5 Tips for Creating a Successful Compliance Training Program

compliance training

Compliance training gets a bad rap. 

For employees, it may reek of obligation and not-fun information that needs to be learned and acted on. Yet every business faces compliance obligations, some more than others. 

By definition, compliance refers to how an organization puts into practice the laws, regulations, and guidelines of its jurisdiction and industry in order to keep the organization operating legally, safely, productively, and in alignment with explicit standards. 

Thus, compliance is the concern of everyone in an organization and may include third parties, such as vendors, contractors, and others.

Not being in compliance can have onerous consequences: from situations where your organization incurs business and legal risks to issues relating to product quality, warranties, and returns, or even potentially lethal circumstances involving the health and safety of workers. 

In this context, the interests of your organization and those of regulators align: both parties want to reduce risk. When you’re briefing your L&D design team, the gravity and importance of the task at hand can help inspire a compliance training program that is impactful, engaging, and cost-effective. 


To help you produce such training, we present the following five tips.


1. Define your base of learners for compliance training

You need a clear picture of who your trainees are going to be. So ask yourself some basic questions, such as:

  • Which members of your team or outsiders need to be in compliance?
  • Who has been out of compliance?
  • What situations in your organization make compliance challenging?

Once you have a list of trainees, integrate it into the database of your learning management system (LMS). Your LMS’ recertification function ensures compliance is always maintained by sending automated notifications when their certification is about to expire. 


2. Focus training on the key compliance elements to be mastered

What compliance elements should your trainees learn?

As you review the reference materials of the regulatory agency and consult the subject-matter experts, it’s important not to get lost in a sea of information.

So focus on the compliance areas that have a direct impact on your organization, i.e., the content relating to the relevant business, legal, health, safety, product, or cyber risks, just to name a few.

Once you map the needed requirements, you can begin to think about how to create well-thought-out curricula for the transfer of this knowledge. 


3. Design and deliver engaging compliance training

To truly mitigate risk in your organization, your compliance training needs to take your trainees beyond the basic “Knowledge” and “Understanding” levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning

In Bloom’s model, learning objectives are stacked in a pyramidal hierarchy, based on their level of complexity. For example, “Knowledge” and “Understanding” are, respectively, at the bottom of the pyramid. At the top are “Synthesis” — the ability to bring information together to make something new —  and “Evaluation,” the capacity to critically assess the value of the relevant information.

While your trainees may be able to successfully complete the tests of regulators with simple “Knowledge” and “Understanding” levels of learning, you’ll want more than that in your organization.

Faced with a compliance challenge, your trainees need to be able to actively assess the situation, ask critical questions of the information at hand, then act in compliance. To develop compliance curricula that help your trainees attain a high level of mastery of the material, your L&D team should follow these guidelines.

Explore real-life scenarios and stories.

When drawn from the day-to-day compliance situations faced by the trainees, scenarios and stories can be powerful pedagogical tools. 

Focus these scenarios on the key vulnerabilities you distilled from an analysis of both the compliance requirements and your organization’s compliance failures. Branching out from these scenarios, you can cover all the necessary legal and regulatory information and procedures that compliance requires.

Use simple, concise language.

To minimize the obstacles to learning, keep your language simple and concise. Match it to your trainees’ level of understanding. 

Promote interactivity and engagement.

When your trainees are regularly involved in the delivery of training, you keep them engaged. Engagement promotes retention. Design your course so that you take full advantage of your LMS tools, such as easy-access, live video-conferencing with chat, Q&A, polls, and whiteboard features. 

In the online portion of your training, live video-conferencing empowers the instructor to interact instantly in audio-visual form with the participants and provide feedback, answers, and support. 

The trainees can also interact instantly with the instructor and their peers through a voice channel, break-out room, or group chat. 

In addition, the instructor can vary the interaction by using quizzes and polls to connect with the trainees.

Avoid overtraining.

Remember to avoid overwhelming your trainees with information. Nobody enjoys drinking from a fire hose.

To avoid overwhelm, consider integrating 15-to-20 minute training asynchronous sessions into the training schedule. These micro-learning modules support greater retention, make training easily repeatable, and help improve employee retention in precise areas. 

Remember, too, to keep all your health and safety training safely stored. Should you ever have to respond to an incident investigator’s inquiry about the adequacy of your training, you can always refer the person to your stored training materials.


4. Monitor the progress of your compliance trainees

Your LMS reporting function can go a long way to simplifying the progress-tracking of your compliance trainees. 

Every LMS interaction instantly creates real-time data that can be reviewed at a high level through a dashboard, or at a granular level in a report. That data can then be exported to Excel for more analysis.

Reports come in multiple formats, so you can slice and dice your data by course, trainee, team, or any other business function. Because the data reflects activity in real time, you can respond to trainee issues on the spot.

As trainees successfully complete each level of their training, your LMS can automatically reward their achievements with badges and, when appropriate, a certificate attesting to successful compliance training. 


5. Evaluate the effectiveness of your compliance training

Feedback and benchmarks are essential for measuring the effectiveness of your compliance training and gaining insight on how to improve it. 

The following methods can provide you with useful feedback: 

Surveys at the end of the training program or a follow-up at a fixed time after the program’s end

Focus groups of people you’ve invited for a guided discussion of the training program’s effectiveness. 

Individual conversations with trainees after training to gain new perspectives on the training. 

Before-and-after data can handily provide you with some benchmarks. For example, compare the before and after numbers of the following: 

  • What you’ve paid in fines and penalties for non-compliance 
  • Lost hours of productivity for the same
  • Number of non-compliance incidents
  • Your team’s awareness levels of compliance requirements as measured in testing. 

Compliance training is a must for many businesses. With commitment and creativity, you can develop training programs that are both informative and engaging while also adding to the well-being and bottom line of your organization.

For more information on how an LMS can contribute to successful compliance training, connect with us!


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