You have likely seen online training sessions on professional ethics and other topics. They are provided by companies to employers for a fee. Generally the programs present scenarios with hypothetical dilemmas and then ask the employee to click on the most appropriate response.
In many cases the best choice is so obvious that one wonders, why bother? Have a look at this interesting and amusing article in Slate, by L.V. Anderson. "If you have a pulse, you will intuit the correct answer," she says. Plus, if someone dozes and makes a mistake, it is easily corrected with no penalty.
It's also possible you will recognize, from previous training sessions, the exact scenario she describes, as the actors portray their roles with Oscar-worthy sincerity. The Slate piece mainly concerns corporate requirements under federal law, but some Texas public institutions of higher education use the same company's product for mandatory training. You can get details from the article.
These online sessions invariably produce abundant eye-rolling from employees. Almost always the correct response is "ask your supervisor." Plus, as the article points out, there is no evidence that such training accomplishes anything.
So … let's assume you are a sociopathic bottom-feeder. Will taking an online training session deter you from vile and nefarious actions? Not likely. If you are a decent person teetering on the precipice of a moral abyss, will you remain on the virtuous path because of a 15-minute session? Please.
This may be one of those situations in which the best approach is for HR to direct a new employee to the institution's Code of Conduct, with instructions to read it and sign a statement to that effect. Maybe the new hire won't do the reading, but at least the money for online tutorials can be used for something else.
From the piece:
All this training has costs. A 2011 survey of 46 multinational corporations found that they spent $206,164 on average on compliance training each year, and millions more on other compliance activities (like investigations, risk analyses, and salaries for compliance officers). And that’s just the direct cost of training—it doesn’t account for the cost of the hundreds or thousands of hours of productivity lost to compliance training each year.