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How to Teach Your Employees to Out-Behave the Competition
Truly multimedia and multichannel: Leading companies are realizing their learning function should look much more like an ad agency or media company, and less like an HR or legal department. After all, the ethics and compliance education program is selling something: the organization’s core values and the behaviors that serve them, as well as the critical concept that the collective behavior of every employee is a big part of the organization’s brand value.
Consider Allstate, for example. The insurance company runs humorous TV ads with Mr. Mayhem and other ads with actor Dennis Haysbert. Similarly, in its ethics education, Allstate blends online learning with team-based, moderated discussions based on experiential learning kits that make live learning interactive, consistent and scalable — putting middle managers in the beneficial position of being seen as ethics leaders.
Good social skills: If the goal is to begin adding other media and forms of messages to the usual diet of online courses, there is little easier or more cost-effective than using the company’s existing communication channels, such as newsletters, email and social networking tools. Dell used its internal social network to involve its employees in rewriting the company’s code of ethics. Johnson & Johnson has used its regular corporate email to push out messages and information that reference and reinforce earlier training.
The recipe for this kind of reinforcement can start with a screen shot of an evocative moment from an e-learning course, dropped into an email, adding text that posits an open-ended question based on that scene or that repeats key learning points, and clicking send. The result is what marketers call multiple impressions — cementing key concepts through repetition.
But it should be remembered that the medium is still the message and each medium has its own effect on the employees who receive it — and may or may not fit with a particular corporate culture. For example, Twitter is a public information stream. Its plus is that corporate Twitter messages can be seen easily, in the same medium employees use to keep up on other goings-on. To use a more private channel may be more appropriate, but that will sacrifice ease of access.
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