We all recognise that compliance is a vital component of a successful business. But equally we’re aware that employees often regard compliance training as boring and irrelevant – something they’d rather avoid. This creates a vicious circle: the more irrelevant training seems, the more ineffective the training is, and that increases the need for more training.
In the face of ambivalence and negativity from learners, the challenge is to make compliance training memorable and engaging, so that it sticks and actively enhances performance.
It also needs to be cost-effective. We need training that minimises the cost to organisations of lost performance (when employees are taken away from work) and yet provides the maximum benefit and impact leading to enhanced and compliant performance.
E-learning in the form compliance training catalogues can provide a solution to this problem and there are plenty of providers out there. But how do you distinguish between them and what do you need to consider before you choose a training catalogue for your organisation?
1. Does it meet everyone’s needs
Compliance training has to address a variety of needs for a range of audiences. The organisation must actively implement compliance across the board to avoid litigation and potential financial penalties and loss of reputation. Employees and employers want the training to be as painless and non-disruptive as possible by ensuring compliance is relevant and effective. Also, there’s regulatory oversight which is putting pressure on the organisation to demonstrate that it’s doing enough to comply with requirements.
So, any training catalogue needs to be assessed from these differing points of view. It’s not sufficient to count boxes ticked, you need to ensure that the training enables actual compliance.
This may seem blindingly obvious, but you should always check that the training content meets your needs. Does the training catalogue cover all the areas of compliance across your organisation? Is it relevant to your business sector and your employees?
One potential advantage of buying in pre-formed training in an e-learning catalogue is that it’s been tried and tested. Testimonials can act as kind of a peer review. Does the material meet industry standards? Is it approved by compliance experts? If you have training that follows best practice it will save you needing to perform quality assurance.
Equally, though, an off-the-shelf training suite may not be completely suitable. It may not be sufficiently specific or relevant to address your organisation’s compliance needs.
3. Is it relevant?
This is a crucial consideration, because it goes to the heart of the failings of much compliance training: that it isn’t obviously useful for the work employees do. Does the training reflect or simulate the environment in which people work? Is it obviously applicable to their job roles? Is it targeted at what employees do, rather that at some notional learning objective?
A key feature of modern ICT is that enables learning to be a personalised experience. Modern learners are used to identifying what they need: making use of a range of online facilities like search engines, wikis, YouTube. To be relevant and effective, e-learning needs to adopt a similar, learner-centred approach. If employees perceive the training to be personally relevant and useful for their day-to-day work, they’re more likely to pay attention to it.
Most of the training catalogues on the market are off-the-shelf and generic. These have the advantage of providing industry-standard, peer-approved content. But they may be too generic for your organisation.
What you need in a training catalogue is the flexibility to tailor the content and the learning experience to your requirements. Being able to customise and adapt e-learning easily provides you with the means to improve the training’s relevance and make it applicable to the organisation or areas within the organisation. Increased relevance gives the e-learning greater impact.
That flexibility also extends to localisation. Many organisations have a global operation so being able to localise the training in different languages means the whole organisation has the same training experience.
But localisation isn’t just about translating content into a different language, it’s also about recognising local or regional differences. Customising your training content allows you to address these differences.
5. Does the training engage learners?
Compliance training has the reputation of being uninspiring and ultimately ineffective. The main reason is that it frequently fails to engage the learner. Learners know it’s usually a matter of ticking a few boxes or jumping to the final test and then they’re done. Going through the motions, while possibly discharging your legal requirements in the most limited sense, isn’t enough and is only going to result in the need for more training.
But if you can make training relevant and memorable you reduce the need for further training and improve employee performance.
So, when reviewing compliance training catalogues, look for ones that employ strategies that actively engage learners. For example, consider the use of games (gamification) that involve learners in a challenge and reward achievement. Look for story-based learning that uses scenarios that put the learner in the picture by situating compliance in a real-life context that learners recognise from their own working lives.
Training often involves taking learners away from their work. This represents a loss of productivity to the organisation. But it needn’t be that way. With mobile connectivity we have potential access to information and knowledge anytime, anywhere. Make sure your compliance training is available across platforms and devices.
Delivering training in small chunks rather than in large, time-consuming courses makes it easier to digest. Ensure training and the key information it delivers are accessible on mobile devices. If you bring training into the workflow (via a chatbot, for example) it can be used to support actual performance on the job when it’s most needed. Embedding training in the workflow helps with retention because knowledge is contextualised. It also allows employees to pull information as they need it, rather than the traditional method of pushing (too-much) information at them at discrete intervals when they’re removed from their work.
7. Can you track training?
Customisation is a useful feature of any training catalogue and allows an organisation to keep its training up to date. But when do you make those changes and on what evidence?
Many training catalogues come bundled with a Learning Management System or can be adapted to fit your existing LMS. This gives you the ability to track you learners’ engagement with training. A more sophisticated delivery of training via an AI-powered chatbot or the use of xAPI will give you more data on learner interactions and allow you to analyse where the gaps are that you need to fill.
8. Is it cost-effective?
Clearly you don’t have an unlimited budget. One prime reason for choosing a pre-developed e-learning training catalogue for compliance is to save the cost of developing your own training programme.
But you need to factor in other costs too. Will you receive continuing technical support as part of licensing a training catalogue? Do you need to hire in expertise to customise the content or can it be edited by your own L&D or HR resources?
Using e-learning as a mode of delivering compliance training should make it accessible to a large number of users. This obviates the need to provide costly training sessions for different sections in a large organisation. Also, the flexibility to customise training modules can extend to re-configuring, repurposing and reusing the content in various environments and across devices.
The training you deploy needs to be tied to concrete outcomes, so that you can measure relevance, increases in compliance, and better productivity. One way of ensuring that is to tie training to accreditation.
So, in selecting, your compliance training catalogue, check not only that it’s approved by reputable industry bodies or regulatory authorities, but also that it can be used to achieve accreditation for individual employees and the entire organisation. Also, the content and learning outcomes should be clearly mapped to recognised and approved standards and qualifications.
Does the training catalogue check all the boxes?
Pre-developed e-learning training catalogues can go a long way to meeting compliance training needs. But they’re not all the same. Using the considerations outlined as a basic checklist you can ensure that the training you’re choosing is suitable for your organisation.
Remember the most effective training engages the learner and is relevant to the learner’s job role and tasks. Training that supports employees in the workflow can turn compliance training from being something to avoid and a burden on productivity into a real opportunity to enhance performance and make working compliantly best practice.
About the author
Paul Healy has worked in the learning industry since 2003 in sales, learning consultancy, and programme management. He specialises in assisting companies with change management and innovation agendas.