6. February 2024

Why is everyone talking about… employee rule-breaking?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 2

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week we’re covering the financial cost of employee rule-breaking and what it means for your HR team.

What you need to know

£1.6 million. That’s the average amount employee rule-breaking costs UK businesses per year, according to research from CYPHER Learning. But it’s not because employees are actively setting out to cause trouble. 

The research shows the most common cause of rule breach is employees either not knowing or not understanding the rules, leading to fines, reputational damage and even lawsuits. That’s a lot of money to throw away for such a trivial reason, and it demonstrates a potentially huge area of impact for HR: setting relevant policies and ensuring they’re followed.

That may be easier said than done when it comes to corporate training, often considered dry at best, but this new data should remind organisations of the high stakes of getting this right.

What others are saying about it 

Graham Glass, CEO of CYPHER Learning, said: “From shifting regulations to the introduction of new technologies, new threats and evolving societal norms, what was acceptable or trusted one year may not be the next. It’s hard to keep up. But lack of policy compliance – or failure to have a policy in place – can quickly result in reputational damage, injury, fines, revenue loss, reduced productivity, or even legal action.”

He added: “These costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Policy breaches can manifest in several ways that fly under the radar and chip away at revenues.”

What that means for you

Several factors could be contributing to non-compliance in your workplace, including a lack of accountability for employees who break rules, a lack of engagement with relevant training, or a lack of certain policies altogether.

Here’s what we’d recommend to increase compliance and reduce potential risks to your business:

  • Create policies for any potential business risk. It can feel overwhelming, and you’ll need to update them regularly, but start with the key essentials and go from there.

  • Make training fun. Corporate training is traditionally dull, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Consider investing in a L&D tool that incorporates creativity and interactivity to help with knowledge retention. 

  • Tailor the training to the role. Some employees pose a higher risk than others if they break rules due to the systems and data they have access to. Identify roles that pose potential risks and provide targeted training to each group, ensuring employees are aware of why the training is necessary — and the risks of operating in ignorance.

  • Create knowledge checks throughout the year. Employees shouldn’t be expected to watch one video and retain that information indefinitely. Reinforce initial training sessions with regular reminders, quizzes and updates. 

  • Keep track of who hasn’t completed key training. Tools like a training matrix can help identify employees who haven’t undertaken certain courses by a specific date. Drop them a reminder when that date approaches. 

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

Anna Jager-Elliott

Anna Jager-Elliott

Anna Jager-Elliott is a Senior Content Strategist at Personio. She enjoys watching trends emerge in the world of work and writing about how they'll affect our day-to-day experiences.

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