Compliance Training

After reading this guide, you will better understand the importance of compliance training, and how to improve it within your organization.


What is compliance training?

Compliance training is a crucial type of training needed to inform employees of the organization’s regulations, policies, or adherence to laws.

The term compliance refers to the notion of accepting and agreeing and is used to describe the training because of its mandatory nature.

Compliance training is often mandatory for employees because it serves to protect an organization’s values, policies, and commitment to the law.

Disregarding the required rules, regulations, or policies within an organization can have drastic consequences, including loss of employment, fines, criminal prosecution, audits, or damage to the business’s reputation.

Having employees meet a standard of compliance training ensures that an organization has secured legal accountability.

Employees will often need to complete compliance training by certain deadlines in order for the organization and its employees to be in compliance.

Examples of compliance training

For every industry, there will be regulations that must be followed. It is in your organization’s best interest to explore compliance training for those rules, to protect both the organization as a whole and your employees.

1. Information security training

This training focuses on computer security. From using strong passwords to being aware of email scams to safe internet habits.

It also includes security measures both inside and outside of the company premises to prevent social hacking attacks.

Another aspect of this training is learning how to handle data outside of the work environment, such as on mobile devices, and how to deal with lost or stolen devices.

Information security training shows employees how to make sure that their computer habits and actions won’t put the organization at risk.

2. Workplace safety training

No matter the industry, employees will need to receive workplace safety training.

In a corporate office, this training might cover first aid or fire safety. In a lab, it could be geared towards bloodborne pathogens and the safe disposal of needles. And of course, it is one of the main types of compliance training for construction and manufacturing companies.

According to the National Safety Council, construction and manufacturing companies should provide training on fall protection, hazard communication, ladder safety, machine guarding, lock out / tag out, and possibly others, depending on the employee’s role.

In the US, this can include Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in the UK, Health and Safety or HSE, and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in the EU.

3. Data protection & privacy training

In the majority of cases, this regulation affects companies that collect and/or store users’ personal data. This data might belong to your employees, customers, or third party. So, nowadays almost all companies’ activities must be compliant with this type of regulation.

One example, if you are a small shop and you offer a discount for an email subscription, and you collect this data by physical paper brochures, even this must be covered by privacy protection.

This training should demonstrate the difference between personally identifiable information and data that can be shared publicly, and give a thorough explanation as to how this information can be exploited, how to properly collect and store it, and what actions must be taken if a breach has happened.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is one example of the type of regulations that protect privacy, and that employees will need to be familiar with. In the UK, a similar act is known as the Data Protection Act 2018.

In the EU data protection is covered by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law which affects almost all businesses and types of data.

4. Diversity training

Diversity and inclusion training highlights the areas in which some folks might hold bias or outdated beliefs and provides information to counter those beliefs, as well as training on how to work effectively with people of all cultures, genders, abilities, backgrounds, and beliefs.

It often includes information about different demographics that should be portrayed in company literature and marketing, and how to create a company culture that is welcoming to people of all backgrounds.

This type of training goes hand in hand with anti-harassment training.

5. Workplace anti-harassment training

This training defines harassment, bullying, and sexual harassment, and covers effective strategies for responding to harassment incidents, as well as intervention strategies.

By clearly defining what it is, this training helps employees understand what is appropriate and what is not – and what to do about it.

This type of training has become even more important nowadays. For example, the Activision Blizzard sexual harassment scandal shows us how damaging it can be for a company to not take anti-harassment training seriously.

6. Healthcare training

There are many regulations that must be followed by those who work in healthcare.

From HIPAA, mentioned above, to Stark Laws, the False Claims Act, and many others. It is an organization’s job to make sure that its employees understand the rules, regulations, and standards of ethical conduct.

It is also important to promote behavior that leads to the prevention of conduct that doesn’t conform to regulations and requirements.

7. Export and trade compliance training

This training covers any activity involved in the import and export of goods and/or services.

Covering both tangible and intangible assets, as well as payment transfer, this training covers the many rules and regulations that different jurisdictions and states have regarding transactions and transfers.

8. Regulatory compliance training

Each organization should aspire to fully comply with all laws, rules, and regulations within their industry.

To achieve that goal, regulatory compliance training is used. This teaches the information relevant to the organization’s industry. There are various regulatory and accrediting organizations that can help with this goal.

These will vary nation by nation. Some examples of regulatory agencies in the financial industry are FISMA (US), the Financial Conduct Authority (UK), APRA (Australia).

9. 508 compliance training

Section 508 of the US Workforce Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies and contractors to make sure that information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.

This can include making sure that websites are compatible with screen readers, using alt descriptions for images, including subtitles on videos, ensuring color contrasts do not cause issues for colorblind people, and many other factors.

This is especially relevant to our company and elearning industry. Learning environments must be compliant with this act. This is especially important for federal government agencies and educational institutions that are using learning environments in their work.

10. HR compliance training

HR compliance is the term used to describe the employer-employee relationship that is regulated by law and legislation and upheld by the organization.

This compliance training ensures not only that your organization’s HR department handles complaints correctly, but also that your organization is defended against charges made by employees.

Having an effective HR department that follows regulations properly also means that there will be fairness and consistency in how they handle complaints.

11. Environmental compliance training

Almost every industry has some environmental rules and regulations that they must follow.

Especially this affects manufacturing, petroleum, chemical, and many other industries. There is a multitude of rules and regulations and there are steep penalties for organizations that do not follow them properly.

For example in the US, there is the Environment Protection Agency, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Stormwater Clean Water Act, and many others.

In the EU this goes even further, according to the European Environment Agency – “The body of EU environmental law — also known as the environmental acquis — amounts to some 500 directives, regulations and decisions.”

Although not every employee needs to know every single regulation, it is crucial for everyone to know at least the basic ones that apply to your particular business.

12. Pharmaceutical compliance training

There are many rules and regulations for pharmaceutical products, and it is wise for an organization to have a robust internal training program.

From research and development to manufacturing to packaging, each area has different regulations that must be followed exactly to ensure the end product is safe.

Regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK ensure that companies are meeting these obligations.

13. Insurance compliance training

For those working in the insurance industry, a knowledge of the laws surrounding insurance is a must, as well as the rules and regulations of who can be sold to. The same applies to consultancy companies.

For insurance and consulting companies, there is a legally required compliance program that must be completed to get their license. Employees must pass compliance regulations and/or tests to get their licenses to practice.

Some areas of compliance recommended in this industry are fraud awareness, conflict of inflict, and anti-bribery.

Tips and best practices for compliance training

1. Employ digital technology

Digital technology reflects the way people engage with information and makes it easy for compliance training to be accessible and engaging.

The proliferation of training apps, cloud-based learning, and mobile learning means that ideas like microlearning or highly interactive scenario-based e-learning can be more easily created and accessed by employees.

The use of digital technology also makes updating training a lot simpler and quicker. This is an important factor for compliance training, which is often time-sensitive.

Making updates to a current course or using a cloud-based tool to quickly create a new one means that it will be pushed out to the employee immediately and also completed more quickly.

This also makes it easier to track who finished and passed the compliance training so the HR managers can react faster in case of industry audits and prevent penalties.

2. Make the training engaging

No one wants to sit and read regulations for 8 hours. Apply microlearning to keep lessons short and learners engaged.

If the training is boring, then your employees will learn very little. Keep it engaging by using simple terms, rather than technical jargon. Use snippets of rules, regulations, and laws, rather than entire dense texts.

Add in interactivity to keep learners interested. By using video, quizzes, puzzles, acting out scenarios with a partner, trivia competitions, or games, a company can keep employees engaged while also making sure that they know all of the information that is key to their role.

3. Use real-life examples

Everyone learns better when they can connect new information to knowledge that they already have.

Use real-life examples, ask learners to act out scenarios, and explore the consequences of various decisions in a risk-free environment.

4. Engage from the top down

If employees see that the leadership of their company is not following the compliance training, then they won’t either. This is precisely where ‘practice what you preach’ is the most important.

Leaders need to be seen following every part of the compliance training, publicly and consistently.

5. Encourage accountability

Assign accountability buddies, especially in situations where physical safety is at risk.

Encourage anonymous reporting as well. In cases of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior, this anonymous reporting system will encourage people to speak up.