Waltham, Mass. - Results of a study analyzing the actual compliance-training records of more than 2.5 million employees (working at approximately 350 companies) who completed online ethics and compliance courses cite financial integrity as the respondents' number-one compliance issue. Insurers represented 10 of 350 companies studied, or roughly 153,000 employees, notes study author Integrity Interactive, a Waltham, Mass., provider of Web-based tools for managing and mitigating corporate ethics and compliance risk. The study reveals the top-12 ethics and compliance training topics addressed by major companies in 2006. Leading corporations have begun to address compliance risks proactively instead of waiting to react after problems arise, say the findings. The Integrity Interactive study quantifies which ethical violations companies fear most, identifies emerging compliance risk-management trends, and provides concrete examples of how top compliance-training topics map to corporate governance scandals dominating business headlines today. Financial integrity is the top compliance-training topic covered by major corporations today. Financial integrity has been among the Top-3 most-popular course topics every year since 2000, and also tops the most-popular list for the present decade, reflecting the persistent determination of many companies to proactively prevent compliance violations such as backdated stock options and inaccurate financial reports. Proper use of computers ranks second on the list of ethics and compliance topics, reflecting the desire of companies to protect their leaders, employees, and themselves from embarrassing, inappropriate, or even illegal uses of computers, the Internet, instant messaging and related information technologies. Four new concerns surfaced in the study: Sarbanes-Oxley & internal controls (ranked #6) and data safeguarding (ranked #8) appear in the top-12 list for the first time. The popularity of these course topics reflects corporate efforts to respond to important legislation adopted in recent years at the national and state levels. Human rights (ranked #10) and privacy (ranked #12): These two also appear on the top-12 list for the first time and constitute powerful evidence of senior management's desire to respond to broader values-based concerns gaining traction in society as a whole. Another aspect of the study revealed that company size influences risk-management priorities. Very large corporations (90,000+ employees) have made financial integrity their leading priority. Large (10,000+ to 90,000 employees) and mid-sized (1,000 to 10,000 employees) companies cite mutual respect as their top priority (closely followed by proper use of computers). And mutual respect appears among the top-3 most-popular training priorities for companies in all size buckets (mid-sized, large and very large). The near-universal applicability of the mutual respect course explains its popularity with companies of different sizes. Antitrust (a risk-area of particular concern to sales and marketing personnel) is another compliance-training topic popular with companies of all sizes. Source: Integrity Interactive Inc.
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