning home to Melbourne, I moved away from practicing law to running technology-based businesses in the USA and UK. I have served as Safetrac Pty Ltd’s Director & CEO for over a decade. Over that period, I have witnessed a seismic shift in how organizations view and regard compliance. I refer to it as the ‘rise and rise in compliance.
How would you describe your company to someone who has never heard of it?
Coram: Safetrac is regarded as Australia’s premier compliance training business. We have provided compelling and engaging interactive online courses on multiple topics to small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations in Australia and New Zealand since 1999. Our library contains over 150 courses that have been proven to educate and positively impact employee behavior and help drive an organization’s culture of compliance. Lawyers work with online learning experts to create all Safetrac compliance courses, and all courses are monitored to ensure they are kept up-to-date with current legislation and regulations.
In your opinion, what is the problem with the current state of ethics and compliance training?
Coram: Too many businesses view compliance training as a box-ticking exercise. Often, the staff is enrolled in poor-quality online training that requires them to digest large volumes of information about the law. These courses are usually long, and much of the content is generic and fails to explain how the law applies to their company and their job role.
Learners must then certify that they comprehend the content; however, these poor-quality courses regularly fail to evaluate how well the learner understood the content. As a result, poor-quality training programs do not enable the organization to analyze how much of the content was understood nor what could be a potential source of conduct risk.
If learners don’t understand the content, the organization is still at risk of being found vicariously liable for staff’s unlawful actions or inactions. So while they may be able to prove to a regulator that the organization has rolled out a training program, they have failed to use the opportunity to train staff in quality material that changes behaviors. If staff complete tick-and-flick training, what do they learn from the content about what they can and cannot do? An organization with poor quality training remains at high risk of staff breaching the lawful and, these days, brand-damaging headlines about non-compliant behavior are far more costly than the penalties handed out by the regulator.
What should organizations do to strengthen their employee ethics and compliance?
Coram: Businesses should do all possible to make the training relevant to their industry, company, organizational structure, and personnel. Next, they should incorporate training into their annual activities because state laws, federal laws and regulations are constantly evolving.
Employers should ensure that all training is interactive and tests users at completion in their adequacy of knowledge. Tests or further training should be required where knowledge gaps are evident. Companies should support training with policies, procedures, and a culture where managers and directors lead by example in behaving ethically and in compliance with the law.
What sets Safetrac apart from all the other course providers in the region?
Coram: Safetrac is unique for several reasons.
We are the only content provider within the Australasian market to provide clients with multiple versions of the same content. An example of why this is important is a new employee may need to complete an entire overview of the laws, policies, and procedures. In contrast, seasoned employees may be able to skip through content areas they are familiar with. In addition, clients can choose which form of content is most appropriate to their learner audience, which helps reduce learning barriers and improves engagement with the training.
Safetrac will work with our clients to customize the course to the requirements of their organization. This means that the look, feel, language, scenarios, interactions, imagery, written content, videos, animations, and audio can all be modified to suit the individual client’s requirements. The beauty of this type of solution is that every client gets a course that looks and feels like their own brand, suitable to the roles of their staff. This ensures that training is relevant and easy to consume and understand by the learner audiences.
Our course monitoring service monitors all legislation and regulations which may impact the content of a client’s course. As soon as we are aware of any impending legislative change, we will advise the client and let them know when a course update will likely be released. This empowers the client to plan when best to roll out a course carefully. In addition, if there is a legislative change shortly after a client has rolled out a course, Safetrac can prepare a “booster” course, which is a short course detailing how the legislation or regulation has been updated. This means organizations know that staff is always up-to-speed with the relevant legislation without having to roll out the entire course again. This is a considerable time saver for many of our clients and their staff.
Safetrac enables flexible delivery of courses via our robust and scalable online compliance training platform or as SCORM files to upload to the client’s own learning management system. SCORM delivery options can include one-off outright purchases or purchases on a subscription basis to ensure they receive all legal updates to their courses during their subscription period.
Clients who utilize the Safetrac platform enjoy access to our unrivaled client services team, which can support clients in their compliance rollout requirements. Our client services team boasts an NPS score over 70, which we work to maintain and improve on an ongoing basis.
Our content team is composed of highly experienced learning design professionals who can work with clients to customize or create bespoke content to ensure that we can support the creation of any course to meet an organization’s compliance requirements. The breadth of topics in which we have created courseware extends to industry-specific content such as financial services, travel and retail, through to unique courses such as equine management to sporting codes of conduct, management of hazardous materials in artifacts at museums, and how to exhume a body for cemetery management! Whatever your compliance requirements, we can help you and suggest improvements to your current programs!
What noteworthy accomplishments with Safetrac come to mind?
Coram: Our course content, breadth of topics and specialist platform are some of the reasons why Safetrac is unrivaled in the Australiasian market. It’s not hard to understand why Safetrac has been awarded the LearnX Platinum Award for Best Compliance Training Program 11 years in a row with brands such as REA Group, Toyota, Australian Unity, Arnotts, Metcash (Mitre 10) and Cricket Australia.
Organizations come to us for our unrivaled compliance programs, but they stay with us due to our customer focus and service level. Any market provider can send out employee training. Still, only Safetrac, with our outstanding client services and content creation teams, is dedicated to delivering clients with customized, relevant and engaging compliance training, which explains our 97% customer retention rate.
We are also responsible for offering compliance training to over 500 businesses. It’s our honor to report that no Safetrac client who uses our compliance training on an annual basis has ever received a warning from a regulator that their compliance training program was insufficient. In fact, Safetrac courses are subscribed to by regulators to train their staff in relevant content! There is no better accomplishment than that.
What advice would you give companies that still haven’t invested in the proper compliance training?
Coram: Simply put, a solid workplace compliance training program assists your organization in adhering to laws, reducing liability risks, and operating efficiently. In short, it will support your organization and staff to do the right thing, and it safeguards the organization from a wide range of legal, regulatory, and even business infractions that could result in large fines and civil and criminal punishments. Further, if an organization operates according to a culture of compliance, it can enjoy a raft of benefits, including:
- better employee attraction, engagement and retention
- enhanced public reputation and customer trust, and
- improvements in operational efficiency and safety.
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Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.