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This Weekly Ethics Thought is provided by Christopher Bauer and Bauer Ethics Seminars.
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Where Are You Aiming Your Ethics Training?

I'd like to suggest four targets to add to your list of ethics training recipients if they aren't already included. The first two are high-risk groups often overlooked when developing ethics and values training. The second two are seemingly-obvious groups also often overlooked though for entirely different reasons.

Group 1 - Managers and front-line staff dealing with vendors.

Collusion between employees and vendors has long been one of the biggest and persistently-fast growing contributors to fraud and abuse in organizations. Because of that, ethics and compliance training initiatives should be especially careful to include this group. You may want to target these employees for more intensive oversight as well. Compliance training for this group should include specific information regarding contract and vendor-related matters. Of course, collusion can be entered into by other types of employees as well. However, those dealing directly with vendors are particularly vulnerable since supply-chain jobs and contract development are fraught with a variety of persistent and often complicated ethical and legal challenges.

Group 2 - Front line managers just promoted into management.

These individuals will likely be bringing with them whatever values and decision-making processes they learned on the front lines. These may have been shaped by a very different work culture than that of your longer-term managers and so may be significantly different from what you might wish or presume. Remember, their prior experience in your organization is more likely to have involved 'coping' with your organization's mandates than modeling and enforcing them. You need to promptly and carefully train those managers on how to make, model, and reinforce the ethical choices you expect of them and their teams.

Group 3 - All new employees. Even if brief, adding well-delivered ethics and values components to new employee orientation provides two significant benefits. The first is that it gets new employees thinking right off the bat about how to make the kinds of decisions you want them to make. The second is that the inclusion of ethics and values into your orientation sends the message that they are both critical and integral to how you do business. (Lest it need to be said, that needs to actually be true!)

Group 4 - Your boss. (And, ideally, their boss as well...) No one in your organization should be above the need for ethics and values training. In fact, if anyone feels that such training is beneath them, that in itself is a red flag for problems! By virtue of their positions, they may well need additional training or consultation as well. However, they should - at the very least - have the same information and training as those for whom they are responsible.

Christopher Bauer helps companies create and implement high-impact, high- ROI ethics and values training programs. In addition to consultation on program development and implementation, he also provides keynotes and seminars on how to reduce costly employee ethics problems. Information on his most-frequently requested keynotes and seminars can be found by clicking here.

Interested in ethics commentary and resources? Follow Christopher Bauer on Twitter @ethicstweet and @TheTrustFoundry.

"Better Ethics NOW: How To Avoid The Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming (Second Edition)" is available for purchase here. "Every manager and executive can learn from reading Better Ethics NOW." - Steve Odland - CEO - Office Depot 

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