6 practical components of compliance training and continuous improvement

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Compliance as a culture requires a continuous process that must be monitored and maintained once it has been implemented. It’s beneficial for organisations, in the long run, to integrate compliance training and continuous improvement, rather than simply add to numbers of employees every year who ‘complete;’ the rules and policies.

Knowing the policies and principles is essential for employees so that they may apply the knowledge in their daily work, in turn embodying the cultural change.

An effective compliance framework, therefore, needs to tackle compliance in three ways.

  1. Compliance training and interventions that create awareness and share knowledge of compliant behaviour. This is a first step. It is, however, the step most organisations are still struggling to implement!
  2. Compliance training and interventions that let employees demonstrate the acquired knowledge and behaviours. This is the second step and a step which can be difficult for organisations without a digital learning platform to monitor activities.
  3. Compliance training and interventions that serve as reminders or ‘nudges’ to help sustain complaint behaviour. This is the third step. It’s the movement of compliance out of HR or the Compliance team and into the broader organisation.

Let’s consider six practical steps to improve your approach to compliance training and continuous improvement. In particular, let’s look at a way to to automate this process of compliance training and continue improvement, to make the delivery of your online compliance training as regular as possible. 

Step 1 – Add due dates to all online compliance training

It seems obvious, but its often forgotten or overlooked – all compliance training should have due dates.

  • Tribal Habits supports both relative and absolute due dates. Relative due dates are set as a number of days from enrolment, while an absolute due date is set as specific date regardless of the enrolment time. Generally we recommend setting relative due dates which can then be ‘set and forget’ for all future enrolments. You may choose to use absolute due dates for specific modules which require timely completion or perhaps on an initial compliance roll-out where you want everyone to be complete by a specific date.
  • Each compliance module and policy article should have an individual due date. For compliance topics, we typically recommend 7-14 days. For policy articles, we typically recommend 2-5 days.
  • Each compliance pathway (which is a collection of modules and policies, such as a ‘New Employee Compliance Pathway) should also have a due date. This is the date for all the modules and policies in the pathway to be completed. It should be the sum of all the due date periods for each module plus an extra 1-2 weeks. So if you had five compliance training modules, each with 7 day due dates, we would recommend the pathway due date be set at, say, 42 days (5 modules x 7 days + 7 extra days).

Step 2 – Enable enrolment notification

Next up for compliance training and continuous improvement: All compliance modules and pathways should have an ‘enrolment’ notifications enabled. Don’t use self-serve enrolments options, like catalogues, for compliance training. Managers or administrators (or automation) should be enrolling users.

Generally, we recommend only selecting the employee for enrolment notifications (leave their manager off the enrolment notification to reduce spam).

Step 3 – Enable reminder notification

In step three, all compliance modules and pathways should have reminder notifications enabled. It is surprising how many organisations don’t enable training reminders.

Remember that employees only receive reminder notifications if they have not completed a pathway or module! Ideally, once an employee receives the enrolment notification and due date, they should take action and complete the training within a reasonable timeframe. So reminder notifications only kick-in when that reasonable timeframe has expired.

  • For modules, we recommend using ‘3 days before’ and ‘one week overdue’ notifications (both standard notifications within Tribal Habits).
  • For modules, we recommend adding managers to the ‘one week overdue’ notifications to escalate the situation.
  • For pathways, we recommend additional notifications for before the due date. Depending on the length of the pathway, we recommend 2 or 3 notifications. For example, 4 weeks before, 2 weeks before and 3 days before. Then also the ‘one week overdue’, again with the manager added to this notification.

Step 4 – Enable completion notification

All compliance modules and pathways should have completion emails enabled. Receiving this email reduces employee anxiety that they have ‘finished’ the training.

More importantly, it promotes compliance outside the online learning platform. It helps normalise compliance notifications in an employee’s email.

  • For modules within a pathway, we recommend only subscribing the employee to the completion email.
  • For modules outside a pathway (such as modules for specific roles), you may choose to add the employee’s manager to the completion notification as well.
  • For pathways, we recommend subscribing both the employee and their manager for the pathway completion email.

Step 5 – Enable re-certificate periods and enrolments

Compliance training should never be ‘do once and you are done’. Compliance training and continuous improvement apply to the learner, as well as the organisation.

Let’s face it – regulations, legislations, processes, values and community standards are constantly evolving. What was compliant behaviour two years ago, may not longer be compliance behaviour now.

In addition, learners forget! Some compliance training contains many rules and exceptions. Even if a learner can demonstrate competency now, they may well forget – or simply get confused – after a period.

In Tribal Habits, you should apply a certification period to all compliance training.

  • Approximately six months for high risk or critical issues.
  • Approximately twelve months for most safety or regulatory issues.
  • Approximately two years for all other compliance issues.

Tribal Habits can then automatically re-enrol employees when their certification period is due to expire, asking them to complete the latest version of the training and update their knowledge. This process can be ‘set and forget’ for managers and administrators: set a certification period, enrol your employee and let the platform do the work.

Step 6 – Review compliance training data for trends or problems

A key final step in the compliance training and continuous improvement process is to review data. Most organisations never stop to look at compliance training data beyond completion rates! What a missed opportunity this is!

To be fair, most learning management systems do not help – they provide no data beyond completion data. In an online compliance training platform like Tribal Habits, you can receive the answer to every quiz, poll and question from every learner. This is a wealth of valuable data for organisations to use in compliance training and continuous improvement.

  • Are employees constantly getting the same quiz incorrect? Is the quiz confusing or is the content inadequate?
  • Are employees constantly selecting the same answers in polls? Does this indicate a trend the organisation should examine or provide more information on?
  • Are employees constantly failing the same scenarios? Does this suggest additional training or communications might be required?

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our ‘Online Compliance Training – The Ultimate Guide’!


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