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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2021, Click to Enter The 2022 StevieĀ® Awards for Great Employers

Name of Organization/Company: American Systems, Chantilly, VA USA
Category: Best Use of Video for Learning

Entry Title: Ethics Compliance Training: 100% Made for Employee-Owners, by Employee-Owners


As a 100% employee-owned government contractor, AMERICAN SYSTEMS has a strong ethics-based culture. It’s vital that our 1,560 employee-owners understand the importance of ethics compliance when doing business with the government.

We require our employees to complete an annual Ethics Compliance Training Program. This program consists of reviewing our Code of Business Ethics & Conduct policy annually and completing interactive video-based lessons with challenging questions that are released throughout the year.

These videos are the most unique part of our training curriculum. They are 100% Made for Employee-Owners, by Employee-Owners. From our CEO to call center operators, our employee-owners not only write the scripts, but they also star in and produce the video training. This helps to foster our culture of employee-ownership.

We have had an Ethics Compliance program for years and previously purchased training from outside vendors with less than desirable results. Ethics Compliance training was once avoided by employees, but it now has become a “favorite” activity that is often voluntarily repeated! Once we started producing the training ourselves, we’ve seen high engagement, an increase in completion rates within the first week of release and our employee-owners are responding correctly to the questions more frequently.

2020 shook the world and forced everyone to change the way they think and operate within their organizations. While our main priority was keeping our employees safe and employed, we also prioritized keeping employees educated and connected while working remotely.

In March, with one video behind us and a pandemic upon us, we had a difficult decision to make. Go without this essential training or find new ways to produce training while remaining safe. We chose the latter. We started by reconfiguring a previously recorded video focusing on accepting gifts from vendors to a new, “silent film” theme .

Once we realized the pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon, we began exploring how we could utilize Microsoft Teams to create our training. Not only would we be able to deliver new, engaging content, but there was an added benefit: being able to invite employee-owners around the country to participate.

Inspired by commercials poking fun at work-from-home distractions during meetings, we created training focused on the ethics of information sharing . We then created a Hollywood Squares parody (renamed Ethical Squares) to cover different timesheet requirements using learning through games . These videos brought together employee-owners from across the country who may have not interacted together otherwise. They now proudly share a common bond of working together to create educational training for their peers.

The decision to continue our Ethics Compliance Training program throughout the pandemic yielded both unique and significant results—measurable and immeasurable.

When we initially transitioned from the training purchased from an outside organization, the percentage of employees who completed the required training within the first week of release (due within 12 weeks) increased from 15% to 56%. This 56% completion within the first week of release has become our target. During the pandemic, our completion rate within the first week increased from 56% to 75% — a steady increase release after release. . We believe there is a strong correlation in the involvement of more employees from a variety of office locations around the country to the engagement rates we are seeing.

Additionally, we use the responses to the scenario-based challenges in the videos to learn from our employees where we need to focus additional training topics. Even when we challenge our employees with difficult scenarios or “trick” questions, nearly three quarters of the workforce still responds correctly on a consistent basis.

We kept our employee-owners entertained, educated, and engaged while working remotely—a difficult feat. Our eyes were opened to the ways we can leverage technology to involve more employees from around the country without the cost and environmental impact of travel. Working remotely, in a way, brought us closer together. We are excited to continue incorporating these new methods into our training, even post-pandemic.