Zara is a busy HR rep who has been asked by her boss to do a much-needed overall on the company's compliance training. Now, in addition to her day-to-day activities, she's reviewing current content on topics like workplace safety, anti-harassment, and cybersecurity. She's overwhelmed with how to present this training to employees.
Zara has to make sure the company is compliant, but she knows what it is like to sit through mindless training just to check a box that she took it. She wants to make sure the employees understand the topics while keeping them interested. She needs training that people will find useful and engaging.
Is this an impossible task? No! Read on to find out more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Compliance Training
What is compliance training?
Put simply, compliance training is any employee training mandated by legislation, regulation, or policy.
Let’s be honest, when it comes to the wide range of courses you can share with employees—for example, exciting new developments in your industry, tools that make their jobs easier, and the like—compliance training may be a bit less engaging. This training commonly covers topics such as:
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Data protection and privacy
- Business ethics
- Workplace safety training
The topics covered are dictated by the industry you’re in. If you’re in marketing, your compliance training could include the various laws and regulations surrounding digital advertisements. If your company requires workers to use forklifts around the factory every day, your training needs to be focused on safe use of the machine. You get the gist.
Compliance training is generally focused on a business need. It’s important that employees complete the training from start to finish, within set deadlines (i.e., annually, quarterly, etc.), and in a way that you can easily record. This helps your organization show compliance with the law, regulation, etc.
What is the purpose of compliance training?
Compliance training about OSHA standards helps prevent employees from getting hurt at the office (and you, getting sued as a result). HIPAA compliance standards prevent medical professionals from getting sued due to revealing confidential medical information.
Beyond just “not getting sued,” compliance training prepares your employees for any situation that could put their—or another person’s—safety, well-being, or job at risk. Compliance training:
- Lessens the legal liability for your organization. We’ve already mentioned that in some cases, non-compliance can result in costly lawsuits. This means effective compliance training can prevent tens to hundreds of thousands (or we dare say it, millions) of dollars in fees due to legal trouble.
- Builds trust in your organization. All press is good press, right? Wrong. No one wants to be front-page news for non-compliance, and no one wants to do work with that organization either.
- Improves overall workplace culture. For example, compliance training relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles ensures no employee feels hostility in your workplace due to race, gender, or another factor. When all employees feel part of the team, it lessens conflict across the board.
Unfortunately, the importance of compliance training isn't enough to make your employees pay attention to it. That’s why, when choosing compliance training for your team, you need to ditch the generic, pre-built courses.
Why should you rethink generic, pre-built compliance courses?
Some companies choose to purchase ready-made compliance training courses created by an e-learning content development company specializing in compliance alone. TMany of these companies offer a wide range of compliance courses, so you’re likely to find one that fits the broad topic your employees need to learn, purchase it easily, and start using it right away to train employees.
I’d like to offer a “buyer beware” warning though. There are also a few downsides to purchasing a ready-made compliance course and calling it a day. For example, the content may be:
- Dull or not engaging. We’ve established that rules and regulations aren’t exactly interesting for the employees who need to follow them. However, it’s so much worse when those rules and regulations are shared via click-through PowerPoint slides and a droning voiceover. Some may even include basic video elements, but at the end of the day, few ready-made courses take your employees from a static viewer to an actual participant.
- Outdated. The laws and regulations dictating compliance regularly change. If the course provider isn’t regularly updating the courses to reflect these changes, you could be investing in a course that leads your employees down the wrong path.
- Not relatable for your employees. Let’s think back to HIPAA. While the standards around what information can be released and what information must be protected are the same, we’d guess the application for medical providers in emergency rooms, pediatric offices, and dermatology offices differ. If a pediatric professional is presented with compliance training told through the lens of an emergency room audience, there’s going to be a disconnect between the training and application.
If you choose off-the-shelf courses, do your due diligence. Make sure they’re applicable, current, and relatable for your employees.
On the other hand, with the help of an e-learning content development company (like Artisan E-Learning!), you can custom-develop a course that’s interesting for your employees and meets your organization's compliance requirements.
A custom e-learning development project can be a significant undertaking for your organization, from the initial start-up, through reviewing storyboards, through the project’s final review. One of our past clients said calling in reinforcements—as in, involving multiple team members—was one of the key recommendations they’d suggest for a successful project.
So, why should you invest in a custom course when you could simply buy one off the shelf and begin using it tomorrow? The following five benefits make a good argument.
Interactive compliance training can be more engaging than generic courses.
You have little control over the design or content included in courses you purchase. On the other hand, custom-developed compliance courses can be created in a way that directly engages your learners.
So, for example, you can add a spark to your courses with elements like:
- Sliders and dials. For example, if compliance legislation has changed over time, you can use a slider-empowered timeline to show that evolution instead of a static image.
- Labeling and sorting. This is great to test the application of compliance laws, such as having the employee “label” the various parts of a compliance-related form.
- Audio review. You could have learners listen to a conversation in the workplace, presenting two scenarios—one that is compliant and one that is far from it. Then, have them identify the compliant scenario and discuss why.
It’s important to remember that interactivity isn’t the goal here—true engagement is. So, simply creating a module where learners click through the slides isn't going to cut it. You’ll want to prioritize engagement and challenge the learner to think, respond, and play an active role in their learning.
Custom compliance training can be personalized to meet the learner’s needs.
The last thing you want is for an employee to complete a compliance course and receive a check next to their name in your internal tracking system but have little understanding of the course material itself. Another benefit of custom compliance courses is that they can be structured to provide a more personalized experience for each individual learner.
For example, you can include:
- Branching scenarios. Imagine your course as the branches of a tree—each wider branch narrows down into several smaller branches, with each smaller branch representing a specific subset of the overall topic. With branching scenarios, your employees can explore an overall compliance topic before narrowing in on the specifics that are of most value to their role, sort of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.
- Supplementary microcourses. Microlearning courses are laser-focused on one specific topic—such as this password security course. You can include a short educational section about one main topic (like password security) and then build in two or three levels of practice to ensure that specific topic is driven home.
Beyond when the employee initially takes the course, these tips empower them to revisit elements as needed in the future. Rather than completing the entire course over again in a month—something few would actually opt for doing—they can retake a microcourse or click through to the specific “branch” that aligns with the topic where they need a refresh.
You can control the knowledge checks included in custom compliance courses to ensure retention.
When you think of knowledge checks, you probably think of multiple-choice quizzes at the end of modules and a final exam. Maybe a specific percentage comes to mind, as in the number of questions that need to be answered correctly for an employee to have completed the compliance course.
Typically, off-the-shelf courses will handle knowledge checks in this way. This isn’t the worst approach, as it does give you data about how well your employees understand the topics. But beyond that, it provides little to no value for the learner themselves—after all, when was the last time you learned something from a multiple choice quiz?
When you work with an e-learning content development partner to create custom compliance courses, you can build quizzes and knowledge checks that have value for your records and learners. For example:
- A blank form for learners to label, noting what each element should include to be compliant.
- A conversation in which learners listen to one speaker and then type out a compliant response.
- A drag-and-drop activity in which learners “fix” non-compliant safety violations in their workplace by removing dangers.
In each of these scenarios, you’ll want to test the learner’s understanding and then provide reasoning behind why they were or weren’t correct. For example, if the learner removed a pile of papers that were set on top of a space heater from the example room, you’d include a pop-up explaining why they made the right decision.
With this type of knowledge check, you’re not just gaining data about your team’s understanding—you’re reinforcing their knowledge (and, creating a more interesting course while you’re at it).
Custom compliance training can be tailored to your organization’s unique culture.
Many compliance topics aren’t necessarily unique across organizations. Let’s take the example of OSHA compliance. General safety regulations around emergency planning and setting exit routes are going to be fairly similar across industries. If there’s a fire, you want to exit the area, regardless of what that area looks like.
But, if you show a bunch of construction employees a course about navigating to emergency exits in an office building, it’s not exactly going to be helpful. While the general rules around compliance may not change, the application can be drastically different depending on your industry and unique circumstances.
With a custom compliance course, you can account for your organization's unique culture. This could mean:
- The scenarios through which employees might encounter compliance questions. For example, exiting a burning building versus walking away from a fire on a construction site.
- Your organization's hierarchy, such as to whom to report compliance violations.
The goal is to make it as easy as possible for employees to remain compliant. A course that reflects that employee’s experience in day-to-day life accomplishes this.
Custom compliance courses can be adjusted over time.
Overarching laws and regulations govern many compliance topics. This means that on a dime, the rules your employees need to follow can be changed. When that happens, do you want to buy an entirely new course? Ideally, no.
With custom courses, you can simply make adjustments as regulations evolve. At Artisan E-Learning, we deliver all source files alongside the course itself—so, while you can work with our team to update your course as needed, you can also tackle the project yourself or work with another partner.
How to Incorporate Custom Compliance Training in Your Organization
To begin using custom compliance training for your organization, you’ll first want to choose an e-learning content development partner.
If you choose to work with our team at Artisan E-Learning, you'll then undergo a six-step, collaborative process:
- Project start-up. We’ll review your current content, speak with stakeholders, and make initial design decisions alongside your team.
- Design and develop a course prototype. This prototype will show you a few slides in action to see the design of the course before the full content is created.
- Write and review storyboards. Using our instructional design expertise, we’ll create a slide-by-slide blueprint of the course. High-level design, course flow, and wording of the content will be approved before the full course is made.
- Develop and review the course. We bring your course to life, and your team can review it and provide feedback.
- Conduct quality assurance. Our team of course testers reviews the course for technical functionality, accuracy, consistency, and browser compatibility.
- Publish and deliver course files. We deliver the full course as well as source files, which allow you to make updates going forward as you please.
Through this process, we’ll ensure your employees walk away from the course able to do their jobs better—remaining compliant with whatever rule or regulation that’s being targeted.
To learn more about working with Artisan to create your compliance training content, contact us today. In the meantime, explore the following additional resources:
- Microlearning: A Comprehensive Guide & Tips for Your Courses. We mentioned microlearning courses as an excellent supplement for your compliance training. Explore these courses in-depth in this guide.
- Healthcare E-Learning: Best Practices and Ideas for 2020. Compliance is a huge topic in the healthcare field. Explore healthcare e-learning further in this comprehensive article.
- E-Learning Content Development Companies & Strategy Partners. Are you seeking a partner to create your custom compliance courses? Look no further than this list of top partners.