In this episode of Excellence in Training, Shawn Rogers provides some thoughts on the veiled land of –the future of compliance training.

Highlights include:

  1. I Hope Compliance Training will be More Respectful of the Learner

Compliance training needs to evolve to be more respectful of the user’s time and intellect. I hope that compliance training will become much less repetitive and that companies will figure out ways to give learners credit for the training they have taken in the past.

No other training discipline that makes the learner take mandatory training on the same learning objectives year over year. Rather than giving the learners credit for understanding and internalizing and applying the training they have received in the past; they keep repeating the same learning objectives. To eliminate the monotony, they try to take different approaches, such as gamification, videos, virtual reality, etc., but in the final analysis, they are still teaching the same basic learning objectives.

Embrace the concept of teach once (maybe twice) and then remind frequently. Over-training is a waste of both company resources and employee time. If we could accurately measure scrap learning rates, there could well be incredibly high in most compliance training programs.

  1. I Hope “Compliance Training Abuse” will Stop 

By “training abuse,” Rogers’ mean the tendency of companies and government officials/agencies to apply/require training courses/programs to problems that training can’t and won’t solve – but instead gives the illusion that “something is being done.”

Government Mandates

In the United States, many state governments are requiring companies to implement anti-harassment training, and repeat it every year (e.g., New York) or every other year (e.g., California). There are only so many ways you can train people on anti-harassment, and only so many learning objectives associated with anti-harassment. Yet, in some jurisdictions, companies have to provide annual training to employees, not because the training will change anything when done for the fifth or tenth time, but because it is required by the force of law. This becomes another form of tax on the company, it annoys and frustrates the learners, and it undermines carefully thought-out training strategies.

Virtue Signaling 

When a company is hit by a major scandal, often the first response is “we will require training.” This decision is typically motivated by a desire to send a signal that the company recognizes it has a problem and that it’s going to train people into behaving properly. Well, Rogers believes that 98% of problems a company face are caused by about 2% of its employee population. So, for 98% of the employees, the training becomes punitive rather than helpful, and the 2% of the bad actors ignore it. But there has been an illusion created that the company is taking steps to fix the problem, and it gets headlines and publicity. And the masses are pacified.

  1. I Hope Compliance Training will become More Relevant to Learner Roles

There are some ethics and compliance topics that every employee in a company needs to know at an awareness level. For example, every employee needs to know that the company has a code of conduct, where to find it, and what it contains. Every employee needs to know about the company’s hotline and how to report issues. Every employee needs to know about the company’s non-retaliation policy and the protections it provides. Every employee needs to be aware of safety policies and procedures.

However, when it comes to some of the more serious legal and regulatory risks, not every employee has the same level of risk exposure. Take bribery, for example. Most employees need to know the company’s position on bribery and that the company has a policy. These employees need understanding at an awareness level, not at a highly technical level. However, there are some employees that are in a position to either offer bribes or be bribed because of their job function or their location. These employees need in-depth training on how to handle these situations.

Hopefully, as a compliance profession, will become more adept at providing training that is adapted and tailored to the risk that specific individuals or groups of individuals present to the company and to themselves. This could be accomplished by better profiling learners through HR data, by using “adaptive” online training, and by focused training campaigns to high-risk audiences.

  1. I Hope Compliance Training becomes More Integrated into Business Processes

This is the “just-in-time” training model. It is one thing to have an annual compliance training requirement, and quite another thing to provide training exactly when and where the employee needs the information. For example, many companies provide insider trading training as part of annual training requirements. Then, they hope the employee remembers the principles when he/she decides to buy/sell the company stock.

But wouldn’t it be better to include some kind of “micro training” or policy reminder at specific times when and where the risk is highest? Perhaps certain groups are more prone to being aware of insider information – they should get frequent and targeted reminders. Perhaps the company has “trading windows” after earnings announcements. When the emails go out to the company that talk about the authorized trading windows, perhaps that’s a good time to provide an embedded training module.

Another example is when an employee is traveling overseas and might be carrying company samples or might have a computer that contains sensitive company data. That would be a great point to embed a “hand carry” training module or a trade controls training module into the travel booking process.

  1. I Hope Compliance Training becomes More “Bottom-Up” Driven than “Top Down” Driven 

Rogers hopes that compliance training can get to the point where managers and people leaders drive compliance training based on how they perceive the risks in their organizations. In other words, I hope that awareness of risks can permeate the organization to such a degree that managers will be able to recognize when their employees need training and can call on the compliance function to provide custom training opportunities.

Rogers ended by noting he would like to see managers become more empowered with the tools they need to be better partners with the compliance function. This is happening to some extent, but it needs to happen more. For example, at GM we recently installed a new leader for our Korea operations. One of the first things he did was to request compliance training for the senior leadership and all people leaders. He suggested both the topics and the approach to the training. He wants to see this happening more across the company.

Disclaimer-As a company, GM uses many training vendors. GM’s compliance function primarily uses two vendors. Rogers has worked with other good vendors that currently do not work with GM. Rogers is not promoting any specific vendors, nor is he disparaging any specific vendors in this podcast. And, of course, these opinions are Roger’s alone and opinions that  developed over almost 15 years. He is not speaking on behalf of GM in any way.


Today’s show features an incredibly impactful leader in my own life, Jeff McDaniels. Jeff is a Yale graduate and now the President/CEO of Farmers Bank & Trust in Kentucky.  


Jeff has created a culture in his bank that breeds success — especially for millennial employees! For as long as I’ve known Jeff, he has proven time and time again that no one generation is better than the other, but that we can all learn from one another. His results speak for themselves! 

 In this episode, we are digging into the approaches and thought processes that shape Jeff’s leadership style — all of which are attractive to the majority of Millennial employees. After this episode, your eyes will be opened to the potential and opportunity that lies within leading millennial employees. The question always is, will you put your stake in the ground and do something with what you’ve heard and learned today? 

 If you’re looking for tangible action steps and refreshing insights to help ignite the power of your own leadership journey, sign up for my weekly leadership blog HERE. 

 If your business would benefit from higher-performing leaders, check out more information about the comprehensive leadership development training I do HERE.  

If you want to reach out to me directly, 

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 P.S. Share and tag me on social–@AlysonVanHooser–and I’ll share your comments and big takeaways on my feed! 

The fallout from the Hoskins guilty verdict still resonates. Tom and Jay reflect upon it, what it means to play by the rules and then turn to some other of this week’s top compliance and ethics stories which caught their collective eyes.

  1. Hoskins found guility. Dylan Tokar reports in WSJ. Dick Cassin the FCPA Blog. Tom and Mike Volkov consider in the FCPA Compliance Report. How the verdict bolsters the DOJ, in GIR.
  2. Astros accused by ex-player of cheating in 2017 Championship season. David Schonenfield breaks down sign-stealing in com. Michael Rosenberg reports in Buster Olney says the Astros cannot be trusted to investigation themselves, in Tom weighs in on the FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog.
  3. How do you balance perception based culture with fact based compliance? Anna Romberg in Navex Global’s Ethics & Compliance Matters blog.
  4. Twists and turns in the Cognizant case. Bill Wichert in Law360. (sub req’d)
  5. What can WeWork teach us about private company compliance. Erica Salmon Byrne in the FCPA Blog.
  6. A Guidebook to Corporate Governance, on Forum on Corporate Governance.
  7. Deutsche Bank whistleblower loses appeal. Jon Hill in Law360. (sub req’d)
  8. Why do you need oversight of merged companies? Jay explores in his continuing series on CCI.
  9. TRACE corruption ratings for 2019 are out. Matt Kelly reviews in Radical Compliance.
  10. Is FCPA enforcement inconsistent? Three lawyers from Bass, Berry say yes in CCI.
  11. Take a deep dive into SEC 2018/9 enforcement numbers. Cleary Gottlieb lawyers on NYU’sCompliance and Enforcement Blog.
  12. The Compliance Kitchen, a podcast hosted by Silvia Surman, premiers on the Compliance Podcast Network.

Tom Fox is the Compliance Evangelist and can be reached at Jay Rosen is Mr. Monitor and can be reached at For more information on how an independent monitor can help improve your company’s ethics and compliance program, visit our sponsor Affiliated Monitors at

Vince Walden welcomes Lee Tiedrich to the Walden Pond podcast this week. Lee is a partner at Covington and Burling where she co-chairs the firm’s global and multidisciplinary artificial intelligence (AI) practice. AI is at the intersection of law and technology, she says. The technology is growing faster than the law, and Covington helps clients navigate the evolving legal landscape so they can capitalize on the opportunities presented by AI. Other aspects of their work include product counseling, advising clients how to improve their operational efficiency using AI, and advising clients about how to adapt their business based on the policy landscape.

Listen to the episode now:

What is AI?

Lee defines AI as using computing to automate, imitate or emulate human behavior. There are three key components to AI, algorithms and code, data, and hardware. Advancement in digital and hardware technology is greatly responsible for the enthusiasm for AI in the market. Lee predicts that the adoption and development of AI will continue to grow.

Compliance Professionals Need to Know

If you’re using AI or planning to, you should be aware of the key issues and policy developments, especially in your jurisdiction. The policy landscape is evolving rapidly. If AI is relevant to your business, become informed of where the policy is going and think about how that impacts your business and what type of changes you might need to make to your operations. Another issue that’s relevant to compliance professionals is how to make AI trustworthy to enjoy its benefits while mitigating against unintended harms. Lee says that governance is an effective tool to help manage the data, development, and deployment of AI. Given the rapidly evolving landscape and the growing interest in AI, organizations should dedicate some resources to understanding the AI legal landscape.


Richard Lummis is on assignment this week so I take this week’s episode solo to discuss how you can begin to evaluate a leader’s conduct around not simply compliance and ethics but also how a leader can improve culture. Highlights of this podcast include:

  1. The DOJ wants to see more evidence of leadership.
  2. How can a leader use current events to lead culture?
  3. What messages can a CEO push out around culture?
  4. A leader should be an ambassador of compliance, ethics and culture.