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How to Make Compliance Training Effective & Human-Centric

Claudia Domenici Avatar


Cybersecurity breaches, data privacy neglect, discrimination, and violation of regulations – there are lots of incidents that can happen due to employee misconduct. Effective and human-centric compliance training helps you mitigate risk and improve business outcomes.

Employee misconduct can make your business underperform or damage your reputation and finances. This puts employee compliance training in the spotlight as an effective way to increase awareness, mitigate risk and avoid costs. But with a proactive approach, it can also help you improve business outcomes and increase your company’s competitiveness.

At the same time, increasingly, compliance professionals focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and mental wellbeing as part of bolstering workplace health, safety, and culture.

In this post I will explain why compliance training can support a proactive risk management approach and how L&D and other practitioners can implement effective technology-based compliance training with a human-centric approach.

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What is compliance training?

Compliance training is something most employees know, so you probably experienced it at work at some point, or you even get compliance training on a regular basis. Surely some employees think that compliance courses are tiresome and steal away time that they could otherwise use to do their job, while others find compliance training important and instructive.

Either way, let’s be clear on what we are talking about.

ipad showing it security and safety compliance training

Compliance training is the education that organizations provide to their employees to become knowledgeable about relevant laws and regulations, industry policies and procedures, and the organization’s internal processes and guidelines.

Corporate compliance covers many topics. Some are relevant for all organizations while others apply only to businesses in a specific industry. As a manager, compliance officer, or HR professional, it’s important to know what compliance training is mandatory, what is relevant in your organization, and what to prioritize among the many topics.

This has a lot to do with the risks your company is facing as part of doing business, but also what you can achieve. I will share an interesting thought about this in the next section, but first, here is a list of common compliance topics that your employees might need to train.

Have a look at the list and try to point out the compliance education areas that need to be prioritized or urgent to implement:

Compliance topics employers need to train their employees in

  • Legal and regulatory
  • Cybersecurity and IT
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Transparency and anti-corruption
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Occupational safety, health and wellbeing
  • Environmental, social and governmental (ESG)
  • Sexual harassment
  • Anti-discrimination and diversity
  • Tax
  • Trade
  • Anti-money laundering

You are probably noticing that most topics, if not all, appear to be relevant. In addition, you could add other subjects that are relevant depending on your organization’s specific industry and focus areas.

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Why compliance training is important

Cybersecurity breaches, data privacy neglect, discrimination, and violation of a law – these are just some of the things that can easily go wrong in an organization. Misconduct in relation to internal procedures or code of conduct means that your business will underperform and deliver poor service. Missteps in relation to regulatory obligations can harm customers, employees, and business partners. It can also hurt you financially through fines and damage your organization’s reputation.

In addition, the trend is that standards are under pressure. For example, the Ethics & Compliance Initiative reports that 30% of U.S. employees experienced pressure to compromise their organization’s workplace ethics standards in 2020.

The reality is that all businesses face risks as a natural part of what they do, which is why any organization would want to minimize risks as much as possible. Compliance training is a key instrument in reducing the risks that are an inherent aspect of doing business. When employees know what regulation, procedures, and guidelines to follow and how, it becomes easier for them to navigate through these requirements and contribute to reducing the risk through their work and behavior.

Training is a fundamental activity for organizations to demonstrate statutory compliance and conformity with guidelines. Compliance training online, as classroom training or as blended learning is essential to mitigating the risk of non-compliance.

But when employees are training compliance related topics, they not only reduce risk, but they also impact business outcomes in a positive way. Some of the ways are reducing work-related accidents, improving the organization’s cybersecurity defense, building a safe and healthy work environment, and contributing to a sustainable business practice that benefits the environment and climate.

This means that employee compliance training helps your organization reduce risk and achieve benefits through improved awareness and conduct.

Adding this proactive approach to your risk management, having a compliance training program, and making sure to introduce automation can keep you out of trouble and give you a better competitive position.

Introducing new or updating your existing online compliance training can make the impact even greater. I will come back to why that is in a minute. First, let’s quickly look at who is responsible for compliance and compliance training.

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Who is responsible for compliance training?

Clearly the employer has the main responsibility. Authorities are explicit about the employers’ obligations. These are two of the key responsibilities of employers pointed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States:

“Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements. Employers must provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.”

Here is a similar statement from the Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom:

“Employers must give you information about the risks in your workplace and how you are protected, also instruct and train you on how to deal with the risks.”

But what training must employers provide to employees? Obviously, the authorities focus on the regulatory compliance, but in addition, your industry and your organization’s internal policies and procedures require corporate compliance in a lot of areas as we have already seen in the topics list.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) answers the question in a useful way by putting the requirements into the context of the individual organization:

“In all cases, employers should assess their own training obligations with guidance from legal counsel. What employment-related training is required versus what is precautionary may not always be clear but if employers approach the analysis by asking, ‘What training should we provide to create a fair, safe and respectful environment for all employees?’ it will help frame the answer.”

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Many larger organizations will have a Compliance Manager as a dedicated function who is responsible for identifying and mitigating risk through compliance. Other typical titles could be the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), the Privacy, Risk and Compliance Officer, or the VP Compliance.

While the Compliance Manager or a similar title is responsible for the strategy and business outcomes related to compliance, others are typically responsible for providing the training. But it’s a very good idea to keep the compliance training requirements and execution closely connected with the business. A good training program and compliance learning solutions are essential tools for practitioners to build capacity in the organization.

Trainers, managers, and L&D are usually responsible for the workplace training. They use their Learning Management System (LMS) to create a great learning experience and make the training effective. By using an e-learning compliance training tool, it becomes easy to deliver and follow up. I will explain how you can make an effective compliance training program with compliance elearning in a moment.

What are the benefits of compliance training

Compliance failures that impact an organization’s reputation or business can influence the overall health of the organization. Whether it’s cybersecurity, safety or other fields of your operation, compliance costs can be notable. But the benefits of employee compliance training reach beyond numbers and cost and affect more than one business aspect.

The most significant benefits your organization can achieve through compliance training are:

  • Maintaining a respectful workplace where employees thrive
  • Avoiding legal liability for the organization due to violations made by employees
  • Establishing a protection in the event of employee misconduct
  • Strengthen the operation to create competitive advantage

But to accomplish these business benefits your organization’s training needs to be effective. Let’s zoom in on how that’s done.

What makes an effective compliance training program?

Depending on your industry and maturity usually there is already some compliance training content and procedures in place in your organization. Unless of course you are a start-up or an SME with limited resources. In any case, not all organizations have a smooth process and effective delivery of training to alleviate risk and promote positive business outcomes.

Here are some easy but essential steps you can take to create an effective compliance training program. Remember to keep it simple to create impact and speed of implementation.

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Step 1: Outline a simple Strategy

Identify the key risks and compliance challenges your organization can solve via training. Be precise and add the positive business outcomes that compliance training will help you achieve through a proactive approach.

Avoid high-flying vision statements that are unrealistic to accomplish, but articulate concrete policies, tactics, and actions that are immediately helpful in building and maintaining a viable online compliance training practice.

Define how, for example, ethical and DEI compliance training will support and contribute to developing the culture and impact social norms and day-to-day practices in your organization.

Give timeline, budget, and stakeholders a serious thought and make the necessary arrangement to pave the way for upgrading or implementing successful compliance training.

Step 2: Create a clear Training overview

Create an overview of your internal code of conduct and guidelines and the general and industry-related regulation that applies to your organization.

Map the overview with the existing training across the organization and in individual departments.

List the compliance areas and specific courses that are missing, and which existing ones that need updating.

Step 3: Adjust your Processes

Outline your current processes for compliance training. In many cases, you don’t have to reinvent your entire process but it’s important that your compliance training processes are technology enabled, secure, safe, and future proof.

Review and reassess what type of compliance training is assigned to which teams, how often and by whom in the organization to keep your practice current. Make sure that your process and future solution support the employee journey from pre- and onboarding through continuous learning to offboarding.

Map out which roles and teams need which compliance training and certifications in the future, and at what frequency. This will come handy when you automate your processes

Step 4: Update Roles and responsibility

Survey who creates training internally and who can source which types of compliance e-learning courses.

Who is responsible for keeping the organization up to date with new compliance requirements and training needed, and who approves the training content and defines completion policies?

Identify valuable information sources, assign responsibility, and set up a process to receive feedback and transform ongoing requirements into new compliance training.

Step 5: Source and create quality content

The learners’ user experience is pivotal for compliance training to be successful. Review the quality of your training content and make sure it is based on learner-centric instructional design.

Internal code of conduct e-learning of high quality can easily be created and maintained by in-house subject matter experts through an up-to-date e-learning authoring tool that requires no technical skills. Identify which compliance training areas to cover through in-house creation.

Professional e-learning content providers are the right choice for more complex training that applies to all or most organizations such as cybersecurity, data privacy, ethics, and diversity, equity & inclusion in order to secure the right quality. Source the training needed by your organization to support compliance and pick the provider with the content with the approach and style that matches your learning culture.

Adult, Male, Man

Step 6: Choose the right solution

The alpha and omega of compliance training means having the solution that is right for your organization today and in the future. Based on what you have uncovered through the previous steps, make a list of your top priorities for a virtual compliance training solution. Be careful not to waste your time by creating a long and detailed specification of all your requirements since most of them will be covered by best-in-class LMS solutions anyway.

Book a demo with a top compliance training software provider to see how the solution can solve your requirements. The online solution presentation will most likely exceed your expectations and inspire you based on best practice in other leading organizations which will add speed to your process.

When you have made your decision, scope out the implementation and what content and support you will be needing with your new partner. eloomi customers typically launch their new solution within 4 to 12 weeks.

How you can improve workforce compliance training

You might already have a compliance training solution, or you are not sure if you need to improve your current training plan by replacing your current tool.

However, you still need to make sure you are fully equipped for overcoming compliance challenges. Since compliance training e-learning is essential to creating engaging and effective learning, it’s worthwhile giving your existing setup a service check.

This checklist can help you take stock of your current situation. Give your compliance training practice a score on each of the parameters to identify what areas to improve first!

What you need to perform compliance training online

Compliance training through e-learning comes in many shapes and forms. The ease and speed of technology adaption today means that you can easily acquire a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution with advanced yet simple-to-use features and launch it within weeks.

Here are some of the qualities you should expect from a new compliance training software solution:

Micro-learning: Deliver bite-size training to keep employees engaged and help them retain, recall, and repeat learning.

Mobile: Give learners access to compliance training when it suits them and from any device.

Gamification: Incentivize the compliance training experience through gamification with trophies, points, and certificates.

Blended learning: Support a learning experience consisting of a combination of online training and onsite training.

Schedules and renewals: Provide refresher training and keep your learners up to date with all essential training with notifications, deadlines, and renewals to keep them on track.

Content co-creation: Let subject matter experts in your organization co-create compliance training modules on topics that are based on their expertise.

Curated content: Launch curated and learner-centric compliance training content from the world’s top providers.

Interactive learning: Provide dynamic learning content in SCORM format that lets users interact with learning components.

Learning paths: Combine online compliance training courses with other skills training to create a seamless employee learning experience.

Reports: View real-time data and share reports about learners’ completion of compliance training at all levels in the organization to respond to compliance KPIs.

People development: Connect compliance and skills training with 360 feedback, goals and coaching, and performance reviews.

Branding & personalization: Customize platform branding, wording, trophies, certificates, mail templates and languages to match your company.

API & SSO: Connect to your existing HR solutions to exchange data through API and Webhooks, and get users started faster through Single-Sign-On.

Support & onboarding: Access Solution Experts through in-platform chats, onboarding webinars & resources.

How to provide the right compliance training content

There are two ways you can get the content you need for your employees to train compliance: Acquire content from an e-learning provider or create the content in-house. It’s obvious that there are pros and cons related to both.

Buying training content involves a cost and it might not fulfil your requirements for learning completely and mirror your company culture. But ready-made training content is created by topical or industry experts, so you know that the training you provide to your colleagues is correct, comprehensive, and sufficient. This could be for example, online healthcare compliance training. On the other hand, although creating your own content will take up resources, it also allows you to tailor the compliance learning to your organization’s exact needs.

As you might have been thinking already, the key to choosing between the two alternatives is hidden in what type of content is in question.

My experience is, and this is the case for most if not all eloomi customers, that pre-made compliance training content is the preferred choice for compliance topics that are generic to all organizations in a single industry or all organizations across industries, such as regulatory compliance.

As to topics that are closely related to your individual organization, such as code of conduct or your internal IT security practices, creating your own training is the better choice. 

man working in front of screen in an open office space

When you think about it, it is logical because others will have a hard time creating training content that relates to internal aspects of your organization. Unless you assign the task to an external consultant, but then it’s still specific to your organization.

Pre-made learning content created by specialist providers in topics such as cybersecurity, data privacy, and diversity, equity and inclusion, works well for several reasons:

  • The training content is created by industry leaders and experts in a given subject area which means that the training can be trusted to be flawless and up to date. This provides a good foundation to mitigating the risk of noncompliance and keeping high standards in your organization.
  • The learning techniques used are recognized learner-centric methods and makes use of up-to-date LMS capabilities such as micro-learning and user engagement and interaction.
  • While standard learning modules come at a price the cost is much lower compared to the resources your organization would otherwise need to apply to create the same training.
  • The production and user experience are of high quality and the impact of the learning has been tested thoroughly.
  • For each topic you will usually have different e-learning vendors to choose from, each with their own approach and style that can match your learning requirements and culture.
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Great compliance training content played in an up-to-date LMS creates an effective learning experience. eloomi is partnering with the world’s best providers of pre-made learning content which means you can provide relevant and high-quality compliance training to your organization in easy steps.

For some compliance training topics, however, creating the content yourself makes more sense. Training material for internal policies, processes, and code of conduct are examples of training that needs to be created by your internal subject matter experts. But employees require quality e-learning to avoid learner fatigue and enjoy engaging training experiences, even when you create it in-house. This means that the end product and training experience for the individual needs to be of a high standard in terms of applied learning techniques and appearance.

L&D and internal subject matter experts need easy access to creating effective e-learning. Engaging e-learning modules can easily be created in eloomi’s e-learning authoring tool. Without the need for special skills authors can use building blocks, templates, and contemporary stock photos and video to create interactive and appealing e-learning modules with their organization’s branding and tone of voice while storing it in a repository for easy access and use.

Pre-made compliance e-learning from expert providers and virtual compliance training created by your own in-house experts alike have pros and cons. But it’s not one or the other. Creating the right mix for your organization will form the perfect training content for your program.

As you have seen by now, you can support a proactive risk management approach and help practitioners implement effective technology-based compliance training with a human-centric approach. Want to see if eloomi could support you? Get in touch to get started with your reimagined compliance training practice!

Claudia Domenici Avatar
Content & Partner Marketing Manager

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