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Let’s face it, no one wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves “It’s going to be an awesome day, its Compliance Training Day!” Compliance training is mandatory, boring (for the most part), and generally the same information you saw the last time you took that same training. Regulatory information presented in a dry, formal way that is designed to make sure you are doing your job the correct way. 

On some occasions, we get a regulatory curveball, and something will have been updated or amended, but that does not always come across as “exciting” in the training. It’s usually just thrown in as an afterthought or correction on a dusty PowerPoint slide deck that was created a few years back and is still serving its purpose. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? 

Well, “Ain’t broke” doesn’t always equal “works well.” 

While the world was in lockdown, the eLearning, virtual training, and corporate training world, in general, made some serious strides in the direction of a better training experience. And that includes Compliance Training. We are no longer stuck with just our trusty PowerPoint presentations and a workbook to fill in the blanks. We have the entire internet and all its wonders at our disposal to bring these trainings to life and really make that regulatory information memorable. Let’s take a closer look at what compliance training is and how you can implement it. We should also discuss how important it is to have a user-friendly LMS to deliver that training on. 

What is Compliance Training?

Compliance training ensures employees are educated on on applicable laws, regulations, and company policies that apply to their day-to-day job responsibilities. So basically, how to do your job without breaking the rules – how to stay in compliance while you do your job and the laws and regulations that govern those compliances.

These trainings can also help to keep a safe and accident-free work environment for everyone on staff. From safe handling of hazardous materials to a non-hostile workplace, these trainings are meant to keep everyone in compliance. More often that not, these trainings are a requirement and recording employee completion is the desired outcome for HR and Legal teams. 

Most companies will require their employees to pass all their compliance training sometime within their probationary period and then update those compliance certifications annually. This lets the employers know that everyone on staff understands what is expected from them and is an easy way to update employees on any changes. 

Annual compliance training is often a missed opportunity to see what your employees’ strengths and weaknesses are, as well as where their interests fall. If someone passes a compliance test on the first try and didn’t have to go back and review anything, then this is a topic they are familiar and comfortable with. Showing that your company is successfully getting this regulatory message across. While on the other hand, if a large group of employees had to retake a particular training several times just to pass it, you might want to think about how you are presenting that information and why it’s not sticking.

Types of Compliance Training

Compliance requirements are going to be vastly different depending on what industry you are in, the location of your company and the job duties of the employee who is taking the training. A Bank Teller, for example, is going to have different compliance requirements and training needs than say a Medical Professional.  That Bank Teller is going to have compliance requirements that must satisfy The Federal Reserve while a Medical Professional is going to have to meet HIPPA requirements. Here is a list of a few types of compliance trainings

  • Anti-Harassment Training
  • Data Privacy training (ie GDPR, COPPA, GLBA)
  • Workplace Safety (OSHA)
  • Workplace Violence
  • Workplace Substance Abuse
  • Information Security Training (HIPPA)
  • HR Law
  • Diversity & Inclusion Training

I got my start in the training world building out compliance trainings for Berkshire, an Affirmative Action Compliance Solutions company based out of Columbia, MD that specialize in helping organizations build their ideal, balanced workforce through compliant affirmative action solutions, specialized training, and pay equity expertise.

When I got there, the entire training program for clients was 3 public classes and 3 outdated eLearning courses that were pretty much that standard, dusty, trusty PowerPoint slide deck with a quiz and certificate of completion at the end.

The LMS they were using was so hard to update and even harder for clients to navigate that training was all but nonexistent on their website. The material in the training hadn’t been updated in a few years because it was a pain to have to go in do and it was easier to just leave it and make notations of updates in a document attached to the completion email. We will come back and talk more about the revival of this outdated system in a bit, for now, let’s get back to the course material and presentation itself. 

How to create effective compliance training plan for employees 

It’s no secret that compliance training topics are a little on the dry side. You are forced to require grown adults to sit through a training on something that they are doing daily and prove that they can pass a certification test at the end.

So let’s put the FUN back to Fundamentals!

Why not make this something that your employees might actually enjoy? Rules and regulations do not have to be boring! And if the information is presented in a way that makes someone laugh or is relatable, those adults who were zoning out before, may come to enjoy Compliance Training Day.

With the world being virtual now, or a hybrid of virtual and in person (virtual learning has proven its worth over the last year and is here to stay) you now have the ability to bring so much more to your compliance training table than ever before.

Here are a few tips to create compliance training that will stick, and won’t make your students fall asleep:

Make it engaging

Bring that workbook of regulatory information to life in a fun, informative and MEMORABLE video with a character that will engage and follow your learner from training to training. Let those compliance requirements really sink in with an interactive reaction-based activity right inside of your lesson.

Related: Thinkific integrates with ThingLink to bring interactive visual experiences into your online learning system.

Incorporate scenarios

Let your employees see how their own choices may affect someone else, from the comfort and safety of their own computer.

Personalize your materials with real scenarios and stories that create empathy and meaning.

For example, to share the importance of data protection, you can run through a scenario of an excited first time home buyer applying for a mortgage, only to find out a criminal opened several credit cards in their name, and ruined their credit score.

This happens more than you’d expect, and stories like this drive the message home more effectively to add meaning.

Mix it up

Mix your traditional reading sections with some self-paced activities and then bring it all home with a live group session (in person or via your preferred platform, like Zoom or Teams).

Here are a few good reads on how you can mix it up:

  • Blended Learning – an approach to learning that integrates online education materials and place-based classroom methods. For example, preliminary knowledge done on their own time and using classroom time to discuss and apply learnings.
  • Synchronous vs Asynchronous learning – designing a training mix that incorporates self paced and live instruction.
  • Cohort Learning – In this model, students go through the same syllabus as a group and graduate at the same time — together. It emphasizes collaboration and teamwork rather than individual content consumption.

Break your employees out into small work groups (or cohorts) and let them discuss their answers and interact with each other. When it comes time to split up and take that Compliance Certification Test, they will have a much better understanding of the topic as well as a better grasp on how that topic is used at their own office and how it directly affects others in their organization. This takes that traditional PowerPoint based training to a whole new level and employees might look forward to learning new things or brushing up on required skills.

Use guest speakers

Think about bringing in a guest speaker for your training topics, without having to factor in travel and lodging. This means that you can spice up the training even more with a speaker who can expand on the topic and keep your users engaged. Having the ability to include someone from across the world (or across the street) brings a whole new level of credibility to your trainings and is a great way to advertise and build excitement. Maybe this someone is a subject matter expert on your topic or this could even be someone who went through a situation where a compliance regulation was not followed and can be used as an example of why Compliance Training is so important. 

Incorporate gamification and motiviational learning design

One of my favorite ways to pitch a company compliance training program is to set it up as a badge program or gamification. Even though we are all adults, our basic need for recognition and reward is still the same as it was when we were kids. We like earning prizes that we can show off our accomplishments with and a badge program does just that. You can encourage and reward your team for completing their compliance trainings and even run competitions on who can collect the most badges the fastest. 

Related: Integrating Thinkific with Motrain is one of the easiest ways to incporporate gamification in your elearning platform. 

How do I implement all these great compliance training ideas into my own program?

That is a great question and the best answer I can give you is to make sure you have a great LMS to host your courses on. Having a system that is easy for you to build great courses and easy for your employees or clients to use to take those courses is key to your success. Remember back when I was telling you how I got my start in compliance training with a company that had an out of date, hard to use LMS? We shopped around for a bit but once we found Thinkific – we were hooked.

Thinkific gave them the opportunity to completely rebrand their training department, update information easily to keep current with the ever-changing rules and regulations in the Affirmative Action world and allowed them to build some great, interactive e-learning courses for their compliance training. We were even able to take a public, in person course that ran 4 times a year and was floundering for paid enrollments and turn it into a monthly virtual course that now maxes out its registration every session with PAID enrollments. They have created a successful program and are able to better service their customers and help to keep them in compliance. They are also able to repurpose a lot of the information they already have and create additional trainings for their employees and clients. A lot of those older PowerPoint presentations have come out of retirement, gotten an informational overhaul to make sure they are accurate and up to date and revived into an interactive live course or an interactive eLearning. Berkshire now can package and sell these courses to clients in ways that were not available to them before.  

So, the moral of this story is that you can create fun and interactive compliance trainings that don’t remind people of the 80’s and implement them in a way that your employees might actually enjoy.

Your training and HR department will love you for it! 

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