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Compliance Training: The Key to Mitigating Risk in Today’s Business World

Data protection, health and safety, and harassment aren’t necessarily riveting training topics. But they’re a critical part of any learning and development (L&D) program. 

Compliance training is more than just a proactive approach to managing business risk. It creates a safe, inclusive working environment that helps employees love their jobs—impacting employee retention and, ultimately, your bottom line.  

Learn more about what compliance training is and types of training programs and techniques to make your learning content more engaging and effective. 

What is compliance training?

Compliance training is the process of educating employees on laws, regulations, and company policies. 

For example, a company might give compliance training on health and safety to keep all team members safe in the workplace. 

“As soon as we onboard a new employee, they undergo training for their specific job and part of that training is compliance training.”


—Ben Richardson, founder and director of Acuity Training

Key objectives of compliance training

The benefits of compliance training programs far outweigh the time L&D managers spend creating them. 

Let’s explore four of the biggest reasons why. 

Safe work environment

Practical compliance training helps keep people safe in your workplace. 

Health and safety is the most obvious example, but HR compliance—which educates team members on how your company operates—ensures everyone sticks to the same code of conduct. This creates a supportive company culture where people feel safe. 

Reduce legal action

Risk management is a crucial component of compliance training; it ensures your business meets its legal responsibility to keep employees safe and treated fairly. 

Compliance training can protect your business from external threats like cyberattacks or personal data leaks. 

When employees are trained to recognize and prevent cyberattacks, your business is less exposed to these risks. 

Improved productivity

Context switching is a psychological phenomenon that happens when employees switch between multiple tasks within a short period of time. It’s scientifically proven to reduce productivity.

Compliance training helps reduce the strain of context switching by giving employees the information they need—before they need it. 

If your customer support representative needs to ask their manager how to handle an awkward situation, for example, your ethics compliance training should have already covered it. There’s no need for your rep to wait for feedback and leave the customer in the lurch. 

Managed business reputation

Data leaks, harassment claims, and workplace accidents can damage a business’s reputation. 

When employees complete corporate compliance training, these risks can be prevented. You’ve done everything you can to keep your employees (and customers) safe.

What types of compliance training are available?

Here are some common examples of compliance training.

HR compliance training

HR compliance training educates your team about company-specific policies and regulations. It’s a vital part of the employee onboarding process

Once new hires have completed your HR training, they will have information about:

  • Annual and parental leave 
  • Reporting sickness 
  • Wages and benefits 
  • Making a complaint

A proactive approach to HR compliance training covers legal gray areas for your business. If a new hire tries to take a month of annual leave, for example, your HR compliance training program should have already communicated that employees must provide three weeks notice for periods of extended leave.

Health and safety training

All businesses have a legal obligation to keep their employees safe at work. Health and safety training is a proactive approach to fulfilling this obligation. It protects employees from harm and gives them clear direction on what to do if something goes wrong. 

Workplace safety training often covers:

  • Risk assessments to identify potential injuries
  • First aid training
  • Electrical and fire safety 
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Slips, trips, and falls 

Health and safety laws differ between industries. Each government also has its own regulations to keep workers safe. 

United States businesses, for example, must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. British businesses must comply with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Work Act; Canadian businesses must comply with the Canada Labour Code Part II.

Data protection and cybersecurity training

Cybersecurity is the biggest risk to modern businesses, beating supply chain disruption, climate change, and a shortage of skilled team members. 

Criminals target businesses because of the sheer amount of data they hold. Whether it’s your customers’ email addresses or payment information, you must keep your data secure—and comply with laws (like GDPR) that protect consumers’ personal data.

As part of your compliance training program, educate your team on how they can keep information safe. Statista reports the main compliance topics covered in this type of training include email-based phishing, malware, and Wi-Fi security. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have a team of cybersecurity experts to train your team. Platforms like the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp offer pre-built content like cybersecurity awareness courses that train employees to detect, prevent, and take action against cybersecurity issues threatening your business.

4. Ethics training

Ethics training protects your company by educating employees about your organization’s values when a situation arises in which they need to use their own judgment. 

“Some employees don’t just consider the people they work with as colleagues; they’re also viewed as friends,” says Tracy Rawlinson, freelance HR writer and former manager. “That’s where a conflict of loyalty can happen.”

Tracy adds: “Ethics training gives employees the knowledge and confidence to raise concerns about favoritism and unethical practices—such as relationships that benefit their personal connection, rather than their employer.”

Let’s put that into practice and say you’re a website publisher. As part of your ethics training program, you explain that links on your website cannot be bought or influenced. So, when someone emails your journalist with a bribe to link to their own site, they know it’s prohibited and what to do instead. 

Similarly, your ethics training might cover handling a conflict of interest. Using the same example, even though a pitch is helpful to your readers, you might train journalists not to publish it because the article discusses gambling—a topic that goes against your company’s values. 

5. Diversity and inclusion training

Every company should strive to have a diverse and inclusive workforce. Companies with a diverse workforce make 2.5x more revenue per employee on average, and employees who feel included within their organizations are 3x more likely to feel committed to their organization’s mission.

Essential types of inclusion and diversity training include:

  • Anti-racism training
  • Anti-sexism training
  • Sexual orientation and gender understanding

Conduct regular diversity and inclusion audits to ensure your organization benefits from its compliance training. This can involve feedback from people across all demographics and a gender/race pay gap analysis.

5. Anti-harassment training

Harassment causes an unhealthy working environment that can damage employees’ mental health and expose your business to lawsuits. Training on these topics can also retain the 34 percent of employees who said they’ve previously left a job because of unresolved harassment issues. 

Read more: How to Prioritize Employees’ Mental Health

Anti-harassment training keeps your employees safe and educates them on how to report harassment. 

It should cover: 

  • Professional conduct 
  • Types of harassment (including sexual harassment training)
  • How to to recognize workplace violence
  • Who to report harassment to 
  • The repercussions of workplace harassment

Performance management training

Performance reviews help employees get better at their jobs. They’re also the perfect opportunity for team members to vocalize any concerns or goals at work. 

Include performance management training as part of your compliance initiatives. If you’re training sales managers, for example, don’t limit their training materials to sales-only topics. Help them become better managers by training them to host employee performance reviews that support their team to:

Read more: Why Are Performance Reviews Important + 4 Ways They Benefit Your Organization

Regulatory and HIPAA compliance training

Every business has a unique set of regulations they must comply with. 

In the case of healthcare organizations, that includes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)—an act that protects patient’s private medical information.

HIPAA compliance training should cover:

  • An overview of your Patients’ Rights and legal obligations to protect their data 
  • The type of data that is protected
  • How to protect sensitive patient data 
  • How to report a data protection breach

How to make compliance training more effective

Compliance training isn’t a new topic for many organizations. However, Gallup found that just 23 percent of employees who participated in compliance training within the past 12 months would rate their training as “excellent.”

Here’s how to make your compliance training program more effective, keep your employees engaged—and, more importantly, protect your business. 

Identify industry regulation requirements

Compliance training isn’t just a tick-box exercise. In many cases, your company is legally required to train employees on health, safety, and data protection. 

The only way to ensure your compliance training is achieving its goal is to know any relevant laws you must meet. As Acuity Training’s Ben Richardson says: “Our compliance training includes industry-specific procedures and processes that need to be adhered to.” 

Check your government website to identify the federal laws your business must comply with. If there’s a governing body that covers your industry (such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the investments sector), they will have more information on the rules and regulations you must follow. 

Use reputable compliance training software

When delivering compliance training, you need to practice what you preach—especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Demonstrate to employees that you have good cybersecurity practices by uploading your training materials to a reputable compliance training software

The Learning Cloud is an all-in-one learning management system (LMS) that you can use to develop and centralize your compliance training content. 

The Learning Cloud offers additional features like:

  • 35 integrations for every eLearning use case
  • Access to over 85,000 prebuilt courses—including compliance training topics
  • Structured learning pathways to onboard new hires
  • SOC2, Type 2 Certified, 256 bit AES encryption, and GDPR compliance 
  • Certificates and badges to reward people who have completed their annual compliance training 

Keep it simple and avoid information overload

As much as you might like to think your training programs are jam-packed with information, not all employees are willing to concentrate for hours on end.

Help employees stay engaged by using microlearning to create bite-sized training content and make training content easy to understand. 

That might mean:

  • Breaking large topics down into smaller modules
  • Planning 15-minute breaks in virtual training to help employees decompress
  • Showing core concepts in a visual format, such as an infographic 

Use engaging training material with real-life examples

Did you know that just 11 percent of employees strongly agree that their coworkers apply what they learned in compliance training to their work every day? 

Instead of giving compliance training and leaving teams to their own devices, use real-life examples to illustrate how they can implement their learnings in their day-to-day role. 

Role-playing is a fantastic way to do this. Have your employees model common scenarios in which compliance training would come into play, or choose an LMS that lets you create simulations so team members can experiment without repercussions.

Read more: Make eLearning Engaging in 7 Steps 

Incorporate different training methods

Different people prefer to learn in different ways. Make your compliance training programs more accessible—and improve the learning experience—by incorporating multiple training methods in your L&D initiatives. 

This is where diversified employee training software comes into play.

The Learning Cloud, for example, allows you to use a variety of training formats, including:

  • Interactive content, such as quizzes and polls
  • Text, such as blog posts, transcriptions, and video subtitles 
  • Sound and audio, such as videos or podcasts

Whether your team prefers video, audio, or kinesthetic learning methods, you’ll cover all bases by repurposing learning content to create different training formats. 

Track employee progress

It’s impossible to know if your compliance training programs meet their objectives without monitoring learner engagement. 

Check your LMS analytics dashboard to track employees’ progress toward your business goals. 

That might include: 

  • Course completion rates, which show how engaging your content was
  • Assessment grades to track knowledge retention 
  • Learning path progress, which shows how people with different job functions progress through their assigned training courses 

Deliver the best compliance training program for your employees

Regulatory compliance training is essential for most businesses, but it doesn’t have to be boring.

Use these strategies and best practices to deliver outstanding compliance training programs to your team. From health and safety training to data protection compliance, manage it all with the best LMS for compliance training.

Empower your team to stay up to date with compliance training with the Learning Cloud. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo. 

Complete the form for a custom demo.

Elise Dopson

WorkRamp Contributor

Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS companies. She’s also the co-founder of Peak Freelance and mom to an adorable Spaniel pup.

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