Get Started with Compliance Training (as Painlessly as Possible)
Training & Learning

Get Started with Compliance Training (as Painlessly as Possible)

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that compliance training is a drag. It’s dull, repetitive, and, worst of all, mandatory. What if there was a way to make administering and undergoing compliance training less tedious and time-consuming?

Compliance training’s dull reputation comes from its unrelenting focus on rules and regulations. Nobody wants to spend otherwise productive hours studying what they can and can’t do to keep the company out of trouble. But compliance training is often vital, and leaving it as an afterthought may have significant legal, safety, and cultural repercussions for your company. Topics like sexual harassment training, workplace safety, and anti-bias and diversity training are essential for creating a safe workplace for everyone.

How do you make a compliance training plan that conveys this essential information without boring your teams’ socks off?

Careful planning and the right tools take the tedium out of compliance training planning. Take a simple approach to create more compelling training that employees want to do. That way, you spend less time chasing down completion rates and more time creating exciting training programs.

What is compliance training?

Compliance training is any employee training course that’s mandated by legislation, policy, or regulation. It’s a formal program for educating employees on safety, legal, or company regulations and procedures.

Types of compliance training

Compliance training is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of training programs:

  • Safety. This training is aimed at improving employees’ culture and psychological safety (as well as potentially deterring lawsuits). Safety training includes diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment prevention, first-aid, and workplace safety. Some safety training is legally mandated by organizations like OSHA, while others are simply a matter of company policy.
  • Legal. These courses keep employees from breaking the law. Legal encompasses data protection and privacy, best hiring practices, business ethics, and conflicts of interest training, among others.
  • Workplace knowledge. These trainings ensure that employees have all the information they need to do their jobs and take advantage of their employment. Workplace knowledge includes organizational policies, employee benefits training, and even mandatory training on how to use workplace equipment. Certain employees, like counselors or medical professionals, might be required to take knowledge refreshers to retain third-party certifications.

Why compliance training matters

Compliance training is one of the essential functions of L&D. The company needs to provide timely and up-to-date compliance training information for a variety of reasons.

  • Legal requirements. Most prominently, compliance training courses are sometimes legally mandated by local or federal governments or industry organizations. For example, OSHA may mandate that a factory certify that they have trained workers to safely operate specific equipment. The company must carefully track and keep records of these trainings in case of an outside audit. If they aren’t up to date, they may face fines or even lose their operating license.
  • Financial liability. Even if compliance training is not legally mandated, it shields the company from legal repercussions or potential lawsuits due to employee misconduct. If an employee makes a mistake that causes financial or physical harm to someone, the company could be liable if they didn’t provide the correct training.
  • The company’s bottom line. Workplace safety training reduces the risk of workplace accidents, which is in the company’s best interests. If an employee injures themselves on the job, it could cost the company thousands in disability payments and lost productivity.
  • Employee well-being. It’s the company's social responsibility to create a physically and psychologically safe workplace for its employees. This means providing training that encourages better workplace culture and gives employees the tools they need to be successful.

How to launch a compliance training program

While some of the materials covered in compliance training might be complex, starting and managing a program doesn’t have to be. Keep your compliance program simple. Assess your training needs and take advantage of quick-start content options to get training materials flowing.

1. Define your training needs

Defining your needs will look different than a typical bottom-up training needs assessment. You can’t rely on employees to tell you the kind of compliance training they need. Instead, it will be up to HR or L&D to research the required training throughout the organization. Check with your company’s legal department to see what mandatory training regulations apply.

Beyond what’s legally required, pinpointing compliance training needs is about identifying risks and potential areas where the company could be legally liable if employees don’t have the right training. Consult industry trends, experts in the field, and industry regulations to create a list of potential areas of risk for each department or position in the company.

For example, hiring managers face unique potential risks associated with fair hiring practices, data security, and creating employee contracts. Create training materials that provide them with all the information they need to stay on the right side of the law, and company policy, in these areas.

Prioritize the urgency of these training needs based first on legal requirements, second on employee safety, and third on advancing organizational goals.

2. Create training materials

You have two options when it comes to creating course materials for compliance training: purchase an off-the-shelf program or create the course materials yourself.

Leverage off-the-shelf content
Leveraging off-the-shelf content from a provider like Udemy, SHRM, or NAVEX is the more straightforward option. It requires a financial outlay, but it lets you get started with training quicker. More importantly, if you are creating very technical or legally complex training materials, it may be simpler and safer to go with a pre-established program that is guaranteed to teach employees everything they need. 360Learning makes it easy to integrate these pre-purchased courses into our learning system.
Create courses in-house

If you feel confident in your organization’s institutional knowledge, the other option is to create courses in-house. This option is less expensive, but that’s not the only advantage. Team members will create content that is less generic and more specific to the needs of the organization. It’s also easier to update and fine-tune courses as needed based on employee feedback and policy changes.

A Collaborative Learning platform helps leverage the company’s internal knowledge base to create targeted courses. For example, your in-house legal department could design courses around data protection and privacy, or the tech department could create a course about email safety that showcases how to use your actual email interface.

Related read: How We Use Peer Learning to Keep Our Company’s Competitive Edge

3. Disseminate, collect feedback, iterate

Finally, it’s time to disseminate the training materials and manage their completion. Use your learning management system or collaborative learning system to segment employees based on the training they require and to distribute the courses.

Use back-end analytics to track completion rates, employee engagement, and the length of time it takes to complete each course. Collect feedback from employees, and use it to update and iterate the courses to be more compelling and accurate.

How to better manage compliance

One of the critical functions of L&D is to make sure that all employees have received up-to-date compliance training. Managing compliance seems complicated at first, but good record-keeping and automation make these administrative tasks much easier.

  • Automate as much of the compliance training process as possible. Pick a training software that allows you to automate the most painful and thankless tasks, like assigning employees in the right compliance training track. Some tools, like 360Learning, allow you to automatically enrol users based on their roles. This way, you don’t risk missing training or forgetting anyone. You can also set automated email reminders and auto-generate certification upon completion.
  • Make compliance training a part of the onboarding process so that employees go into their role knowing all the relevant legal and safety information. Studies have shown that early compliance training has more of an impact on knowledge retention and employee attitudes.
  • Monitor to make sure that employees complete their assigned training. Use training software to track course completions and send reminders to employees who still need to complete courses. Automation keeps you from having to nag people in person. It also creates an electronic record of course completion, which is vital in case of an audit or litigation.
  • Keep courses up to date. Keeping courses up to date can be time-consuming. Instead of manually reviewing each course regularly, let employees do it for you. For example, 360Learning’s Collaborative Learning platform enables learners to share instant feedback with reaction buttons and in-module forum. Your employees will let you know if your content is outdated or confusing.

reaction buttons on 360Learning

How to boost completion rates

Making compliance training more palatable means you’ll spend less time chasing employees to complete their courses. Use your LMS to create shorter, more convenient training and to create more engaging, active learning experiences.

Make learning convenient

It’s not that people are lazy; they are just busy. Make it as easy as possible to complete compliance requirements by keeping courses short and flexible.

Jettison dry in-person seminars in favor of online training that can be done anywhere, at any time. Mobile learning lets employees do their training whenever they have downtime.

Instead of courses that stretch for hours, aim for more and smaller learning sessions. Microlearning, courses that divide the material into bite-sized chunks, leads to better learner engagement, better knowledge retention, and faster course completion rates.

Make courses more interesting

Courses that are engaging and employ active learning techniques are more likely to hold people’s interest. Active learning is anything that requires learners to do more than sit in their seats and passively absorb information. Make learning interactive with quizzes, games, or simulations.

Another way to encourage active learning is via collaboration. Learning in a vacuum is isolating and less effective than learning together with colleagues. Foster interactivity with online group discussions where team members can share their opinions and experiences.

Keep compliance training simple, so you can focus on other things

Compliance training feels like a thankless job: HR or L&D is expected to do it but receive little in the way of kudos when done right. It can also turn into a monster of paperwork and tedious seminars if you let it.

Prevent it from getting to that point by keeping processes as simple as possible and creating engaging training that employees don’t mind completing. Build these systems early so that as your company grows, your compliance training program can quickly grow with it. Then, you can put your real efforts into the more attractive, business-enabling aspects of training.