How Can an LMS Improve Compliance Training in the Workplace?

How does an LMS improve your compliance training process?


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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, transforming it from a somewhat tedious task into an activity that boosts your bottom line, maintains compliance, and engages employees.

What is compliance training?

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 conducts that govern an industry or organisation.

The business benefits of 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. 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 business. It can also help employees to better grasp the requirements and limits of their own roles and responsibilities within a company.

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.

Compliance training can be costly to implement, but the potential financial burden of non-compliance is far greater. A report from the Ponemon Institute and security company GlobalScape found that the annual cost of non-compliance for businesses is estimated to be $14.8 million, considerably more than the $5.5 million average price tag of compliance.

On the other hand, 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.

At a high level, a lack of compliance can mean:

Compliance training examples

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.

Industry compliance

The first training form 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.

Internal compliance

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:

Running 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 lacks substance and value in the workplace. The second reason many compliance programs fail is when they are framed as a formality. 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.

  1. Gaining organisation-wide buy-in
  2. Measuring effectiveness
  3. Evaluating breaches of compliance.

Gaining buy-in

There are a few perception issues around compliance.

When it comes 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. There’ll be strategic business plans, like capability frameworks, that could be impacted or decimated by non-compliance. 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 just won’t be done the way you need it to. 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.

Measuring impact

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. Just 34% of organisations report that their compliance efforts are actually effective. Ergo, you need to look deeper at the business impacts of compliance training.

Part of the perception issue is ensuring that training effort 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:

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.

Benefits of an LMS in compliance programs

If you’re not already using a learning management system (LMS), there are many ways in which an eLearning solution can assist with managing the processes of your company’s compliance needs.

Managing sensitive compliance training

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. 

Centralising training and reporting

An LMS can house, deliver and analyse training. That gives you overview of content-specific data like:

This enables you to identify employees who are struggling in real time and provide them with interventions at the moment of need.

Automation of processes

An online learning solution gives you an organisation-wide view of certification, as well as the ability to quickly update legal and regulatory frameworks applicable at a company-wide level. The burden of sourcing content isn’t on HR’s shoulders either; many LMSs integrate with content aggregators who pull industry-certified courses into your system.

Key takeaways

Compliance training acts in the same way brakes function in a car; the stronger your safety controls, the more risks you can take. The less 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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