Welcome to the Creativity in Compliance Podcast – a new offering from the Compliance Podcast Network. In this show, hosted by Ronnie Feldman and Tom Fox, we’ll explore how creativity effects the world of compliance – the ways we use it, and the surprising impacts in can have on the work we do every day. To get started, Ronnie Feldman will be sharing how he was introduced to the world of ethics and compliance. Where does creativity fit into compliance? In more places than you think. Problem-solving, accountability, communication, and connection – they all take creativity. In this show, we’ll be exploring how creativity affects the world of compliance – the ways we use it, and the surprising impacts it can have on the work we do every day. From ethics to leadership, problem-solving to training – creativity permeates what we do as compliance professionals. Join your hosts Tom Fox and Ronnie Feldman on Creativity and Compliance, part of the Compliance Podcast Network for this creative journey.
Episode 0-Introduction
From Comedy to Compliance-Ronnie started out with an MBA business background in the healthcare field in his 20’s, and came across the improvisational comedy community, which he fell in love with immediately. He quit his job to pursue it as a career, and while it didn’t eventually lead him to fame, fortune and Saturday Night Live, he did get a job as a producer where he learned video marketing. Video marketing turned to training videos and that was his path into the ethics and compliance community. His production experience gave him the necessary tools and confidence to launch his own company, Learnings and Entertainments, a creative services and content provider.
How Creativity Enhances a Compliance Program-Ronnie talks about how how in his opinion, all humans are creative in their everyday non-work lives, but within a corporate environment, they all fall into the trap of constriction: following static cultures of communication, which stifles the ability to connect with other human beings. In turn, this stifles their ability to learn from us. Bringing creativity into the workplace makes it a better place, and over the course of this podcast, he and Tom Fox, who you already know as the Compliance Evangelist are going to explore the whats, whys and hows of it all.
Episode 1-Ethics & Compliance – Role vs. Reputation, the Great Irony
One of the hosts of this show, Ronnie Feldman is the author of an article entitled ‘Ethics and Compliance Practitioners’ Greatest Challenge: Role VS Reputation – The Great Irony.’ Tom says there are two types of reputations: personal and corporate, and he wants to know – what is Ronnie’s thought process on the topic of Creativity and Compliance? That’s what you’ll find on this episode of the Creativity and Compliance Podcast.
Painting the Right Image-Ronnie explains how the first time he attended an Ethics and Compliance event 10 years ago, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the professionals there. It turns out that the rather negative image he had formed about Compliance People in his mind was, delightfully, totally different than what he discovered: dedicated people that help their companies navigate through the rules. He does add that one thing that Ethics and Compliance professionals need to learn is how to change this reputation that society attributes to them!
Speak-Up Culture-Tom brings up the KPMG cheating scandal and all the polemics around it – but what baffles him the most about this whole ordeal is that no one within the organization bothered to call the ‘hotline’ – no one reported anything.
When there is a reputation failure, Ronnie says the first reaction people have is to stay away: employees know it’s wrong, but they don’t want to ‘tattletale’ or get involved in drama and so, they don’t speak up. He explains how organizations need to start acknowledging the speak-up culture, letting their employees know that it is okay to report internal problems. One way to do that is to make it known and make it clear that they value and have integrity, and that it is okay to speak up when something is wrong, that it is part of their responsibility to make the workplace a good place.
What About Policies?-Ronnie states policies are often written from a legal perspective – what needs to be done, rather than constructed from a user’s perspective. But what an employee really wants to know is how do these policies affect them? Thinking like a human and not a lawyer, in this situation, is a good way to better policies and include creativity.
Episode 2-Is Compliance Training Over-rated?
In this episode Tom and Ronnie consider the question of whether compliance training is over-rated?
Communicating with Colleagues-Ronnie talks about techniques similar to improvisational acting that professionals can use to be better communicators. If a colleague is viewed as the person who always says no, then other colleagues will not feel comfortable coming to them with their problems. Instead, they will go around them with their problems. He says the way to counter that is to adopt a more welcoming, positive ‘yes’ mindset.
In this episode of Creativity and Compliance, Ronnie and Tom talk about training in ethics and compliance. They get into the impacts the environment has on training, the forgetting curve, and the science that backs these ideas up. Tom gets us going by asking – is compliance training overrated?
Impact of the Social Environment-Ronnie believes that effective ethics and compliance training is a critical part of a company, but even more so, he believes that the environment has a huge impact on behavior in the workplace. He explains how companies tend to focus so much on training that they often don’t emphasize enough all the ways that the environment has an impact on why people do the things they do or act the way they do.
The Forgetting Curve-It has been shown in several studies that people forget things over time, and that roughly 90% of corporate learnings are lost within the first month of training. Ronnie believes that if it’s creative training, it might last longer in employees’ memories, but it still needs to be reiterated over time. People need reminding more than they need instructions. He adds that companies could benefit more time by giving little reminders to their employees to keep that learning alive throughout the year. Ronnie explains that as humans, we tend to overestimate our internal stimulus but often forget that external stimulus has a huge impact on us. We tend to be influenced by our peers around us and how they think about us.
The Stanley Milgram Experiment-Ronnie gives us a perfect example of peer pressure, using the Stanley Milgram Experiment, a study in the 60’s, where a person is asked to quiz another who they cannot see in another room. Whenever the interviewee has the ‘wrong’ answer, the interviewer has to press a button and, when pressed, another subject neither one of them can see, screams in pain. What the interviewee doesn’t know is that the person screaming in pain is actually in on the act. Despite the protestations and sounds of pain from the ‘subjects’, most interviewers were convinced by the experiment operators to continue asking questions, pressing the buttons and causing pain. The
And that shows up in the workplace. Even if employees have a feeling something is wrong, if no one is pointing it out, or if their boss just says ‘this is the policy’, many people go along with it although internally it doesn’t sit right with them. This is why just training on the rules isn’t enough, companies need to get across the idea the if something feels wrong, speaking up about it isn’t just okay – it’s the best thing to do.
A Little Humor Goes a Long Way-Ronnie ends by reminding us that the point is not to de-emphasize the importance of training, but rather emphasize all these other points to add value to said-training. The key to adding more value is to communicate more freely, creatively and frequently. For example, you can talk about challenging issues using fun videos or quizzes to get people more comfortable -the age-old strategy of breaking the ice with humor.
Read more about this topic in Ronnie’s Corporate Compliance Insights article: Why Compliance Training is Overrated. 
Additional Resources

Ronnie Feldman (LinkedIn)
Learnings & Entertainments (LinkedIn)

Learnings & Entertainments

60-Second Communication & Awareness Shorts – A variety of short, customizable, quick-hitter “commercials” including songs & jingles, video shorts, newsletter graphics & Gifs, and more. Promote integrity, compliance, the Code, the helpline and the E&C team as helpful advisors and coaches.

Workplace Tonight Show! Micro-learning – a library of 1-10-minute trainings and communications wrapped in the style of a late-night variety show, that explains corporate risk topics and why employees should care.

Custom Live & Digital Programing – We’ll develop programming that fits your culture and balances the seriousness of the subject matter with a more engaging delivery.