I am constantly amazed and alarmed by how often I am asked if ethics training is really worthwhile. The argument I hear most often is that ethics are something we ought to have learned at home or in church or in school when we were all younger and, if the job hasn't been done by now, what's the use?
This all stuns me for so many reasons and here are just a few of those reasons:
1.) 'Old dogs' do, indeed, learn new tricks. Give someone a compelling reason why their attitudes or behavior should change – something you can clearly show them will contribute to their personal success – and you might be amazed how much new learning can take place. (Even more so if that learning is novel, interactive, and fun. And yes, ethics training can be all three of those…)
2.) Even if ethics training won't magically send the unwashed to their knees begging for forgiveness, you can certainly help folks who want to do the right thing to have an easier time doing so. Again, just make it compelling, relevant, and easily applicable. (Yes again, ethics training can be all three of these as well.)
3.) As a part of helping the folks who wish to do the right thing, you can also help them become better able to see when others are enaging in behavior that may not be appropriate. You can then arm the 'good ones' with the right tools to intervene both immediately and effectively. Might that help reduce the risk and rate of problems with those folks who, for whatever their reasons, may not be on the right path? I certainly believe so.
Might all three of the above be reasons that ethics training for all of your employees could be of value? I certainly think so and, in fact, that the value can be huge.