It’s that time of year again.
The nights are getting longer. The weather is getting colder (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). And pumpkin spice is invading every flavor and fragrance known to mankind, soon to be replaced by peppermint.
The “holiday season” has officially begun, and while compliance training may not be the first topic that springs to mind as the year draws to its close, we recommend that you give it some thought.
‘Tis the Season
Getting employees to focus on compliance education is always challenging, so choosing the right time to schedule courses can mean everything when it comes to your workforce absorbing and retaining important details. And typically, you want to schedule these educational sessions during periods of lighter workflow, when your employees can focus on the content rather than on all of the work that they should be doing instead of watching a training video or sitting in a classroom.
In many cases, the period right before a major holiday or break will prove to be an ideal period for compliance training, especially if your clients and vendors are also winding down their workloads.
So what types of training are useful during the holidays?
From Christmas to Chanukah to Chinese New Year, this time of year is littered with gift-giving holidays that bridge cultural, religious, and national boundaries, making now a great time to revisit corporate gift, travel, and entertainment policies.
How much can you reasonably spend on a gift for current or potential clients? Should you invite those helpful government officials to your holiday party? When does seasonal generosity turn into bribery and corruption?
Conversely, how should your employees respond when they receive holiday-themed tokens from your suppliers and vendors? Is it ethical to keep them? Is it legal?
By addressing these subjects proactively with training, your business can better avoid turning an innocent oversight into a legal violation.
Along with gift-giving, the frequency of office parties and functions also increases during this time of year. Back in 2016, outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas surveyed human resource managers from companies across the United States about their holiday party plans. Among participants, 76 percent planned on hosting an office holiday party, with roughly 62 percent of these festivities featuring alcohol.
With “holiday cheer” playing such a prominent role during these work-related functions, your organization would be well-advised to reiterate to staff what is and is not appropriate behavior.
Diversity and Inclusion
While the calendar is littered with several holidays over the next few months, we should all remember that not everyone celebrates this time of year in the same way. And some choose to abstain altogether.
Certain days may be filled with deep religious or cultural significance for a large portion of your workforce, while other employees may have never heard of these celebrations.
Striking an inclusive tone and accommodating the diverse backgrounds and expectations of your workers can prove challenging throughout this season, and taking the time as a group to reflect on and discuss creating a tolerant and welcoming environment can only help.
Data Security and Privacy
In 2016, U.S. consumers spent roughly $2.7 billion in desktop e-commerce sales on “Cyber Monday,” the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday and one of the largest shopping days of the holiday season. And many of these transactions occurred while at work. In fact, one CareerBuilder survey found that 53 percent of surveyed employees admitted to online holiday shopping while on the clock.
As retailers flood your employees’ email inboxes with a flurry of advertisements to capitalize on this increased spending, cybercriminals are equally active, sending out phishing emails with bogus discount links and setting up fraudulent ecommerce sites that offer holiday deals that are too good to miss.
To protect your business and data, you should consider providing your staff with a solid refresher on effective cybersecurity, particularly highlighting anti-phishing training.