Compliance Training 101: Making the Mandatory Interesting

What Is Compliance Training?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, compliance is defined as “the act or process of complying with a desire, demand, proposal, or regimen”. Put otherwise; it is “conformity in fulfilling official requirements”. Therefore, compliance training is a formal program that educates your employees on the policies, procedures, and actions required to prevent both problems in the workplace and violations of the law. These policies and procedures are often job or industry-specific. However, in many cases, they are also government-mandated and apply across industries or the corporate world at large.

Why Does Compliance Training Matter?

Organizations have a social responsibility to their employees and the general public. From ensuring a safe workplace that’s free of bullying and harassment to protecting consumer data and privacy, your company is always at risk of ruining its reputation, legal action, and the worst-case scenario — getting shut down. In other words, compliance training is core to your organization’s risk management system.

  • Creating a safer workplace
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing absenteeism (e.g., due to injury, mental health issues, etc.)
  • Securing insurance for your organization
  • Protecting your business’ reputation
  • Minimizing the risk of legal action

Compliance Training Programs

No matter what business you have, compliance training should be high on the list of your priorities. The variety of courses is huge. The industry, activities, and location all influence what employees should be compliant in and what kind of training you need to deliver. Here are some examples of courses covering government-mandated and industry-specific compliance policies.

Anti-harassment

Anti-harassment compliance training programs administer guidance and measures for responding to incidents of bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment. They should clearly define what harassment is and outline any associated behaviors. Plus, anti-harassment training should cover effective strategies for responding to bullying and harassment, as well as provide intervention strategies.

Diversity training

Diversity training goes far beyond political correctness. Rather, it emphasizes the strengths of diversity and addresses how to work with people of different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical abilities, etc. As there’s strength in diversity, your employees should learn how to effectively embrace the valuable inputs and perspectives that a diverse workplace can bring to the table. In addition, your training program should also address how different demographics are to be portrayed in your company’s literature, documents, and marketing content.

Data Protection & Privacy

To ensure compliance within your organization, your training program should first draw the distinction between Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Personal Data, and explain how and why this information is exploited. Your employees should know how to safely handle data beyond the work environment (e.g., mobile devices), and what to do in case of a lost or stolen mobile device.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and Data Protection & Privacy naturally overlap, but it’s still worth separating both subjects into different compliance training programs. These programs should include how to efficiently manage the rapidly-growing volume of sensitive and/or confidential information, and train staff on the strategies, tools, and systems needed to protect people’s identities and personal data.

Business ethics

Every business needs to draft a code of ethics that details guidelines for disciplinary action. It should describe what corruption and cheating look like for your organization, as well as cover grey areas and conflicts of interest. Basically, your Ethics & Compliance training programs should include risk assessment training, methods to encourage whistleblowing, accountability structures, and a system for addressing grey areas/conflicts of interest.

Workplace safety

While certain industries, job titles, and environments pose extra risks in terms of physical safety, even your standard office setting needs to comply with basic workplace safety standards. Whether it’s training on first aid procedures or general caution about bloodborne pathogens, employees should learn what they are and the appropriate responses/behaviors. Moreover, fire safety and emergency preparedness (e.g., earthquakes, armed intruders, etc.) are across the board. None are fully immune to these risks.

How to Automate Compliance Training

Now that you understand what compliance training is, and some of the different programs that exist, how do you deliver it to your employees? Some companies still use the time-consuming and tedious pen and paper method. However, there’s a much more effective way to bring knowledge to your staff, and this is via eLearning. By delivering compliance training online, you will be able to automate it and, therefore, save time and money, and make learning much more engaging.

Step 1: Develop your courses

If you have already provided compliance training for your staff, you’re likely to have all the necessary information to share, like PDF files on training requirements in OSHA standards or long video lectures on employment discrimination. You can use them all to create a complete training program.

Step 2: Upload your courses to an LMS

Once your course is ready to go, then you’ll need to distribute it to your employees. The easiest and most comfortable way to do this is to upload a course to a learning management system (LMS). LMSs are the gateway or portal through which your staff can access your corporate training program. It allows you to keep your courses organized, manage your learners, and track their progress, activity, and results.

Step 3: Keep track of learners’ results

This step comes shortly after you’ve uploaded your courses to your LMS and distributed them to your trainees. Note that, when choosing your LMS, the tracking and reporting features are prime considerations. Without robust tracking and reporting, you’ll be in the dark about how to diagnose issues regarding your training programs, and most importantly, how to improve them for future use.

  • Course progress & completion rates
  • Learner results/scores
  • Attempts and answer breakdowns
  • User feedback

How to Make Your Compliance Training More Engaging

Now that we’ve touched on some handy corporate compliance training tools, you’re ready to learn about how you can leverage these tools to make your course more engaging. Here are a few important things you definitely need to take into account when developing a training program.

Relevant content

This is one of the first considerations while you’re planning your course. To maximize engagement, you should only select content that’s wholly relevant to your employees’ positions. This will help minimize their “going through the motions”. The more relevant you make your content, the more they’ll be able to visualize scenarios in which the compliance training is applicable.

Different kinds of learning materials

By providing the content in various formats, you’re catering to different learning styles. For example, while some learn best with words, others learn better with images. While some learn better by hearing things, others work better by doing things. Involving as many learning styles as possible per course will make it easier for you to deeply embed knowledge, as it’ll be administered through multiple sensory channels.

  1. An interactive training module on theory
  2. A video lecture on some specific ethical issues
  3. A quiz on overall knowledge gained on the subject
  4. A simulation to check how an employee will behave in particular situations.

Microlearning

Information is like food — to digest it well, you need to consume it in bite-size pieces. Often, employees find the courses too long, feel bored, and begin to rush through everything, especially with compliance training. But with short, 5–10 minute “bursts” of knowledge, employees can use their mobile devices to train while on their daily commute, during their breaks, or whenever they see fit.

  1. Defining discrimination
  2. What does discrimination look like?
  3. Who is usually discriminated against?
  4. Actions to take if facing discrimination
  5. Actions to take if witnessing discrimination
  6. Disciplinary actions for discriminatory behavior

Gamification

Few things spark motivation more than the spirit of competition. Therefore, why not infuse gamification — which borrows intrinsic elements from games such as points, badges, and leaderboards — within your course and/or LMS system?

Final Thoughts

Corporate compliance training is necessary, but not necessarily evil. Rather than framing it as a burden, reframe it as a benefit for both you and your staff. The best part is, once you automate your course using authoring software like iSpring Suite, you can reuse them over and over again, with minimal updating as necessary. Furthermore, the right LMS system will do most of the administrative work and reporting for you.

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