Compliance Lessons for Those Who Don't Want It

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 28, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

High school teachers should be corporate compliance trainers.

Why? Because high school teachers have already scaled that pedantic mountain of teaching people information they don't really want to know. Frankly, if you haven't noticed, employees are tuning out your corporate compliance training.

So if you are charged with teaching such unwilling students, take some cues from your most effective high school teacher -- if you can remember that far back.

Thank You, Mr. Erspalmer

Mr. Erspalmer was my high school journalism teacher. If he were still alive, he might remember me as the student editor who wrested control of the newspaper from the faculty.

For one freedom-from-education year, I led a pack of reporters, photographers, and a cartoonist to publish an off-campus newspaper. Predictably, it was a disaster.

And it was the best lesson Mr. Erspalmer taught me: "With great freedom comes great responsibility." Or maybe Spiderman's uncle said that.

Whatever, the point is, teaching corporate compliance often comes on the heels of a disaster. That also points to another problem with compliance training -- not training at all.

Wait to Get Sued

According to studies, many law departments don't address compliance issues because they lack resources. Teachers don't get paid much either, but that's no excuse for ignorance of the law.

"The worst of all options, you could stick your head in the sand and wait to get sued," wrote FindLaw's Gabriella Khorasanee.

Outside counsel can help with that -- before it happens. Like those guest speakers in high school, consultants, experts, and attorneys with compliance expertise can come in with fresh perspectives.

"Outside counsel with knowledge of industry regulations, past compliance deficiencies, and experience in federal criminal investigations can provide valuable input to program design," according to Directors Monthly.

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