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You’ve decided to start an ethics training program, and now you’re trying to figure out ways to implement it. You must consider your employees’ available time as well as the costs to your organization.

A 2013 study found that the cost of direct learning for companies with 500 employees or less was, on average, $1,888 per employee. This cost dropped to $838 with larger companies of more than 500 employees. This is a hefty sum and must figure into your implementation plan. You also have to consider how much of a centralized tone you want to convey. The more involved upper management gets, the more important your training program will appear.

Following are 10 ways to implement workplace ethics training that don’t necessarily gouge into your workers’ personal time or your organization’s finances. These methods vary from being centralized, face-to-face presentations to loosely managed, eLearning modules.

#1 – Face-to-face workshops: the traditional way of providing workplace ethics training

Face-to-face workshops, seminars and presentations are traditional forms of training. If you want to convey the importance of the training, then you might want to go with a whole group, face-to-face training.This type of training can be very beneficial to your group. Participants may bring up examples that are in an ethically gray area and allow you to clearly define the organization’s position in these real life scenarios. This is also one of the most costly ways of implementing workplace ethics training.

#2 – Use hypothetical, on-the-job training scenarios

Using a hypothetical scenario would be a situation in which an ethical dilemma is contrived. In some cases, only some of your employees would be aware that it’s a training session. This strategy takes a great deal of prior planning in order to pull it off. In such a situation, a supervisor would create an ethical dilemma for an employee or group of employees  to encounter. Once in the situation, mentors may or may not be assigned to coach them through the tough situation. You may choose not to assign a mentor in order to see what choices they make.

This method comes with a strong caution: It’s easy for an employee to lose trust upon learning of this method, particularly if they make unseemly or improper ethical choices. No one wants others to “see” that they’d make unethical choices. This proves doubly true when they find out that it was all a hypothetical situation. It’s better to have a mentor to coach the employee through the correct choices.

#3 – Allow real-life situations to provide job-embedded training

One of the best ways to implement workplace ethics training is via on-the-job training. With this method, you simply allow your employees to face whatever moral or ethical dilemmas that may arise. This method can also be risky, regardless of whether your employees have had prior training or not. If they’ve had no prior training, the risks increase greatly. This method doesn’t permit many mistakes because the costs may be too high. You must have experienced, knowledgeable mentors readily available to coach employees through challenging dilemmas in order to increase the likelihood of the best possible outcome.

#4 – The flipped classroom model is an innovative way to deliver face-to-face training

With the “flipped classroom” model, the bulk of the class is face-to-face, so it’s not technically a hybrid class. A small, preparatory segment of material is “flipped out,” or sent, to the participants via an online module prior to the face-to-face portion. This preparatory segment is to whet their interest and supply some prior knowledge before the face-to-face session. You can flip out a video, have your workers watch it and be ready to discuss it in the face-to-face session.

Because the majority of the instruction is be face-to-face, this method is more costly than the online or hybrid; however, it can be more comfortable for those who like the personal, face-to-face delivery.

#5 Hybrid courses (online + face-to-face) are a novel way to offer workplace ethics training

Hybrid courses are becoming increasingly more popular due to individuals needing convenience and flexibility while still desiring face time. You can choose how much of the course would be online and how much would be face-to-face. It could be half-and-half. It could be 60% online and 40% face-to-face or vice-versa. Choose your course according to what will work best for your specific needs – some programs are even flexible, allowing you to adjust as you go. 

#6 – Break-time workplace ethics training is a quick, easy method of implementation

Using your employees’ break time to offer short workplace ethics training modules is a convenient and fast method of implementation. This way respects your workers’ spare time and recognizes that they may not want to spend extra hours before or after work receiving training. This is particularly useful for those who have children, families, second jobs, etc. that demand their non-work hours. 

Break-time workshops can happen as several sessions over a span of weeks or months. A supervisor can play videos that feature short vignettes of ethical dilemmas. After the video, the supervisor can lead a discussion and/or facilitate a question-answer session with guided questions.

#7 – Offer a brown bag workplace ethics training during their lunch time

Once or twice a week, you can hold a brown bag training session during your employees’ lunch time. This works under the same premise as the break-time training sessions; however, these sessions would be longer and, thus, won’t extend so far into the calendar. Again, participants can watch workplace ethics training videos and have a short discussion afterward with a question-answer period.

#8 A fully online, eLearning course is a convenient, flexible means of training

An online course is a great option for rolling out your workplace ethics training program. This program can embed feature videos on an eLearning platform. Quizzes and question-answer portions can be added. Your employees can submit their self-reflection with an online journal or share their thoughts in a forum.  There are many platforms and ways to roll out an eLearning program.

#9 – Host a series of meetings & webinars to offer your workplace ethics training program

This method uses online resources; however, it demands more structure and isn’t as convenient or flexible as a full eLearning program. Your employees would have the freedom to take the courses during non-work hours, but only during set times. Instead of being required to be at a particular location, they would participate online as the instructor projected their powerpoint, videos and other media online. This offers some freedom, but isn’t 100% convenient.

#10 – Offer workplace ethics training videos “a la carte”

If you have a library of training videos, your employees can work their way through them on their own time, at their own pace. You can include a quiz at the end of the video or a series of questions to answer while they watch the video in order to check for understanding. Once they’ve watched a set number of videos (say, 5 out of 10 videos) and satisfactorily passed the corresponding quizzes, they could be considered done with the training.

Customize your workplace ethics training according to your specific needs

There are many ways you can implement your ethics training program. Some methods take more time to plan and implement, others are more costly, and some are more risky than others. You can choose face-to-face, online, flipped classroom and a la carte, among other options. With so many opportunities available, you should have no problem implementing a workplace ethics training that best suits your organization.

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