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Compliance Training 101

Picture this: you’re at the office, sitting at your computer and working your way through the tasks of the day, when you suddenly receive a notification for an email from HR. The subject line? Mandatory compliance training for all personnel. Let’s think about your immediate reaction here. Is it annoyance? How about dread? Is the thought of taking another compliance course alone already boring you out of your skull?

We believe that compliance training represents a balance between legal regulations and company culture.

You’re not alone. Most of your colleagues see compliance training as a necessary evil, with over 60% of surveyed employees reporting disliking it or finding it difficult to focus on. Many workers feel that compliance isn’t relevant to the work they do or that it takes too much time away from their busy schedules.

However, compliance training is still an essential part of corporate success, even in sectors where it isn’t mandated and legally required. The “necessary” part isn’t going away; what we can change is the “evil.” Before we dive into how we can do that, let’s first define what we mean when we talk about compliance training.

How do we define compliance training?

What is compliance training? When the business world says “compliance training,” what they generally mean is a program that highlights the organization’s policies, procedures, and ethics in an effort to prevent and detect problems that may result in a violation of laws or regulations. It also sets employee expectations for behavior and helps ensure that work operations run smoothly and appropriately.

At AllenComm, we like to take the definition a step further. We believe that compliance training represents a balance between legal regulations and company culture. In fact, when done right, compliance and culture should complement each other, helping employees understand how and why company policies and procedures apply to them personally.

Compliance training doesn’t have to be as dry and mind-numbing as its reputation says it should be. By finding the empathy in compliance, you’re helping your employees understand what role they play in developing a healthy and productive work environment. Effective compliance training should sell the learner on why they should engage with the material they’re learning—for their own sake and for the sake of the company.

However, this isn’t always easy. And some corporate management teams may not deem engaging compliance training worthy of their investment dollars. Some companies in sectors that don’t need to comply with government mandated regulations may forgo compliance training altogether. But there are several reasons why rethinking compliance can be well worth the effort and investment. Let’s take a look at those now.

Why is effective compliance training necessary?

First and foremost, cutting corners on compliance training or skipping it entirely is risky. Potential lawsuits, fines, and scandals can have a direct, negative impact on your bottom line. Workers that don’t understand laws, regulations, or the company’s code of ethics can’t uphold those standards to the best of their ability. And poor workplace culture, for instance, one which does not properly stress the gravity of sexual harassment, leads to dissatisfaction and turnover.

Compliance training defines your company’s best version of itself.

The truth is, the world we’re in is one that values transparency more than ever. That’s a good thing, but it also means that more emphasis must be put on defining company ethics and following through with them. It’s vital that employees feel involved with company values in order for that message to be passed on to customers.

Perhaps most importantly, good regulatory training builds trust. Not only does management need to trust the company’s employees to comply with rules and regulations, employees need to trust that the company truly has their best interests in mind. Your customers also need to be able to trust that your business will be responsible and ethical, both to them and to your employees.

Compliance training defines your company’s best version of itself. It sets a standard that reminds employees what they should be striving for and, in turn, establishes the benchmarks for a healthy company culture.

With so much at stake, compliance training is definitely worth the investment, or at least a second look at your current strategy’s effectiveness. In fact, poorly-executed compliance programs can actually hurt more than they help! The next blog in this series will examine why compliance training can fail and what you can do to avoid it.

How does your company approach compliance training?

If you’re looking to build or update a compliance training course for your company, reach out to us and find out how we can help.