Getting your employees excited about any sort of training initiative can feel like an uphill battle. But, simply utter the words “compliance training” and you’re bound to inspire a collective groan and an onslaught of sick day requests.
We get it. Even to you, compliance training sounds like a stuffy, corporate concept and a speedy way to bore your team to tears.
But here’s the thing: love it or hate it, it’s still incredibly important. And the good news? It doesn’t need to be painful. In this article, we’re digging into everything you need to know about compliance training—including what it is, its benefits, and how you can do it well.
What is compliance training?
There’s a reason that you think of compliance training as more rigid and formal than any other training: it usually is.
Compliance training exists to familiarize employees with important regulations, policies, and procedures that they’ll need to abide by in the workplace.
These could be company policies (think an anti-harassment or anti-violence policy) or even a legally mandated program (like HIPAA or OSHA).
Effective compliance training will give employees all of the details that they need to understand and successfully follow those requirements—whether they’re dictated by an outside agency or a best practice that your company itself has set.
3 key benefits of compliance training
With just that definition alone, it’s not tough to get an understanding of why compliance training is important. But, let’s dig into a few specific benefits that successful compliance training offers.
1. It increases understanding
Duh, right? This first perk is pretty obvious. Compliance training ensures that all of your employees have an accurate understanding of highly-important information.
Let’s face it—employees probably aren’t flipping through their company handbooks or the complex legal jargon of your various policies just for fun (in fact, a reported 44% of employees admit that they don’t know their company’s policies). Many times, that means they lean on each other for advice and guidance on how to navigate company requirements.
That opens your organization up to crossed wires and misunderstandings. Hosting (and even requiring) frequent compliance training ensures that everybody has the correct and most up-to-date information about the things that they need to know.
2. It provides proof of completion
In many cases, compliance training isn’t something that’s nice to have—it’s something that you have to have. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is a federal law, but some states also have their own OSHA laws that apply to workplaces.
Putting your employees through the same compliance training means you’ll not only have the peace of mind that they all got their hands on that information, but you’ll also have proof of completion.
Having that documentation can lead to plenty of other benefits, such as a boosted company reputation and even reduced insurance premiums for your business.
3. It reduces risk
Making sure that your employees are all up to speed on important standards—whether they’re safety requirements or policies for how they interact with each other—makes for a safer workplace with a reduced risk of incidents happening.
Additionally, effective compliance training can also significantly decrease the risk of legal action (whether it’s taken by your employees, customers, or others), because everybody is more likely to be abiding by the established rules and following the recommended behaviors.
Getting everybody on the same page: how to run compliance training
You get it—compliance training is important. But, you want to be able to share this need-to-know information without making your employees wish they were watching paint dry.
How can you pull that off? Here are five key tips for running effective compliance training.
1. Familiarize yourself with the regulations
This is the most important place to start. In a lot of cases, you can’t just pick and choose what to include in your compliance training. Especially for regulations that are mandated by outside laws or agencies, there are criteria that you need to meet.
Before sinking too much time into structuring your training, make sure that you get the lowdown on what’s required of you. That will help you create a training program that’s engaging, but still hits on all of the mandatory elements. For instance, if your training involves boosting healthcare security, make sure to address relevant regulations while also keeping your audience's interest by using interactive methods and examples.
2. Incorporate plenty of examples
A lot of compliance training is different from the other education you offer, in that it doesn’t always have a direct impact on the day-to-day jobs of your employees.
Maybe they aren’t learning about a piece of software that they use on a frequent basis, and are instead hearing about all of the steps they need to take in unlikely emergency scenarios.
That means the content can seem really high-level and even irrelevant, which makes it all the more challenging for your employees to stay engaged. You can help by using plenty of examples and anecdotes that connect what they’re learning in the training to your employees’ real word.
Doing so immediately makes that information more pertinent to them and, as a result, makes it far easier to stay interested and retain in what’s being taught.
3. Use microlearning to your advantage
Imagine that you gathered your employees together for a six-hour training session on your code of conduct. By the next day, how much of that information do you think your employees will remember?
Spoiler alert: not much. A lot of that can be blamed on something called the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, which shows that our recollection of even important information quickly fades.
One of the best ways to combat this natural phenomenon is to use what’s called spaced repetition or spaced learning, where you cover and revisit smaller chunks of information at spaced intervals rather than dumping it all on employees at once.
Microlearning can be a huge help in this regard. Using this technique, you’ll split your content into short, focused lessons that have a specific learning objective. That will keep employees engaged, and also boost their retention of the information.
4. Leverage a variety of learning methods
You know by now that not everybody learns the same way (just look up the theory of multiple intelligences for further evidence). That means you shouldn’t just rely on one method for delivering your training.
Mix things up by incorporating text, visuals, videos, interactive elements, audio, and more into your training lessons. That will help you appeal to all of the different types of learners on your team, and make that information all the more memorable.
5. Use an LMS
Especially with complex compliance training, there can be a lot to keep track of. There are specific requirements, documentation and training records, certifications, learning modules, and more.
A learning management system (LMS) gives you a centralized place to keep all of that information, and also makes it easy to deliver accessible online training to all of your employees.
Don’t want to take up precious time on the calendar? An LMS will even let your employees work their way through those training materials in their own time, while you closely monitor progress and ensure completion.
Sold on the benefits of an LMS for your own compliance training? Check out the GoSkills LMS.
Compliance training shouldn’t be painful
Despite the visions that the term “compliance training” might immediately inspire, it’s important for your entire team. With that said, rest assured that it doesn’t need to be a groan-worthy activity for you or your employees.
Put the above strategies into play, and you’ll deliver compliance training that gets that need-to-know information out there—without boring everyone to tears.
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