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Three Ways Workers Sacrifice Their Integrity During Online Training

Integrity gets hard when it’s going to cost you something.

Mandatory online training. Those three words produce groans across every work group. Often it is the topic that makes people groan (compliance, ethics, system updates etc.). Sometimes it is the repetitive nature of the training (“It’s the same as last year!”). Maybe it is the monotone voice that accompanies the overstuffed slides. Many frontline employees find their way through the tedium, but they often sacrifice their Integrity when they do.

At Becoming a Leader of Character, we define Integrity as:

Doing what is good, right, and proper even at personal cost.

Unfortunately, doing what is good, right, and proper is not always interesting, and sometimes it might even seem like a waste of time. I remember explaining this to my son when he was 14 years old and didn’t see the point of doing homework when he could get A's on his exams. If you are old enough to have teenagers, you probably had to point out to them that just because something seems unimportant to you, does not make it optional to do.

Yet a lot of the parents who try to ingrain that lesson into their kids will allow themselves wiggle room when it comes to online training.

  1. Pencil Whipping

Some people set up online training to run in the background while they accomplish other tasks. They just advance through the material and add their online signature to the end to verify completion. There was no attempt to learn. If there was something useful, they missed it. Yet they signed their name saying they completed the training.

  1. Making it Group Training

Some training requires knowledge checks and testing. The training is meant to test individual skills and knowledge, but groups get together in a conference room to complete the training. As a team, they completed the training, but when an individual does not have the team there to help her out, will she truly know what to do?

  1. Sharing Answers

Even when training is accomplished individually, some people find a way to share the test questions and answers with others. If their children did that at school, there would be consequences. But they excuse their own behaviors when it comes to work.

Most people want to have Integrity. But the moment when it costs us something is the moment when Integrity gets hard. If we can make our lives easier in the short term, we may look at Integrity as flexible.

Integrity is a habit. Each time we choose the easier wrong versus the harder right, we are imbedding a habit. Habits are formed through practice. The more we practice something, the more it becomes like muscle memory. We begin to do something without thinking. When we choose the easy way, hypocrisy is one step closer to becoming muscle memory.

We may see online training as tedious or unnecessary, and we may be right! But the more we practice hypocrisy - saying one thing and doing another - the easier it gets. We begin to slide backwards and become someone we wouldn’t want our children to be. On the other hand, if we hold the line and do the tedious and unnecessary things the way we are supposed to do them, we reinforce Integrity in ourselves, and set an example for the people around us - to include our children.

Dig Deep Questions:

  • How do tedious and unnecessary things test your Integrity?

  • Would you want your kids to emulate you when you face those tests?


Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.

Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

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