What is compliance training?
Explore the ultimate guide to compliance training, including examples, benefits, and tips to make it engaging.
We all know that regulatory compliance is crucial to our organization’s success, but it can also feel like an abstract or boring topic. We’ll explain what compliance training is along with a few examples and best practices on turning a boring compliance training course into an interesting and engaging program.
Compliance training is a necessary corporate learning practice across organizations and industries. But what is compliance training, exactly?
Simply put, there are laws, policies, and regulations that apply to every industry. These rules were put in place to help ensure safe and ethical workplaces. As a result, many corporations and organizations are required to prove their compliance by training their employees and members on these rules. Some examples of programs include anti-harassment training and computer security training.
Today, compliance training is usually delivered online. They can be created using e-learning authoring tools like Easygenerator, and perhaps delivered using a Learning Management System (LMS). The digital tools used will differ across organizations.
In addition to ensuring that an organization’s activities align with the law, compliance training can lead to a safer workplace — physically, mentally, and digitally. Here are some key benefits of corporate compliance training:
Reduced Legal Problems
Legal compliance helps minimize the risk of facing any penalties imposed by the law for non-compliance, which can range from a tarnished reputation to even shutting down. For instance, organizations are subject to audits by governmental agencies where they may have to prove an employee’s compliance or prove that their workplace infrastructure meets legal guidelines. Failing to comply could lead to penalties and notices that can damage the organization’s reputation. That’s why complying — and being able to prove it — can protect an organization from various legal issues down the line.
Minimized risk of injuries
By training employees on workplace safety issues like fire prevention, or precautions for maintaining office equipment and common spaces, you help create a risk-free and more productive workplace. For example, in a hardware manufacturing firm, it’s vital to maintain the machinery well while offering a safe and hazard-free work floor. Failure to identify hazards can result in serious injuries or even lost lives. But by complying with legal guidelines on workplace safety, an organization can help avoid any unnecessary injuries and fines.
Increased sense of inclusivity
Educating employees on discrimination laws and the desired ethical behaviors at your company ensures everyone knows what it takes to create a safe workplace for each other — one that’s free of harassment and abuse. Ensuring people feel safe in their workplace can also boost employee morale, which — in the long run — can lead to better employee engagement and retention.
Maintenance of reputation
Conducting compliance training periodically ensures you reinforce good conduct in the workplace. Not only does this allow your organization to keep up with evolving laws, but also shows your workforce (and the public) a consistent company reputation. It can enhance your reputation as a responsible employer, which can positively impact employee retention and recruitment.
Enhanced Information Privacy
Educating your employees on data security threats ensures everyone in the company is aligned on how to minimize online risks and protect your customers’ data. For instance, multinational companies often have to meet regulatory and legal requirements to maintain customers’ personal information. Failure to comply with something as sensitive as personal information can cause serious legal repercussions around a data breach. Being vigilant around data not only keeps your customers’ information safe but also enhances their trust in your services.
Many organizations are obliged to run compliance training depending on the nature of their business. For this reason, the content found in a compliance training program may differ by organization. For example, compliance training requirements for a healthcare organization will be different from a manufacturing organization, or even a university.
To get a closer look at the differences, here are a few examples of compliance training programs that are common across the board:
Anti-harassment training is a common example of a compliance training course, which aims to reduce inequality and educate employees on combatting workplace harassment.
Preventing sexual harassment
Similarly, sexual harassment training can educate employees on how to spot, prevent and report sexual harassment in the workplace.
Workplace safety training commonly includes information about how to workplace accidents. For example, it may educate employees about how to exit a building in the event of a fire.
Information security training
Many workplaces offer compliance training courses on information security, to help educate employees on protecting private and confidential information online.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) training programs educate employees on how to reduce workplace prejudice and discrimination, as the organization works toward creating an inclusive and equitable workplace.
Compliance training can easily come off as a serious, abstract, and even boring program. As a result, employees may view it as more of a chore rather than a valuable learning experience. That’s why it’s especially important for Learning & Development specialists to inspire and engage learners.
To help you get started, here are some tips on how to make a compliance training program fun and engaging:
Be clear on the goal
One reason why compliance is such a tricky subject is that learners often don’t understand the point of the course. This is a major obstacle to creating an effective course, but it’s one you can overcome by clarifying what learners can expect to gain. For example:
Don’t say: This course prepares you to comply with data protection legislation.
Do say: After completing this course, you’ll know how to store and process sensitive customer information within our CSM program.
The best way to start is by creating clear learning objectives. These are straightforward, simple statements made at the beginning of your compliance training course that clarify exactly what the point of the program is. They inform the learner of what new skills and knowledge they’ll gain from the course, and how it benefits them.
Ask the right questions
When creating an e-learning compliance training course, it’s tempting to start by writing all the content first and then think up the test questions later. The problem with this approach is that you wind up with PowerPoint-like courses that bombard the learner with information. Learners will quickly feel overwhelmed and zone out. That said, you can also consider converting your existing PowerPoint slides into e-learning content using Easygenerator’s PPT converter.
Using the same example of data protection compliance training we used above, here are some possible questions your course might aim to answer:
- Which personal data should I have access to?
- What do I do if I receive sensitive customer data?
- How do I correctly save customer data in our CSM software?
By starting with simple questions like these, you gain a clearer view of what really matters to your content. This means you can avoid overwhelming the learner with irrelevant information.
Break content into small, repetitive units
Repetition is a proven method for internalizing new knowledge. When training on abstract topics like compliance, repetition can be a very useful tool. It’s also important not to cram too much information into one training session or course. If you need to cover a wide range of compliance-related topics, consider spreading them out into multiple courses. This way, you avoid overloading your learners.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of shortening your compliance training courses, consider “microlearning.” This is a style of e-learning design that uses small bits of knowledge to maximize engagement. Learners are far more likely to stay engaged when a content piece is small and easy to digest.
As a guideline, aim for a course length of five to 15 minutes. If you can’t reach your learning goal within 30 minutes, split it into multiple learning objectives or use a learning path (a series of courses on compliance-related topics).
Use short paragraphs and sentences and get straight to the point. If possible, try using short video tutorials or easy-to-read graphics to condense information even further. Visuals like videos and graphics can often explain compliance topics more effectively than lengthy text.
Follow these best practices for writing content
Not everyone has a natural talent for writing but, with practice, we can all improve our writing skills. Good writing is especially important when it comes to complex, abstract topics like compliance. Well-written text helps readers understand compliance-related issues more quickly. Check out our key writing tips for creating e-learning content.
Build a feedback culture
Always make sure your learners understand why the content is relevant to them. Provide real-life examples that show them how important compliance is, not just on an abstract level but also practically. Offering extensive feedback whenever they answer a question incorrectly can also help them understand where they went wrong and what they need to improve on specifically.
But it’s not just about giving feedback. Accepting feedback can also help you improve your content. For example, using a Net Promoter Score (NPS) can help your measure and understand how your learners experience your content.
Test scores are the usual standard for measuring the effectiveness and impact of a compliance training course. But they don’t always tell the whole story. Learner engagement is a better indicator for determining whether your compliance training course adds value.
Apart from knowing how to make compliance training fun and engaging, there are other best practices to keep in mind that will help ensure a solid program. Let’s dive in:
Identify the relevant regulation
All compliance training programs are valuable. But knowing which one compliance topics to focus on matters too. Before you start planning your compliance training content, identify the relevant laws and regulations to your organization. Not only will this benefit your organization, but it will also help set your employees up for a more meaningful experience.
Ensure your content will be accurate
Compliance training is meant to educate people on legal and regulatory matters. That means your content needs to be accurate. Consider leveraging the knowledge of subject matter experts in your organization. For example, you could collaborate with your internal Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity expert on diversity training content. To avoid a lengthy back-and-forth between L&D and SMEs, however, we recommend empowering SMEs to create the content themselves. This approach is known as Employee-Generated Learning (EGL), and it would require a user-friendly authoring tool like Easygenerator.
Keep your content up to date
Bear in mind that laws, policies, and regulations change over time. So it’s also important to keep your training content up to date. A cloud-based authoring tool like Easygenerator makes it easy to store your content online and apply changes in real-time. And by empowering Subject Matter Experts to create the content themselves, they become the owners of the content. That means they can keep the content up to date at the speed of their expertise. This helps ensure that your compliance training content stays continually relevant.
Now that we’ve covered all the best practices for creating content, it’s time to review a few final compliance-specific steps. While your goal is to create a meaningful learning experience, you’re also trying to get your employees to complete the training. With that, here are a few things to consider:
Set clear deadlines
Making your content engaging is one way to get your employees to take the training. But setting clear deadlines will help you communicate the need to complete the training on time. Aside from ensuring your organization can prove its compliance in a timely manner, it also helps your employees learn about rules and regulations while they’re still in place. As we’ve mentioned, laws and policies change over time, which is why it’s important to treat compliance training like a current activity rather than an evergreen task.
Track your employees’ progress
Once you’ve distributed your compliance training course, stay on top of completion rates. You can do this in an LMS, or you can leverage an authoring tool with LMS-lite capabilities, like Easygenerator. Our tool offers extensive data-driven insights into your learners’ activities. Not only can you see whether someone’s completed a course, but you can also discover the most and least challenging parts, including where a learner clicked out. These insights are valuable for helping you improve your course to make it more engaging for learners, allowing you to improve the quality of the content over time.
Award certificates of completion
Certificates of completion are a common and handy way for an organization to prove its compliance. They’re also a great way to celebrate your employees’ achievements, which can serve as an added incentive to complete mandatory training. Easygenerator can also help you generate certificates of completion for your learners.
Compliance training is mandatory. By leveraging the best practices of interactive content creation along with an easy-to-use authoring tool, you can deliver online compliance training that’s both engaging and effective.
We recommend our own authoring solution, Easygenerator, as a user-friendly tool to create engaging compliance training courses while being able to track your learners’ completion and results. Here are how some of our key features can help you:
Built-in results tracking
Easygenerator helps you keep track of learners’ progress in real-time, as well as download and share data-driven reports. This can help you identify who has and hasn’t completed the compliance course — which an organization needs to know in order to maintain compliance — among other useful insights.
Reporting to a Learning Record Store (LRS)
Easygenerator uses the xAPI standard for tracking and tracing, which allows you to send the results to an external Learning Record Store (LRS). This significantly reduces manual errors and effectively supports the compliance efforts of the L&D.
With Easygenerator, you can easily generate certificates to award your learners upon completing the training program. This makes it easy to prove who has and hasn’t completed their course. Moreover, providing your learners with recognition for their time and effort can be a great way to incentivize them to participate.
But compliance certificates aren’t just important for proving course completion. Because legal content changes regularly, having a recent certificate shows learners have the most up-to-date information. Just like a valid driver’s license means more than an expired one, certified compliance can help you run a risk-free firm with full confidence.
To learn more about how Easygenerator can help you create a compliance training program, we invite you to sign up for a free 14-day trial of our authoring tool with unlimited access to our features. No credit card is required.