When it comes to conducting compliance training in your workplace, it’s essential that a reliable and consistent approach be implemented across the company.
Ensuring that employees are up to speed with all of your industry’s rules and regulations is crucial when it comes to minimising any potential side effects from non-compliance. Moreover, an informed team will be better able to work efficiently and with confidence.
In this article, we’ll go through how you can optimise your company’s compliance training process with an LMS, transforming it from a somewhat tedious task into an activity that boosts your bottom line, maintains compliance, and engages employees.
What is a compliance training LMS?
We know that compliance training is a form of employee training that is mandated by legislation, regulation or company policy. Its purpose is to ensure employees adhere to the relevant laws, regulations and codes of conduct that govern an industry or organisation.
Ergo, a compliance training learning management system (LMS) is a software application designed for the purposes of delivering, monitoring and managing compliance training.
Examples of compliance training with an LMS
Broadly speaking, there are two different forms of compliance training: That which is mandated by the state or an external regulatory body, and training that provides an overview of internal guidelines within your company.
The first form of training involves educating your company’s employees about applicable domestic and international laws, regulations and any other industry standards that they must adhere to. This is a crucial part of compliance training, as its benefits to a company’s economic and legal capabilities are quite tangible.
- Occupational health & safety
- Diversity & inclusion.
As mentioned, this second compliance training form is a great way to make your employees aware of any cultural yardsticks against which they should measure their own conduct. This training is great for cultivating a positive employee experience by empowering them to perform to the best of their abilities.
Some examples of internal compliance courses include:
- Code of conduct
- Data management.
The impacts of using an LMS for compliance training
Many organisations treat compliance programs as a box-checking exercise. Let’s be real: It’s no one’s favourite thing to do. Which is why we need to borrow a marketing strategy and reframe compliance as a pain solver, not a pain point (more on this in just a few paragraphs).
Regulatory compliance doesn’t just limit potential legal threats and complications for businesses. It can also help employees to better grasp the requirements and limits of their own roles and responsibilities within a company.
But there are a couple of constraints you may be working with.
- Scaling the average compliance training program for your workforce. Let’s say for your production function across multiple locations; it’s hard to ensure they’re all undertaking the same training in the necessary timeframe.
- The cost of offsite compliance training courses. You may never be able to write them off the L&D roster completely, but you can certainly plan to save time and money.
And the through line is access to information. If, for example, safety training content is only available through an external, offsite trainer, how can employees review and revisit it as needed? Say you decide to create all content. What is the time and cost of manually disseminating it? That’s without considering the need to integrate compliance training with risk assessment procedures, which itself can be an arduous process that requires you to pull together multiple augmented parts.
If it’s not clear enough yet, a central, automated system for managing compliance, not just compliance training, is the answer.
Managing sensitive training materials
Deloitte found that managing third-party risk is the greatest compliance-related challenge for 47% of organisations. By providing a trusted platform for compliance training, you can significantly reduce the complexity of this task.
Integrating an LMS with strong security protocols also means that you’ll be able to provide corporate compliance training to employees and other business partners, no matter where they’re located. Look for LMS features like data encryption and secure user access and compliance reporting functionality to track literal compliance.
Centralising training and reporting
Let’s dive a little deeper while we’re on the topic of reporting.
An LMS can house, deliver and analyse training, this we know. That gives you an overview of content-specific data like:
- Individual course completions
- Time to completion
- Drop off rates
- Levels of proficiency, if compliance is certification-based.
This enables you to identify employees who are struggling in real time and provide them with interventions at the moment of need. Consider if your current training system can also map content to specific capabilities that would pose an immediate risk to business if employees didn’t meet compliance requirements (like those for the production function).
Again, we’ll build off the previously mentioned certifications. An online learning platform can provide the organisational view of certification. The right LMS should also be able to show internal and third-party courses under this umbrella, making for more astute compliance reporting.
The burden of sourcing that third-party content isn’t on HR’s shoulders either; many LMSs integrate with content aggregators who pull industry-certified courses into your system. You’ll also have the ability to quickly update legal and regulatory frameworks at scale—handy, given the pace at which industry moves.
And don’t forget automated notifications. Most LMSs will let you set and forget reminders for users when completions are overdue, due to expire, or due to be refreshed.
Changing negative perceptions of compliance training programs
You may see the compliance course as one of many company obligations to protect from worst-case scenarios. This is your first mistake. Just because it’s a necessity shouldn’t mean that it should lack substance and value in the workplace. The second reason many compliance programs fail is when they are framed as formalities. Employees will get dozens of emails a day; one more reminding them to complete another course isn’t going to cut it.
Establishing an effective compliance program comes down to a few key factors.
- Gaining organisation-wide buy-in
- Measuring effectiveness
- Evaluating breaches of compliance.
There are a few perception issues around compliance.
- It requires too big an investment from the L&D budget
- It’s a static and time-consuming process, especially compared to the dynamic and continuous learning models using for other employee development
- It’s less enticing than and separate to career and leadership development.
When it comes to your workforce, the real challenge is that other forms of training see immediate, personal or more positive results. If the result of compliance is simply to maintain a status quo, then it can be harder to see its value. If you’ve secured executive buy-in, things are a little easier.
Link compliance courses to business objectives. One way to think about it: Even leadership models require adherence to a standard your organisation sets. Without leadership, employees won’t have direction and work won’t be done the way you need it to be. On the other hand, when leadership is considered a form of compliance training, the process becomes more dynamic and personalised for employees.
If it’s still seen as a tedious cost centre, remember that the more employees, the harder it is to ensure consistency in culture, let alone conduct and legislative obligations. Compliance keeps things in line as they scale.
You can’t just deem a compliance course effective because it’s been completed. Completion tells you very little about skills application and post-training enablement—i.e. how employees apply learned compliance knowledge in the workplace. It’s not surprising that just 34% of organisations report that their compliance efforts are actually effective.
Look deeper at the business impacts of compliance training. Part of the perception issue is ensuring that training efforts are impactful on the employee day-to-day. That means you can utilise the same measures of training effectiveness that you do for other development initiatives.
Look for behavioural indicators and information on the delivery of training, like:
- Missing or lacking topics
- Accessibility (including the technology or software needed to access a course)
- Capability gaps
- Team culture
- Implementation of procedures
- Return on investment.
Tracking compliance breaches
Part of the problem with corporate compliance courses is that they are ancillary to BAU. Just as you measure the effectiveness of compliance training, you should seek to understand where compliance isn’t upheld in the workplace to give more meaning to training.
Just as capability gaps create the basis for personal development, compliance issues can create a foundation for more dynamic compliance training. Treat compliance audits as you would environmental scans in workforce planning; continually evaluating the strength or your policies and procedures will uncover areas for improvement when action is needed, rather than down the line when they become a strategic risk.
The impacts of not doing compliance training
To add to its hard-going reputation, compliance is usually only felt when done poorly. This can leave you open to a range of negative consequences.
The first and most obvious is the potential financial ramifications of non-compliance. One report from estimated that the annual cost of non-compliance for businesses is around $14.8 million, considerably more than the approximate $5.5 million price tag for compliance.
Secondly, compliance touches all employees in some way—from harassment, discrimination and bullying policies to software knowledge. That includes your organisational values. A poor culture is linked to decreased productivity and higher levels of attrition in the workplace, which is ultimately a business liability when it leads to higher levels of turnover, disengagement and loss of critical knowledge at scale. According to the Harvard Business Review, 30% of employees expect to experience a cultural crisis based on their employer’s previous behaviour.
A big part of that is a lack of organisational accountability and unclear ethical standards—which can be solved with, ahem, compliance training.
That’s without counting:
- Penalties, financial or otherwise, for breaches of regulations and/or laws
- Operating license suspensions or even government sanctions
- Accidental injury and safety implications (such as lawsuits)
- The loss of revenue all of the above directly contribute to.
Compliance training acts in the same way brakes function in a car; the stronger your safety controls, the more risks you can take. The fewer the controls, and the slower you have to go to avoid crashing.
Lack of compliance in the workplace can usually be sourced back to a less-than-enthusiastic view of traditional compliance training. But as with all other workplace training initiatives, you simply need to align compliance obligations with business objectives. Start with any compliance issues in the workplace and work backwards. This gives training value and employees and executives alike a reason to willingly engage.
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