August 09, 2016 – Vicki Pero - Insights

Ask the HR Expert: Establishing a Compliance Training Program That Works

Ask an ExpertIt’s rare for a week to go by in our practice without a call for assistance from a client who has received a harassment or ethics violation complaint about one or more employees.  One way to prevent these incidents is through your compliance training program.  Some states require formal anti-harassment training for employees, but the most effective programs go above and beyond meeting regulatory requirements.  Use these three tips to build a compliance training program that works.

Go Beyond the Minimum Standards

The biggest challenge companies face according to a recent survey conducted by Navex is dedicating enough time to this type of training for employees.  Focusing on meeting minimum requirements goes hand in hand with this challenge.

Make compliance part of your culture by dedicating an adequate amount of time to these efforts by employees.  The Navex survey found that companies include compliance training as part of each new hire’s onboarding program and that senior leaders, managers and non-managers complete two courses annually.

At the beginning of the year, create a formal compliance training plan that identifies each level within your organization and the training content and timing of delivery for each audience.


There’s More to Compliance Than Anti-Harassment

The top 3 subjects companies are including in their compliance training programs in 2016 are Code of Conduct/Ethics, Workplace Harassment and Conflicts of Interest.  A fast emerging 4th area of focus is Cyber Security.  This is in response to companies recognition that security breaches often originate with employees who are unknowingly exposing company data to risks through the use of thumb drives, wireless networks and opening suspicious emails.


Vary the Way Content is Delivered

A common way this type of training is delivered is through self-directed online learning.  If you use this type of solution, evaluate products you are considering to ensure they include variations in delivery methods, are up to date to include the latest compliance regulations and are interactive to increase interest and retention.

Other common methods you can use to deliver this content include micro-learning, providing training in small 5 – 7 minute bursts.  This approach can help with time constraint challenges.  A classroom setting can be useful if the subject matter is complex, discussion of the subject could contribute to the learning experience or questions from participants are anticipated.

Do you have a question we can answer?  If so, post it here, or drop us a note at