Whatever size organization you work for chances are you have some form of compliance training, but how effective is it really? Do employees actually put into action what’s being taught? Here are some shocking compliance statistics.
- The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found half of all fraud cases are never reported publicly, and a typical organization loses close to $3 million in annual revenue to fraud.
- 42 percent of 3,000 executives interviewed for EY’s 2016 Global Fraud Survey said they could justify unethical behavior to meet financial targets
Best practices when administering compliance training
So the bottom line is compliance training is important and when administered correctly, will protect a company. Here are some of the essentials of a great workplace compliance training program.
1. Informed management
Company communication starts from the top and in most companies, this is management or other key stakeholders. This group of leaders needs to understand the overall goals and objectives of the company. Then this team needs to understand how culture and regulation work together to achieve these goals. Without managing risk, looking at the company's reputation and what potential lawsuits there are, the business will fail. So compliance training must start with management.
2. Keeping current
This may sound like a given, but employees must be trained on the most up-to-date laws and regulations. Since these are constantly evolving and changing, legal needs to communicate often with the training team. That way employees are not being given outdated information that will lead to bigger compliance issues.
3. Easily accessible
With today’s diverse workforce, you probably have sales teams traveling, marketing running tradeshows, and a few consultants working from home. With all these moving parts, how does every employee access training? Make sure you are using a system like a learning management system to streamline your compliance training. Not only will it be accessible anywhere and anytime, but employees will also appreciate the training flexibility.
4. Analyze often
You should monitor how compliance training is going. If you use a learning management system several of these systems have built-in analytics. Checking these you can see who is taking the training, when they took it and what device they are using to log on. Then you can use this information and compare it to other analytics. These would include things like engagement rates, best performing resources, worst performing resources, assessment results, time logs and employee performance. Any area of improvement can be used to further tweak your compliance training.
What goes into compliance training?
Once the building blocks of a great compliance training program are in place, what makes a great program? Here are some key objectives for your program.
- Employees need to understand compliance responsibilities
- How to reduce risk needs to be top of mind
- Plan legal liability from the organization in the event of malpractice
- Protecting the company’s reputation
- Encouraging a better company culture
There should be a research time to examine areas of high risk for the organization. Then training should be rolled out in terms of priority to cover these vulnerable areas. Once these areas are covered, think through other compliance training. Depending on the size of your organization, these may be:
Anti-harassment and discrimination, customer service standards, workplace violence, workplace safety, diversity, conflicts of interest, fair disclosure, bribery, reporting violations, employer contact information, employer and employee rights and responsibilities, sickness policies, evacuation processes, first aid and reporting accidents and workplace hazards.
Besides the finite material being taught, the delivery is equally as important. You don’t want your employees simply going through the motions of training. That’s why complaining training needs to be engaging, relevant to the employee’s job, and stresses the importance of how vital it is.
Designing and rolling out a compliance program
Whether you are tasked with creating a great compliance program or restructuring a current one, there are some key steps for success. A great place to start if creating a brand new program is following the seven elements of an effective compliance program under the framework established by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released in 2003.
1. Establish written policies and procedures
The first step is to create if not already created a set of policies and procedures for the company. Then anyone who is related to the day-to-day operations of the company must be trained on these procedures. This includes employees, agents, contractors, and stakeholders among others. If you are revamping a current compliance program this is a great step to go through what documents are created. Look for areas of weakness like compliance with laws, the integrity of data, and federal guidelines. Then make sure you set up process documentation for all these areas.
Also, keep in mind that 90 percent of the company doesn’t have a legal background. These documents need to be easily digestible whether a person is in accounting or marketing or administration. And, they should be as concise as possible so that they are read, understood, and put into practice.
2. Assigning a compliance team
Next, you’ll want to dedicate a team or an entire department to compliance. One of the mistakes companies often make is giving this function to sales and marketing or sometimes even under the human resources umbrella. Or a company will appoint the general council. Compliance can’t be an afterthought or a subset of another department. So dedicate a point person to lead compliance for the company. This will minimize company risk and increase business operations.
It’s also a good idea to have a compliance committee under this compliance point person. While the compliance manager will report to senior management, stockholders, and board of directors depending on the company size, you also want employee compliance buy-in. By creating a committee comprised of different department team leads, you get a slice of how compliance is working at the employee level. Plus, these managers can lead by example and their direct reports will also have the necessary compliance buy-in.
3. Create a training program
After you create a compliance team and documents, the company needs to learn the ins and outs of compliance training. How will you administer training? This training program needs to extend from onboarding to continual learning with refresher courses for more seasoned employees. You’ll need to think through the training. What does each department or team of employees need to know? Training should be tailored based on need. Plus, you want to track if the training was completed using a method like a learning management system.
4. Build communication channels
Corporate communication is key throughout any sized company. When it comes to compliance training, great communication is vital. You should develop a compliance training rollout document. Every employee needs to understand why they are learning what they are learning and how it affects the company as a whole. You can’t expect employee buy-in if you don’t explain the necessity of compliance.
It’s also important to tell employees what training they will be taking and where they can find these courses. And if they have questions about the process who they should contact. Finally, if an employee does encounter a violation, who do they report it to. You also want to make sure this point person is someone trustworthy that employees won’t fear retaliation from.
5. Monitor and conduct an audit
Once your compliance training is in full swing, you want to check in and see how it’s going. This includes conducting an internal audit and monitoring how employees are responding. Every program no matter how successful can always use tweaks to further improve the process. Once you identify these areas, figure out better solutions for a more streamlined program.
6. Create disciplinary guidelines
All employees including senior management need to understand the seriousness of compliance issues. It’s one thing to go through training, but it’s equally as important to practice what was taught. If there are infractions, you need a system of how to address these. Outline examples of infractions and what disciplinary actions will be taken.
7. Respond quickly to issues
As much as you prepare for compliance, issues will arise. Once they do and you put your plan into action, assess how the process played out. This is a good time to make plan adjustments based on infractions incurred. That way these same problems won’t happen in the future. And these issues need to be investigated and mitigated quickly. Taking care of non-compliance in a systematic approach, it won’t create larger issues for the company. Once the process is complete, a report should be created including the issue, how it was addressed and what changes need to be made so that it won’t happen again.
How to keep track of compliance training?
Now that you know the compliance training process, where’s the best place to house your training? While corporate Intranets are great, they are often overloaded with outdated documents and hard to find key materials when needed. A better option is a learning management system. These providers use cloud-based technology to keep your most up-to-date compliance training materials in one place. They are easily accessible to all employees, offer convenient subscription plans, and provide several key integrations.
Here are three great learning management systems to use for compliance training.
Continu is a training tracking tool that offers a versatile cloud-based interface. It is one of the only LMS companies offering a blended learning tool for both online and classroom training. Their platform is easy to use, doesn’t overcomplicate the implementation process, and keeps up with changing technology. Besides using Continu as an LMS, the platform is also a knowledge base or Intranet system which helps cut company costs and save time. Learning Tracks is how administrators create courses, facilitate onboarding flows, quizzes, and more. Continu is also an authoring tool which means companies can create training materials directly onto this platform without the aid of third parties.
- Intuitive easy-to-use interface
- Automated training delivers correct materials on time based on the needs of the individual user
- Track assigned and completed courses
- Tag content by national or international office locations
- Manager dashboards, and detailed reporting/analytics to track learning and engagement
- Download, export, and share reports
- Scalable platform
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