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Complete Guide
Online Compliance Training


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Why do you need online compliance training?

In small and medium-sized organisations, leaders and managers struggle to understand legislation and regulations. They often do not transfer regulations into standard operating practices which meet compliance requirements.

Then there’s a growing disconnect between a leader or manager’s confidence and ability to manage regulatory compliance, compared to the reality of keeping up with ever-evolving requirements.

In highly regulated industries like resources, financial services or healthcare, larger organisations can hire a dedicated compliance team to ensure compliance requirements are met. They can use sophisticated governance software which helps them assess and mitigate risk. Chances are, that’s not your organisation.

Is your feeling of compliance just an illusion?

Consider these two statistics.

Why do most organisations struggle with compliance training?

The truth is that most organisations do not make the necessary effort in compliance. They may make some efforts in some areas at some times, but they are exposed on a range of issues on a regular basis. Consider these statistics from a range of compliance surveys, which show how widespread the problem is – and then ask how compliance-ready your organisation really is?

What are statistics for compliance training with employees?

The situation isn’t any better with employees. There is ample data available to show that employees struggle day to day with compliance, regulatory standards and changing legislation.

As you can see, the risks of poor compliance management are real, prevalent and expensive.

As a result, organisations are increasingly turning to online compliance training as a solution. Distributed workforces, combined with the rise of mobility and virtual working, have made online learning an attractive alternative to costly face-to-face sessions.

In addition to cost reductions, online learning provides course consistency – employees receive the same knowledge, the same way, to the same standard in every location. For compliance training, this consistency is critical. Finally, an online system can also track who has taken which courses toward certifications and provides a built-in audit trail.

63% of organisations believe that their policy management program helps reduce the legal cost and resolution time of regulatory issues and fines.

What are the benefits of online compliance training?

Implementing online compliance training results in a range of benefits for your organisation, beyond simply being compliant.

If you need to build the business case for online compliance training in your organisation, check out this article which examines the benefits of compliance training in additional detail.

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Need an online compliance training platform for your organisation?

Tribal Habits makes online training easy to create, engaging to learn and simple to manage. It also has a built-in library of lawyer-approved Australian compliance training modules, ready to go in your own branding. Plus you can quickly edit and customise content to add your own policies. Compliance training, policies, tracking and more!

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Why move compliance training online?

The ideal solution for compliance combines online compliance training with detailed employee tracking, so that compliance certification can be linked directly to employee performance. With online compliance training you should be able to measure easily…

An online compliance training platform can also match course enrolments with user demographics. This helps reduce the risk of non-compliance by monitoring training levels and maintaining accurate records as evidence of compliance.

With an online training platform, you can send alerts for both initial completion as well as when credentials require renewal. As a result, an online compliance platform can help each employee understand exactly which course they need to take to complete to meet their compliance requirements.

Online compliance training doesn’t need to be boring, difficult to track, out-of-date or a pain-in-the-neck to administer. By moving your compliance training online, you and your organisation can reap a range of easy rewards – and most likely at a much lower cost too.

If you are continuing to build the business case for online compliance training in your organisation, check out this great article which examines the key reasons to move compliance training online.

What’s a process to set-up a compliance training program?

So, your organisation wants to create a ‘proper’ online compliance training program. As the person responsible for making this happen, how are you feeling now? A little overwhelmed? That wouldn’t be surprising and, often, organisations have paralysis about compliance training programs. It all seems like too much hard work.

In many ways, this is a change management process. Like most change management processes, the fears and worries of that change are typically exaggerated. Within just a few weeks, employees and the organisation have moved on and it is all ‘business as usual’.

At least, it can be. With the right platform and the right planning, the roll-out of a new compliance training program can be easy, rapid and effective. Let’s break down the roll-out into a four-step process to make things easier.

Step One – Start with compliance fundamentals

Quick wins. That’s what we want at the start. It helps prove the concept to all stakeholders before undertaking the next steps. Let’s start with ready-made compliance training. Ideally, that training should be…

You could start by just having employees complete a module or two, but given the very low workload in this step already, we would recommend going a little further. Ideally, create 4-5 ‘Pathways’ of related topics. These Pathways can become the cornerstone of your on-going work too, as you build into and around each Pathway.

Step Two – Add your compliance policies

At this point, with your compliance fundamentals humming along, you can turn your attention towards your organisation’s compliance policies.

Assuming you have developed your policies, your next step is to fold them into the training process. Each policy needs to be presented to employees in a way which improves their understanding and demonstrates your organisation took appropriate steps to inform and educate employees.

With just a few 30 minutes sessions, you can add your policies into each Pathway. Suddenly you have a perfect combination of compliance training and policy acceptance.

Step Three – Expand for specific roles

Your final step in the process is to take the ‘training + policy’ approach and expand it to cover all roles and key issues in your organisation. For example…

You may find that many of these issues continue to be covered by ready-made training modules and can be combined with your internal policies. With a platform like Tribal Habits, you can then discreetly target enrolments in these modules based on teams, locations, roles, titles or any other demographics.

Step Four – Build your custom compliance training

As your experience and results with compliance training grow, you may even take the final step – creating custom compliance training. For many organisations, this is not necessary. Most organisations find that the combination of ready-made training and customised policy training is enough.

The key is small steps, each building on the previous step, to avoid overwhelming yourself, your employees and your organisation.

You can learn more about this step by step process for a compliance training program in this article.

Everything you need to make compliance training a success in your organisation

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How can you combine compliance training and compliance policies?

What does ‘being compliant’ mean for an organisation? Does it mean merely having ‘compliance policies’? Perhaps we need to rephrase the question, to determine a better answer and see why we need to combine compliance training and compliance policies.

Why does an organisation worry about ‘being compliant’? Let’s consider the variety of reasons we undertake compliance projects, which include:

These are the outcomes – the tangible benefits – which come from compliance activities. So let’s revisit our earlier solution. Does having a ‘compliance policy’ achieve these outcomes? Probably not.

An organisation may not be able to solely rely on a ‘compliance policy’, such as a Code of Conduct, Acceptable Internet Usage or Privacy Policy, as the only means of defence when a compliance issue arises. It is very likely that organisations will need to demonstrate a higher duty of care around compliance issues than merely providing a policy. In fact, in some regulatory areas, there are specific requirements which extend far beyond policy provision.

So let’s consider a three-phase framework to combine compliance training and compliance policies.

  1. Use compliance training to build engagement.
  2. Present compliance policies correct.
  3. Combine compliance training and compliance policies together. 

An important milestone for most organisations is the combination of compliance training and compliance policies. This can be very easily achieved – with the right platform. Check out this more detailed article which presents a practical demonstration of combining compliance training and compliance policies with an organisation’s Code of Conduct. 

What’s a good compliance training framework?

One of the key challenges in compliance training is organising your training and interventions into a consistent framework which makes sense to you, your organisation and your staff.

A consistent compliance training framework should allow you to start establishing compliance as a culture, rather than a ‘tick the box’ activity. It promotes compliance as an on-going exercise which requires a sustained focus. Managers come to appreciate that compliance covers a suite of critical topics and helps managers position the time spent on compliance with staff.

There are several compliance frameworks available on the internet, but many are complex and designed for organisations with significant resources to devote to the management and implementation of compliance.

For most organisations, ‘less is more’! This means a simple and easy to understand compliance training framework, which doesn’t require tremendous explanation or management, can be far more powerful. On that note, here’s a three-pillar compliance training framework which would suit almost any organisation.

Pillar 1: Values

This pillar is about what your organisation does. What does it stand for, its principles, its mission and its goals. All of these values need to be clearly defined and known to all staff. Given that this knowledge exists at an organisational level, guiding principles in the form of the organisation’s core values and its code of conduct can be the basis for compliance in practice.

Pillar 2: Policies

Whether it’s government-imposed regulations or legal/regulatory requirements, every organisation would benefit from having their own internal compliance measures in place in the form of internal policies and procedures. This can also incorporate unique internal policies around, say, data storage, service level agreements or similar Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Pillar 3: Behaviours

Compliance programs, if designed and implemented from the standpoint of a “change in culture” or “change in behaviour” are directly beneficial to the employees of the organisation, as well as the leadership and management teams that help design and implement it. How employees behave and deal with their colleagues and customers directly impact themselves as well as the organisation. Behaviour-centric policies are, therefore, an inevitable component of compliance programs.

If you would like to explore this online compliance training framework further, this article goes into additional detail including a downloadable checklist.

Using Tribal Habits for online compliance training.

How do you make online compliance training a continuous process?

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 develop a culture of compliance rather than add to numbers of employees every year who simply ‘know’ 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.

This article demonstrates six practical components of compliance training and continuous improvement.

How do you implement an online compliance training platform?

Implementing online compliance training can seem a little overwhelming. The key is to implement in stages, not all at once. There will be many lessons learnt when implementing online training – lessons which allow for updates and improvements as each stage in the implementation process is completed.

  1. Set up your new online training platform. 2 minutes. Your first step in the process is to set up your new online training platform. For modern online training platforms, this should be a relatively simple matter. The platform is hosted in the cloud, so no deployment or installation is required. No downloads should be required either.
  2. Import ready-made compliance training. 5 minutes. This training can be imported from the compliance library in your online training platform (ensuring it is approved by Australian lawyers). It most online training platform, this process should take just a few minutes. Be sure the imported training appears in your organisation’s branding.
  3. Prepare a simple custom online training module. 10 minutes. For the initial roll-out of your online training platform, it can be useful to include one relatively simple customised online training module. This is a chance for you to test out the online training creation tools in your platform. 
  4. Create some online compliance training pathways. 3 minutes. The next step is to organise your imported and custom online training into some training pathways. Pathways group together modules into a single experience. Pathways make enrolments much easier since you only need to manage enrolments into a single pathway rather than many modules.
  5. Set up automated administration functions. 5 minutes. Now you are ready to make your administration easier. Your online learning platform should contain a number of features which can automate the ongoing management of your employees in their online training – due dates, notifications, reminders, certification dates.
  6. Set up custom user-profiles and prepare data. 10 minutes. We are almost ready to upload and enrol your employees. Before we do that, go into your online training platform and set up the data you want to record for each employee. You should be able to add things like location, role, team or any other useful demographic information.
  7. Upload and enrol your employees. 2 minutes. You can now upload your employee spreadsheet AND enrol employees into their compliance training pathways at the same time. That should trigger your automated notifications and due dates. At this stage, your initial implementation is complete.

Check out this article which runs through the process to implement online compliance training in additional detail, with links to a series of video demonstrations of each step in the process.

WATCH: From zero to compliant in 45 minutes? See exactly how a new organisation sets up online compliance training for 175 employees with ease.

Why does compliance training fail?

Despite the huge amounts of money, time and energy spent on the problem and the solution, there is still a tendency for compliance training to fail more often than many other forms of training. This failure can occur for both the organisation and the employee too, for both are making investments in the process.

Compliance training fails due to intention

All training begins with the ‘why’. Why is the training occurring? Why is it required? Why can’t another form of activity or intervention achieve the desired result – why was training selected as the appropriate activity? If there is a failure at this level of intention then the training intervention is probably doomed from the start! 

Low engagement is a massive problem for compliance training. Think about the desired outcome – to safeguard the organisation and employees from non-compliance. When engagement is low in the very activity designed to create safety, how much safety is being established anyway? Not much. Compliance training is often ‘in one ear and out the other’.

Compliance training fails due to implementation

A second failure often occurs during the execution of compliance training. In this case, organisations rush to enrol staff into compliance training modules. There’s little customisation, little explanation, no continuous program and no real care about outcomes. This is the ‘minimal level of effort’ approach to compliance training. Throw together some external content and throw it at some employees.

Both of these failures can be fixed by addressing the organisation’s cultural attitude towards compliance. Does that require a little more time and effort? Yes, but not much. And it gets actual results – and indeed it may even lead to cost savings. 

If you want to learn more check out this detailed article about how to identify these two common reasons why compliance training fails, as well as steps which can be taken to improve the culture around compliance training.

How do you quickly create online compliance training?

Online compliance training helps organisations capture and share critical regulatory information, internal processes and behavioural standards more effectively than any other form of compliance training. Better yet, you can quickly create online compliance training to rapidly respond to new developments – or to simply create your compliance training with fewer resources and less budget.

There are some strategies you can follow to help you quickly create online compliance training too.

  1. Have a regular compliance training review schedule. One of the best ways to avoid tight deadlines is to be ahead of the game. You should agree your compliance learning objectives in advance, so you can quickly start creating online compliance training with those goals in mind. You should also have a scheduled review process, both for individual modules but also of the compliance landscape as a whole. Preparation helps avoid being caught out.
  2. Use a rapid online compliance authoring platform. If you need to move fast, you need a tool which can move quickly with you. Most eLearning authoring tools are too complex and slow – they are built for professionals with time to spare. You need a tool which can work quickly – built-in building blocks and templates, stock image library and image editor, version control and automated publishing and more.
  3. Tap into ready-made compliance training. Ideally, your online compliance training platform has ready-made modules you can use. These modules should appear in your branding and be editable. You can then just import the module, make a few edits and its ready to go.
  4. Regular assessment of employees. In addition to scheduled reviews of your modules and compliance regulations, you should conduct more regular reviews of your employee’s compliance knowledge. This helps you get ahead by identifying knowledge gaps.

If you are managing your compliance training and want to review these strategies to quickly create online compliance training in more detail, check out this article.