With increasing crack downs on corruption abroad, having a solid global compliance training strategy is essential to prevent and protect your company from corruption allegations. That being said, implementing a thorough global compliance training strategy is difficult when you have subsidiaries abroad – not only does it require well thought out coordination and standardization, but there’s a language barrier that must be overcome as well…
Combating Corruption Begins With Global Compliance Training
Effective global compliance training is essential for any anti-bribery program. While it can be viewed as a costly endeavor, it really should be considered an investment in protecting your company’s image and future expenses.
Bribery and corruption cost the economy worldwide more than 1 trillion U.S. dollars a year.
They are a major obstacle for socio-economic development, creating distortion in national and international markets, impacting economies from emerging countries, and costing companies large quantities in fines and penalties every year.
Thus anti corruption training from the onset can save trillions of dollars down the line.
Despite an increasing focus on ensuring preventative measures are set up to limit employees from engaging in corrupt practices, many still do not understand what corruption and bribery are, and the many forms they can take. The fact that corruption affects a whole company – not just individual departments – is often misunderstood.
Knowing that, any multinational company should be prepared to take a hard look at their global compliance training programs, and dig in to their fundamentals in order to discover whether or not they are effective at teaching compliance among employees.
If not, companies run the risk of paying out trillions in fines.
That being said, developing an effective training program is wrought with challenges – some main ones being providing a quality, and yet cost effective, program.
Global Compliance Training Implementation Challenges
An effective FCPA compliance training program should ensure that the policies and procedures of the company have been communicated throughout the entire organization, in as standardized a method as possible.
Furthermore, companies with presence overseas and companies in the U.S. with employees from different nationalities should ensure their employees understand all the policies and procedures regarding FCPA compliance by offering multilingual training.
Global training programs, albeit necessary, nonetheless are wrought with challenges for companies, such as the following outlined by CommLab India:
- Training work groups in all global locations the company operates is difficult, since it involves a lot of travel.
- Delivering the FCPA compliance training with standardized content, uniformly throughout the globe, may not be possible as all the trainers may have different levels of competence.
- Producing proof or records regarding the completion of such training to the regulatory authorities is mandatory. But it is costly and it requires a complex set of activities to maintain adequate records regarding training sessions.
Some of these challenges could be addressed with on-line training, but it is a compelling argument that the best programs are the ones that utilize both on-line and in-person training.
That being said, what are the pros and cons of each? FCPAméricas outlined some below.
Online Versus In-Person Global Compliance Training
On-Line Training Benefits:
- Generally more cost effective than finding multilingual trainers, scheduling groups of employees, and accommodating travel expenses
- Can be standardized and deployed globally
- eLearning translation and localization can be easily applied to fit both the linguistic requirements of employees, as well as technical requirements of company software
- Managers and training officers can easily track and certify completion of training modules by employees
On – Line Training Negatives:
- It can be argued that employees are less involved in the process, as they are unable to ask as many questions or directly participate in conversation with a trainer
- Actual comprehension of FCPA compliance, and related topics, cannot fully be ascertained using only on-line methods
In – Person Training Benefits:
- Generally participation with an instructor allows for more active comprehension, and gives employees the chance to clarify topics if needed
- It shows that a company is serious about protecting their employees from corruption related activities
- Training can be personalized to the company, as well as the individual students – this ensures the maximum level of comprehension as each student’s learning methods and concerns can be addressed, compared to learning from a generic training module
In – Person Training Negatives:
- Sourcing and hiring multilingual trainers can be difficult and expensive
- Discussions and training can’t be “paused” if an employee needs to leave the room, or misses a training session – as such valuable information can be lost
Both training styles have their pros and cons; however, it is ideal to implement at least one, if not both, in order to ensure you’re protecting your company against possible corruption.
While a combination of the two methods for companies with the resources to implement them can increase the chances of employee comprehension and adherence to standards of conduct, there are still large businesses that did not jump on the chance to implement sufficient training programs right away.
This resulted in serious fines and penalties.
Nortek: A Case of Needing Multilingual Compliance Training
The actions brought by the SEC in 2016 against Nortek Inc. are a reminder for organizations to offer FCPA compliance training to employees located in higher risk regions, in their native tongue.
Nortek Inc., a building products manufacturer, resolved an FCPA books and records, and internal accounting controls action based on the conduct of its Chinese subsidiary. Among the SEC’s findings were that Nortek failed to establish procedures to ensure its Linear China employees were trained in anti-corruption compliance.
As a result, nearly $290,000 went out to Chinese officials in bribes.
While Nortek was not charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and instead was subject to a non-prosecution agreement from the SEC, it still paid out roughly $321,000 in disgorgement and interest.
Among the remedial measures mentioned in the resolution document, Nortek agreed to provide extensive, mandatory, in-person and on-line training on the FCPA and anti-corruption policies to its employees around the world in appropriate languages.
Tips for Effective, Multilingual, Global Compliance Training
Nortek and many other large, multinational corporations prove good examples as to why you should not take anti-corruption training lightly. Additionally it should not be assumed that just because English is widespread in the world of business, that your international employees will speak it. Even if they do speak some English, full comprehension of anti-corruption topics isn’t guaranteed if they are not fluent.
This is especially important to consider when developing global compliance training programs, and with e-learning modules where it is difficult to understand the full comprehension of employees. So what do you need to do in order to adapt programs to your employees?
Fundamentally you will need to contract training material translation services for all the major languages spoken by your employees. There are two main points to keep in mind when doing so in order to keep your employees’ language and culture central to your efforts:
- Use Your Employees’ Native Language: Provide materials and in-person training in the language that your employees are most comfortable speaking. This allows for full comprehension, as well as encourages open dialogue.
- Localize Language, Metrics, and Examples: The more you can adapt the training to the employees, the higher the chance they will not only comprehend the teachings, but will remember them as they will be able to apply them directly to their own work experience.
This can be everything from adapting examples of corruption to fit the employees’ industry or positions, to using common expressions and references in the teaching.
It is important to note that training material translation – of employee guidebooks, company codes of conduct, training materials, standard operating procedures, and any information provided to non-English speaking employees concerning anti-corruption – should be routinely undertaken to ensure all policies are updated.
This means updating your translations whenever there is a change to current laws applicable to your training, or changes in your company procedures.
In many cases, companies that were found to be in violation of FCPA and anti-corruption laws, have been able to reduce fines and penalties by effectively demonstrating that they did all they could to train their employees appropriately (among other factors).
Undergoing routine training material translation updates, and simply providing training to your employees in their language in the first place, can demonstrate this.
So how do you develop an effective strategy for multilingual training and material translation?
Developing a Translation Strategy for Multilingual Training in 4 Steps
1. Identify Languages Spoken By Those Participating:
The first step is to identify the languages spoken in the country or area where the training will take place. it is important to have all physical and online training material translation be done into the official languages of the countries where your offices are located. It is also important to identify any dialects your employees may speak, in order to evaluate if the translation to those languages is necessary.
2. Translate all Training Materials:
The second step is to gather all proper training content and lesson plans, company materials, and online resources that need to be translated. It is important to do plenty of research beforehand on the education and cultural backgrounds of your employees in order to properly adapt the language and training style.
Brevity and clarity should be opted for in both the copy, and the design (as the formatting of any online training is also affected by translation).
Localization also plays a big role when undergoing training material translation. Content should look to limit the use of Western idioms in order to increase employee understanding, and translation efficiency. The writing should be culturally sensitive, and use examples and explanations relevant to each language group. This way, you will ensure the course is adapted to all different cultures.
3. Review the Training Materials:
The next step is to have all the translated training materials edited and reviewed. This could potentially include testing of online programs, as well as samples of in-person training plans by native speakers of the target language.
Reviewing your materials will allow you to check the cultural relevance of the content, and ensure it has been adapted to cultural nuances to improve employee comprehension. It is important to test software in particular, as any formatting or user experience errors due to the translated code, could affect full employee comprehension.
4, Plan Out Your Training Approach:
After translating and adapting all the training materials, the last step is to plan the execution of the program. When offering in-person training, it will be necessary to find multilingual instructors to facilitate. However, in the event that multilingual trainers for the specific target language of the program can’t be found, the company may opt to use interpreting services for workshops.
Qualified interpreters for such instances, can be hired through agencies.
You should also plan how you will track the completion of your global compliance training programs – be it through software online, or attendance records in person – and regularly schedule updates to all training materials.
Clearly documenting these efforts will not just go a long way in helping your employees avoid corrupt situations, but also will work to protect your company in the event of a violation.
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