on. Either way, it’s not effective to raise
awareness or change employee behavior.
Shorter training spread over time addresses
both of these employee reactions and—
provided you create relevant, engaging, and
actionable training resources—will have a
AT: What do you think makes for
effective, shorter training?
ML: I’ll give you an example of what
we’re doing at Freddie Mac. In early Q1
each year, we provide
web-based training on
the Code of Conduct
that is mandatory
for all employees.
training was close
to one hour. We’ve
shortened it to a
and use short videos
telling personal stories from their careers
dealing with ethical issues. It’s more
personal and it’s impactful for the audience.
We follow that with periodic messaging
on our intranet and with targeted topical
messaging via email containing short videos
or cartoon features. Ultimately, we’ll make at
least eight “impressions” on each employee
over time, so they don’t have an opportunity
to forget our message.
AT: All this talk sort of assumes that
the training is delivered via the web, not in
person. What’s your sense of when in-person
training is a better route to follow?
ML: I have always thought that
web-based training is the best vehicle
to establish a baseline of understanding
for the masses. It’s your college 101-level
course. It’s not going to make anyone
an expert, but a well-crafted program
is going to ensure everyone knows the
basics. In-person training is your college
upper-level course. They are more detailed,
ideally are discussion-based, and interactive.
In-person training involves more application
of concepts—like “what would you do in
scenario X if these variables occurred?”
When I was at Boeing, we had a
very impactful in-person training for
all employees. It was called Ethics
taking their teams
what should have
happened, and how
situations could be
avoided. All 170,000
employees completed this exercise at the
same time and on the same day each year. It
was a powerful leadership statement to show
the importance of ethics to the enterprise.
While not on the scale of Boeing, we are
doing something similar at Freddie Mac that
we call Integrity Building Blocks.
AT: Let me follow up on that by asking
what have you seen that makes for better
ML: I’ll refer back to my earlier comment
that all training must be relevant, engaging,
and actionable. It’s the same with in-person
training. The simplest approach is to
keep it interactive. No employee wants to
be lectured to, and information is better
retained if it’s obtained through experience.
If you can take a group of employees
The simplest approach
is to keep it interactive.
No employee wants
to be lectured to, and
information is better
retained if it’s obtained