What Makes Corporate Compliance Training Effective?

Corporate compliance training educates employees and staff about how to comply with external laws and internal policies, like company values and codes of conduct. According to Professor Donald C. Langevoort in his article Monitoring the Behavioral Economics of Corporate Compliance with Law, “By most accounts, compliance begins with education” and “effective communication.” Staff, employees, and agents should not only understand the law enough to spot issues in the workplace, but also internalize “the firm’s commitment to compliance and . . . how they are expected to respond.”

However, building understanding and influencing behavior is not a simple process. Research has shown, time and time again, that training which merely presents the law or a policy to a learner is ineffective. In fact, it can make noncompliance worse. One study showed that “the more frequently organizations engage in formal communication regarding the corporate codes of conduct, the more unethical behavior is exhibited in organizations.”

Reinforce Important Material

Reinforcing important material in successive sessions may be effective. Take another study, for example, cited by Professor Maurice E. Stucke in his article In Search of Effective Ethics & Compliance Programs. Researchers conducted behavioral experiments involving students from Yale, MIT, and Harvard and each institution’s ethics and/or honor code. One group of students didn’t see their policies, another group saw their policies once, and a third group saw the policies at the beginning of the study period and again right before taking a test. The study found that seeing the policy once had no effect on the instances of cheating, whereas students who saw the policies right before taking the test did not cheat. Companies must be thoughtful about not only what is taught, but how and when it is taught and communicated.

Involve Multimedia, Microlearning, and Gamification

Of course, not all corporate compliance training, whether ongoing or not, is the same. “Valuable conduct training begins and ends with a willing learner and training that is guided by their needs,” according to Carmen Poole in her white paper Value of Conduct Training. For example, engaging the millennial learner should involve multimedia, microlearning, and gamification. Instructional design theories (like affordance and the usability-aesthetic effect), are additional considerations for effective conduct training, particularly e-learning. Companies should ensure their core compliance training is valuable in its own right.

Incorporate Company Culture

Additionally, to be most effective “all policies, procedures and training must be part of a larger culture that instills compliance as a fundamental value,” according to Professor David Hess in his article Ethical Infrastructures and Evidence-Based Corporate Compliance and Ethics Programs: Policy Implications from the Empirical Evidence. Compliance programs that incorporate culture can better achieve organizational and regulatory goals compared to more problematic “check-the-box” compliance programs that merely fulfill legal or external obligations without due consideration for employee motivation or learning.

No business is ever “done” implementing a compliance program; thoughtfully implementing ongoing training can keep an organization’s culture moving in the right direction.

Learn More About Corporate Compliance Training

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.

Digital Learning: Preparation for Tomorrow

Just over a century ago, education theorist John Dewey cautioned that “if we teach today’s students as we taught them yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.” At that point, industrialization was reorganizing cities, rural communities, and the role and realities of work. To prepare students for their futures, it made perfect sense that schooling should be reorganized as well.

Dewey’s observation continues to resonate nearly a century later. What engaged students five years ago is no longer sufficient to prepare them for success. Technology has changed the flow of information and the dynamics of community, with people spending an average of 4 hours per day on their mobile devices1. A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that digital natives, the 15- to 24-year-old population with 5 or more years of online experience, are spending more than 8 hours per day connected to media2.

With 80% of middle-skill jobs now requiring technical skills3, preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world will require great imagination and effort. Digital curriculum can be a powerful corrective force that reorganizes learning to meet students where they are and, more importantly, where they need to be. As teachers, schools, and districts become more sophisticated in their selection and use of digital learning tools, it is paramount curriculum and instructional designers continue to drive high quality, innovative approaches to learning.

As Christy Cheek, CTE Director for Buncombe County Schools in North Carolina suggests, “students today thrive through a combination of digital learning and face to face interaction. Being able to personalize a student’s education through digital learning brings numerous benefits and makes subject matter easier to understand and comprehend since students today are more comfortable with this platform.”

As with all new resources, the benefits are not always immediately realized. According to The Gates Foundation’s most recent “Teachers Know Best” survey, while 93 percent of teachers reported regularly using some form of digital tool to guide instruction, only 58 percent of teachers across all subjects found digital tools effective4. This gap between abundant use and effective use is what informs our work every day.

At EverFi, we have dedicated over 10 years towards understanding what makes digital resources effective and uniquely suited to teach meaningful skills. Every curriculum we develop, whether it’s a course on social-emotional learning or STEM literacy and career exploration, champions five core pillars:

  • Agency and Autonomy — Learning activities are personally meaningful and suited to individual interests.
  • Active Participation — The learner is fully involved in the learning experience, constructing meaning for herself.
  • Real-world Connections — Learning experience draws from realistic scenarios and applications.
  • Evidence-based Content — Pedagogy and instructional approach is grounded in research and best practice.
  • Ongoing Feedback — Instruction is both direct and just-in-time as students perform learning tasks.

EverFi’s pillars for digital learning are connected to a deeper belief that teaching and learning in the 21st century must not stop at traditional core academic skills. While Literacy and Math will always be important, we must educate the whole child5. According to Stefanie Wager of the Iowa Department of Education, we should be “thinking about a well-rounded education for all students and using digital learning to teach collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking in order to best meet the needs of students.”

Digital Learning is not a replacement for quality in-person instruction. Instead, it is a booster. This is why, in our own survey of more than 2,500 teachers last academic year, we found that:

  • 88% strongly felt that EverFi’s digital course content enhanced material they were teaching in the classroom.
  • 65% strongly felt that EverFi’s digital course content covered content that their students would not have otherwise seen.
  • 75% strongly believed their students were engaged in EverFi’s digital course content.

Good digital curriculum can bring clarity to difficult-to-teach concepts by representing them in multiple forms, increase engagement by using the same gamification mechanics that are so prevalent in students’ lives outside the classroom, and transform static topics into personally meaningful takeaways. Digital learning can take students further, faster, and in directions that are free for them to choose.

At EverFi, we look forward to the day when digital learning is both commonplace and universally effective. Until then, we will continue to develop courses that prepare students for the world of tomorrow.


Zach Wagner
EverFi Vice President
K-12 Content and Product Development



2Rideout, Victoria J., Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F. Roberts. “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-to 18-Year-Olds.” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2010).
4Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want from Instructional Tools 2.0, July 2016.
5Noddings, Nel. “What does it mean to educate the whole child?.” Educational leadership 63.1 (2005): 8.



Vault Helped Me Learn about Needs vs. Wants

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Chicago student Khloe W who shares how the skills and knowledge she gained from Vault – Understanding Money™  will help her reach her goal of graduating from college and earning her doctorate. Congrats to Khloe for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Khloe W

Student: Khloe W
Teacher: Linsey Rose
School: STEM Magnet Academy
State: Illinois
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

Imagine standing on a tall podium, thanking your family for supporting you from undergraduate to doctorate! That is how I want to be. There are many things that this EverFi Vault has taught me that will help me accomplish [my goals]. One big accomplishment that I want to do when I grow up is go to college, and be very successful. College is very important to me because I love getting an education and learning new things. Seeing my brothers and sisters go through college, I know it can be stressful thinking about failing many times. I also know that college costs a lot. EverFi Vault has prepared me to become a successful and responsible college student through the modules.

One important thing that Vault has taught me is about the different institutions that take care of money like brokerage firms, banks and credit unions. This is important to know when I go to college because I will need a bank account, since I will be away from my parents and have my own responsibilities. Also, I will need to know about these different parts because I will need to open up savings accounts for emergencies and pay bills to help my parents with the college funds.

Knowing that college is a lot of money, Vault has also taught me to be responsible and careful with the people I share my financial information with. EverFi says that financial information is very imperative and a key to success to life. If others can get access to it, things can do bad. For example, people can hack into your account and take your name, and spend your money, and that is not good. So, we have to be mindful about the information we share to others about our financial purposes. This is important to me and my dream to go to college because the world is cruel, and people can take advantage, be manipulative, and this can be food for thought as I continue to try to accomplish my dream.

One last thing that is very important and can affect my dream is how I spend and save my money. In college, I’ve heard many stories about the students being “broke”, and having no money to live off of, or not enough to buy necessities. I do not want this to happen to me and the way I can do that is to manage my money correctly. I will make a budget and make sure to document/establish my needs and wants. This is important because some people will focus on what they want to buy to fit in and do not focus on what they need to survive or succeed. Also, I can do this by getting a debit card. EverFi Vault has taught me the difference between the two [debit cards and credit cards] and for this situation a debit card is the best decision. Knowing that I can track my balance, see transactions and transfer/send money, this can help me better manage my money and what I spend rather than using cash.

In conclusion, this is how EverFi is helping me to with accomplish my dream to go to college. Vault is a very fun and interactive game that helped me better understand real problems in the real world.

FCPA Anti-Corruption Training: Why It’s Worth the Investment

Multiple enforcement actions against acts of bribery and corruption help strengthen the need for businesses to implement employee FCPA anti-corruption training as part of an effective ethics and compliance program.

Educate Your Employees with Anti-Corruption Training

Compliance training is a critical component in both preventing and remedying alleged acts of corruption and bribery, as shown by recent enforcement actions. For example, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided not to charge Harris Corporation based on its “efforts at self-policing . . . prompt self-reporting, thorough remediation, and exemplary cooperation with the SEC’s investigation.” Specifically, Harris trained staff after it had acquired a subsidiary in China and implemented an anonymous complaint hotline. These two self-policing efforts allowed employees to discover that the CEO of the Chinese subsidiary had authorized the bribing of foreign officials.

With this in mind, anti-corruption training allows employees to be aware of bribery, and hotlines can give employees the ability to complain about it. Hotlines, such as anonymous telephone or online complaints, “enable the organization to solve a concern while it is small, well before it escalates into a large problem,” according to a report by Santa Clara University and confirmed by a recent study showing that whistleblowing deters wrongdoing.

Use Compliance Training After an Incident

Compliance training can be used to clean up questionable or corrupt conduct after the fact. For example, the SEC decided not to prosecute company Nortek when the company discovered that employees in its Chinese subsidiary were bribing foreign officials. Once it discovered the bribery, Nortek “provided extensive mandatory in-person and on-line trainings on the FCPA and anti-corruption policies to its employees around the globe.” This is significant, as beforehand “Nortek failed to establish procedures to ensure its Linear China employees were trained in anti-corruption compliance.”

Nortek and Harris Corporation’s approaches follow US Department of Justice (DOJ) recommendations for “periodic [FCPA] training and certification for all directors, officers, relevant employees, and, where appropriate, agents and business partners,” in its guiding principles of FCPA enforcement.

Why FCPA Training is Especially Important

FCPA training, in particular, is important, especially in the wake of record enforcement actions by the SEC and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The year 2016 “produced what arguably is the most significant year of enforcement in the statute’s 39-year history” according to attorney F. Joseph Warin. The SEC and DOJ brought 53 enforcement actions against companies and levied more than $2 billion in corporate fines against companies.

While Matt Kelly at the FCPA Blog accepts the possibility that SEC and DOJ enforcement may drop under the Trump administration, he and expert Mr. Warin do not expect such a dramatic FCPA program change. Incidentally, it’s also important to remember that the FCPA is one US law in a complex web of international anti-corruption efforts. For example, Mexico passed its National Anti-Corruption System and the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) published the long-anticipated anti-bribery standard ISO 37001. There’s also a collective international effort to combat bribery and corruption, as Rolls-Royce found out in January 2017 after being caught by the US, UK and Brazil (all of whom make bribery illegal).

The Human Costs of Corruption

Beyond the world of laws and enforcement, we should remember that corruption involves a number of very human elements. “Corruption corrodes the fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, institutions and leaders. It can cost people their freedom, health, money – and sometimes their lives,” according to Transparency International. In analyzing corruption in Latin America, we found that it wasn’t so much legal prohibitions but:

Demographics, beliefs, culture and familial obligations all appear to affect the propensity for people in Latin American countries to engage in corruption . . . these factors are often related to social trends regardless of nationality.

This is where anti-corruption training, when done effectively, can help. To learn more, Carmen Poole identifies a number of factors that make conduct training valuable.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethicsanti-harassmentdata security and employee conduct courses.

Diversity Training: A Behind the Scenes Look at Our Course

We live in a vast, diverse world. There is no denying and no escaping it–instead, we can choose to be open and adapt to it. Though workplace diversity training has been met with its fair share of skepticism, a strong approach and strategic implementation techniques are key to making a successful impact. With the release of our new Diversity: Inclusion in the Modern Workplace course, we want to clue you in on what you can expect in the course and why this one stands out from the rest.

Our Humanistic Approach to Diversity Training

Keeping diversity training pitfalls in mind, this course was created as an introduction to the topic of diversity, inclusion, and equity via the human experience. We conducted interviews with real individuals and incorporated their stories and experiences into our content, gathered data on a number of topics that we used to provide the most current and relevant statistics, designed an entirely new course template while taking a new approach on interactive graphics, and so much more. With our clients, users, and diversity in the forefront of our minds, we hope our efforts shine through and make a positive impact in your workplace.

Incidentally, in order to have a meaningful and lasting impact, one’s commitment to diversity needs to extend into the everyday operations of their organization. This course uses the stories of real people to explore concepts such as identity, power, and privilege, to help us communicate more effectively and promote mutual respect in the workplace.

Each team involved in this project had a unique opportunity to make something special with this course. With prejudices and biases running rampant in and out of the workplace, we recognized the importance of this immense topic and were excited (yet nervous) to tackle it. Next, we will explore how the design and content teams put their visions into action.

Design Invites Users In

Taking a humanistic approach to how this course would be planned out, the design team altered their usual strategy to make a statement, allowing photography, graphics, videos, and color to act as a foundation in executing the important message they wanted to send about diversity, inclusion, and equity. “In previous course designs, we tried to stay away from representing specific human characteristics, by obscuring facial features and graying out skin tones in our illustrations,” said graphic designer Kris Shogren. “For the Diversity course, we wanted to do the complete opposite. We have upgraded the way we will handle illustrations, infographics, and color palettes to mirror the message and knowledge we are trying to provide our users.”

Stemming off of Shogren’s comment, animator Jenna Strange remarked on the difference in their design plan. “Usually we will make generalized figures that anyone can relate to,” said Strange. “This time, we wanted to be as clear and direct about as many facial features, skin tones, age ranges, and cultural backgrounds as we possibly could while using a wider rich color palette.” The variance in the aforementioned graphics achieves a more diverse collection of people to look at in the interactions, which is one way we as a company want to include our users. What better way to practice what we are trying to teach?

When asked about the team’s motivation, art director Drew Hard expressed that the design team was affected and motivated by the content team’s research into studies that reported the little, or even negative, impact that many diversity training courses had in the workplace. “With this in mind,” said Hard, “we made a dedication to try to remove the feel of a compliance course from our compliance course. Highlighting the content while not feeling like the content is forced onto the learner.”

The ultimate goal was to craft a course that invited users in, something that exposed them to the reality of diversity and could even have users relate to the images. The design team utilized a neutral color palette and elegant, modern design page themes in an attempt to make the course feel more like a microsite experience and less like a compliance training course that could potentially isolate the user.

Research and Content Focused on Interpersonal Communication

Our goal with content was to be as open and informative as possible, while maintaining sensitivity to the issues we’d be discussing. This course was written by people, for people, and taking a humanistic approach geared toward social justice seemed like a good route to guide our research journey.

A social justice approach–what does that really mean? It’s a broad interpretation, and for this course, we wanted to focus on framing social justice meaningfully, linking to interpersonal communication in an instructive way (as best we could). Our research supported these thoughts: “Interpersonal communication is critical to social justice, both in the form of engagement (social interaction) with people who are underresourced and as advocacy (communication with those who control the resources that are lacking) for these people.”

Lead Instructional Writer Carmen Poole said that her team “wanted to approach diversity from an inclusion and equity standpoint, and since social justice theory speaks directly to the importance of human interaction and value of using privileges to become a diversity ally, we felt a more conceptual approach would be successful.”

Interviews with Real People, Not Actors

Topics like diversity and privilege are sensitive, and can be uncomfortable to talk about, especially if the approach is highly academic or far removed from our day-to-day experiences. So we felt it was important to interview real people instead of actors, and film them in settings they felt comfortable in. Participants were asked thought-provoking, tailored questions to best allow their experiences and expertise in this subject matter to be reflected through their stories and thoughts.

Instructional Writer Jayinee Basu noted that the writers “wanted to ground this course in the lived experiences of real people so the human element wasn’t lost–humans are social animals and we care about each other’s stories.”

Our Hope for the Diversity Training Course

This project was groundbreaking for our company, as it is not only a significant and sensitive topic to navigate, it is also the first course LawRoom powered by EverFi has created together post-acquisition. The marriage of two compliance training companies has only strengthened our mission by combining even more people who care about these issues and by fusing their talents and perspectives into what we hope is one cohesive and successful course.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethicsanti-harassmentdata security and employee conduct courses.

SOS: Why Your Financial Marketing Strategy Needs Saving

The internet is awash in articles about digital marketing, but many banks and credit unions are still not taking full advantage of technology to connect with customers and prospects. But today, if you are not leveraging technology to make your services as accessible as possible, you’re losing out to the competition. Let’s take a look at three important points on why financial institutions need to incorporate technology into their financial marketing strategy:

93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Learn why financial institutions need to incorporate digital into their financial marketing strategy.

93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Learn why financial institutions need to incorporate digital into their financial marketing strategy.

Consumption of technology is only increasing over time

While the millennial generation started the trend for technology usage, the following generations are rapidly outpacing them. According to a recent report, the average tween spends nine hours a day on an electronic device, and another study found that 93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Financial institutions that want to attract the newer generations need to be maximizing technology now.

New players are entering the financial playing field

Technology has allowed non-traditional entities to compete in the financial space. These new players often have no actual brick-and-mortar branch—instead, they offer instant access via websites and mobile apps. Consumers are already turning to these non-traditional entities to pay bills, transfer money online, and search for loans.

It’s not too late to join the digital revolution, but it soon will be. Banks and credit unions still have an advantage—trusted brand names and connections with Baby Boomers and Generation Xers who may advise their children to use the same institution. But the time to act is now. Financial institutions that ignore these new players and new technologies risk becoming irrelevant in the near future.

Financial institutions are positioned to take advantage of digital financial education

Banks and credit unions have another built-in advantage: financial education. Since brick-and-mortar financial institutions are already considered trusted sources of information, they should be leveraging this trust to offer financial education as a way to reach current and prospective customers. Programming that is highly relevant to consumers’ needs and available in real-time via a range of devices allows consumers to learn when they’re standing in line or sitting on the subway. Technology allows consumers to reach you anytime, anywhere—and your financial education should do the same.

For more information on how to leverage technology as part of your financial marketing strategy to reach new customers, download 10 Key Imperatives of Financial Digital Marketing: A Financial Services Marketing Guide for Improving Your Millennial and Consumer Engagement Strategy.

Announcing the Scholarship Contest Winners!

The Winter Scholarship Contest ended last week with a record number of student submissions. From earning their doctorates to being nautical engineers, your students shared big dreams. We loved hearing about what they’ve learned through Vault and FutureSmart, and how financial education will make a difference in their lives. Each of our five student winners earned a $1000 college savings scholarship to help make their dreams a reality. Their stories will be featured on the EverFi Blog over the coming weeks. Congratulations winners!

Khloe W, STEM Magnet Academy, Illinois

Shannon W, New Market Middle School, Maryland

Grace K, Falls Lake Academy, North Carolina

Diandra P, Giltner High School, Nebraska

Mateja C, Berlin Middle School, Wisconsin

Want to submit more stories? The Spring Scholarship Competition is now open! We will be awarding another five $1,000 college savings scholarships to students in the U.S. who complete Vault, FutureSmart, or EverFi Financial Literacy, and who provide a short reflection by April 28th. This is a great capstone project for students and allows them to reflect on what they’ve learned. Click here to learn more.