The best compliance training changes employees’ behavior. Is yours dry and forgettable, or is it dynamic and impactful? ComplianceLine’s Giovanni Gallo discusses what your training should cover and why engaging delivery is a must.
It’s the same at every job: An employee’s first day (or even week) is dedicated not to doing the work they were hired to do, but to learning how to do the work. Even if they have experience in the field, the new employee needs to be trained on the specific policies and procedures in place at the company.
While this type of training, known as “compliance training,” may seem tedious, it’s critically important for every new employee. There are unique laws and regulations in every industry (and every organization has their own rules). Employers who expect to have a safe and comfortable working environment must take time to explain these policies to their new hires. More than explaining, they increasingly need to ensure the lessons are retained and affect employee behavior.
What exactly should be covered and reviewed in compliance training? Let’s discuss the most important topics you should share with your employees.
What is the Purpose of Compliance Training?
Compliance training is a mandatory training course workers must complete to continue their employment with a company. Typically, compliance training reviews specific company policies employees must follow during their time with the organization, though it can also cover industrywide standards or laws.
Compliance training serves two purposes:
- It helps new employees understand the employer’s rules and expectations and, specifically, acceptable behavior to ensure their physical and mental safety and that of their co-workers.
- It is an opportunity for employers to review all laws, regulations and safety protocols, thereby minimizing their risk of legal action.
These benefits should be enough to guarantee that compliance training is always part of your risk management system. But compliance training is only effective if it is as interesting, memorable and relevant as it is thorough. Therefore, it is important to include all the necessary topics in your training program and do what you can to make it worth the employees’ attention.
Compliance Topics to Cover in Training
Your compliance training should be designed to create a safe workplace for every one of your employees. Make sure you use this opportunity to discuss all the topics related to workplace and worker safety, including the following:
Conflicts of Interest
Many people have heard the term “conflict of interest” on TV or in the movies, but they may have an incomplete understanding of what that term means. As a result, employees may not always recognize when they experience a conflict of interest in their own work, which can mean big trouble for both the employee and the company.
It is important to fully explain what a conflict of interest is for your employees during compliance training. Explain the legal definition in the clearest terms possible and provide some real-world examples (bonus points when the examples are directly relevant to the setting and challenges of your industry and employees!) to provide further clarity. It’s also wise to discuss the potential harm a conflict of interest can have on both the employee and the company. A clear discussion on this topic during training is one of the best ways to avoid legal penalties, settlements and fines.
Issue Reporting Procedures
Finally, one of the most important elements of compliance training is the topic of issue reporting. Your employees need to know that your company listens to them; this will make them feel valued within the organization. It is, therefore, vital to review the company procedure for reporting issues of violence, harassment, bullying and other issues.
Explain to your employees the best ways to report problems to HR. Make sure they receive the contact information for your HR managers during the training module. If your company uses a reporting hotline or a third-party reporting form, compliance training is the best time to introduce it to your employees. By taking the time to explain this process, you will instill a sense of trust between you and your employees.
Most compliance training programs include some information about anti-harassment. They may define harassment in all its forms and then state that the company does not tolerate this kind of behavior. While this is a great starting point, it is woefully incomplete training for the modern workplace.
Today’s anti-harassment training needs to be thorough. It should both define harassment and explain the appropriate strategies for responding to this kind of behavior. Employers should train their employees on how to intervene if they notice harassment in the workplace, as well as how to report it (and to whom).
Additionally, employees should know the company’s policy for addressing harassment so they can hold those above them accountable after an incident. Building trust between employees and management includes demonstrating that values are lived out and that policies apply equally to everyone.
Workplace Safety and Violence
The National Crime Victimization Survey reports that Americans suffer from 2 million assaults and threats of violence in the workplace each year. As an employer, you should want your workers to feel safe and secure at your office, which is why it’s critical to give them the information and tools they need to combat workplace violence.
Your compliance training should include information on all forms of workplace safety. This includes safety protocols (e.g., the evacuation plan in the event of a fire, earthquake or other disaster), how to spot the signs of workplace violence and company policies for handling violent scenarios.
As mentioned earlier, every company has their own unique policies and procedures for handling their day-to-day activities. Even if an individual has years of experience in a particular industry, he or she may not understand the specific methods used in your organization. Compliance training is the perfect time to explain these company policies.
Make sure to spell out the company’s stance on bullying, drug and alcohol use and any other important points that fall under your employee code of conduct. Fully explain the obligations of both the employee and employer so that everyone understands how they’re expected to behave and the behavior they can expect in return. Reviewing your code of conduct and building a training that highlights the key items for employees ensures all your hard work isn’t wasted five minutes after an employee signs off on the training.
Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever before, with people of different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, religions and more all working together. This diversity is a great opportunity for innovation and outside-the-box thinking, but only if everyone understands the strengths of their unique team.
Diversity training should focus on the benefits of a diverse workforce. Spend time teaching your employees to listen to one another. Make sure they understand the value in having several different viewpoints working together. This will lead to a working environment that not only makes everyone feel safe, but also likely results in some incredible work from your employees.
Achieving Success with Compliance Training
Discussing the topics above is a great way to ensure your compliance training is thorough and informational … but how do you make sure it sticks with your trainees? Here are a few tips for keeping your training engaging and entertaining:
- Use real-world scenarios and everyday language (no legalese) to help employees understand.
- Keep the training engaging with a variety of learning tools: videos, quizzes, role-playing exercises, etc.
- Use the results of your compliance training to improve areas of your business.
- Use third-party tools to ensure the most up-to-date compliance training.