Compliance training versus compliance performance

by | Jun 14, 2017

SAI Global and Towards Maturity report tackles how to bridge the divide.

Towards Maturity and SAI Global’s report ‘Solving the compliance conundrum’, which was released today, lifts the lid on how global compliance programmes are evolving and what practices are required to adequately protect organisations from threats related to increasing globalisation, technological advances and the evolving regulatory environment.

The findings show that while more time is spent on compliance training than on any other formal learning and development, there’s a significant gap between the desired and actual outcomes; 95% of respondents want to change their workplace culture and 81% of the workforce is involved in mandatory training each year. Despite this, only 27% of organisations seeking evidence of a change in behaviour in their workforce, believe they are actually succeeding and only 15% believed their current approach actually achieved this.

The survey results compare ethics and compliance programme goals and performance from 2013 to 2017, identifying what’s working and what the barriers to success are. Some of the key insights gained include:

  • Targeted, position-based training to empower ethical decision making is essential. Respondent feedback indicated, on average, that 61% of employees in their companies receive the same learning content as everyone else in the company, despite the risk profile for each role being entirely unique with its own set of challenges.
  • Extending compliance training to third-party network significantly reduces business risk. Evidence suggests the provision of third-party ethics and compliance training to contractors, vendors and suppliers reduces an organisation’s third party risk by up to three times. Despite this only 19% of organisations currently allow third-parties access to their compliance training.
  • Mapping learning requirements to business process pays dividends. Mapping learning outcomes to business processes generates significant benefits including enhanced compliance with regulator’s requirements for training, reducing insurance premiums by 12% and, in the case of serious misconduct, reducing potential penalties a company faces by 16%.
  • Workplace technology needs to keep up with the rest of the world. While 91% of learners own a smartphone and/or tablet, use of such technology to access learning and support content is surprisingly low. 43% of survey respondents rated learning on mobile devices as having the greatest impact on behavioural change but only 25% use mobile tablets and 7% use smartphone devices to access learning material.
  • Engaging content and delivery methods are essential. 46% of respondents report a major barrier to learning was that content is dull and delivery is lacking in engagement.
  • Securing and protecting data against cyber attacks is a top priority. A greater understanding of the exposure to risk from cybercrime and data loss or corruption has driven the largest increase (13%) in perceived risk between 2015 and 2017 compared to any other risk category. 81% of survey respondents rated cyber security as the number one priority.

Comparing data from 2013 and 2015 with this year’s results, it’s clear that culture isn’t shifting as fast as it needs to for organisations to be able to adequately respond to the new wave of technology driven risks. This research brings new evidence to the table; new insights that will drive more effective changes to ethics and compliance learning programmes and ensure  success,” said Laura Overton, Towards Maturity.

SAI Global, an international leader in providing ethics and compliance training, sponsored this independent benchmark study by Towards Maturity to explore methodologies and practices for improving the impact and effectiveness of compliance training.

There is no doubt that the field of ethics and compliance can be challenging, as there is nothing simple about influencing how people from different backgrounds and cultures behave. Our ability to come together as a community and collaborate on our collective journey to a future where ethical behaviour is instinctual and celebrated drives everything we do,” said Peter Mullins, CEO SAI Global.

A free version of the full report can be accessed via the Towards Maturity website here:



Data for this report is drawn from:

  • A compliance audit with over 250 compliance professionals from 28 countries gathered between March and May 2017
  • Data drawn from over 600 compliance professionals who participated in  the compliance studies in 2013 and 2015
  • Group workshop held in April with Risk and L&D executives
  • Towards Maturity’s Learning Landscape™ research from a sample of 4,500 workers, The Learner Voice: Part 3


About SAI Global

At SAI Global, we make Intelligent Risk possible by helping organisations proactively manage risk to achieve business excellence, growth, sustainability and ultimately, create trust.

Our integrated risk management solutions are a combination of world-class tech platforms, services and advisory capabilities that operate across the entire lifecycle allowing businesses to focus on opportunities presented by uncertainty. Together, these tools and knowledge enable customers to develop a holistic, integrated view of risk. In Australia, we are also a leading provider of settlement related services; company, personal and property information.

SAI Global Limited’s head office is located in Sydney, Australia. We employ more than 2,000 people across 29 countries and 51 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.



About Towards Maturity

We help L&D professionals deliver successful learning strategies. Since 2003 we have generated data and insights from more than 7,500 learning professionals and 50,000 learners across 55 countries. We know what works and we know how learning innovation can directly improve key measures:

Growth > Transformation > Productivity > Profitability

We provide L&D with the support they need to bring together all key stakeholders in the learning journey, ensuring that the learning function works effectively to embed a high-performing learning culture across the business.

By applying the breadth and depth of our industry analytics and our robust, evidence-based approach, we can help connect learning decisions and outcomes to real business impact.


For further information,
please contact us:

[email protected]

+44 (0)1274 785100

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