Types of Employee Training

9 Types of Compliance Training for Employees (+Challenges)

9 Types of Compliance Training for Employees (+Challenges)

Regulations, laws, and standards constantly are evolving, with specific laws and regulations existing in niche industries (think healthcare or insurance) or in different regions (think cities, states, and countries).

Constant regulatory change creates a compliance risk for organizations, and companies must continuously monitor and communicate these updates to employees to avoid compliance-related issues.

To overcome these challenges, organizations must invest in a compliance-specific training strategy

Compliance training plays a pivotal role preparing employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and adhere to any regulatory standards. 

In this article, we explore the nuances of compliance training in the workplace, as well as share the positive outcomes of compliance training programs, examples, and best practices to ensure that employees are well-informed, ethical, and aligned with not only the organization’s values – but the laws and regulations the company is forced to comply with.

What Is Compliance Training?

Compliance training is a type of employee training that familiarizes team members with knowledge and skills that are industry or geographically-specific and is mandated by legislation or regulatory bodies. Compliance training familiarizes employees with laws that regulate how a company handles things such as hiring, safety, data privacy, etc.  These training initiatives are mandatory to minimize risk, ensure workplace safety, and create a more inclusive workplace. 

9 Types of Compliance Training Programs for Employees

The umbrella of compliance training encompasses a number of different course types that are relevant to a company’s location, industry, and activities. Here are the most common types of corporate training programs covering government-mandated & industry-specific compliance policies.

1. OSHA compliance training

OSHA compliance training is designed to ensure workplace safety by educating employees about potential hazards, safety protocols, emergency procedures, and the proper use of safety equipment. This training is particularly important for industries where physical risks are prevalent, such as construction and manufacturing.

2. Cybersecurity training

In the digital age, cybersecurity training helps employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information, recognizing phishing attempts, using secure passwords, and following best practices to safeguard company and customer data from cyber threats.

3. Ethics training

Ethics training focuses on promoting ethical behavior and integrity in the workplace. It educates employees about the organization’s code of conduct, the importance of honest decision-making, and the avoidance of conflicts of interest.

4. Diversity training

Diversity training emphasizes the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It educates employees about different cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds, aiming to create a respectful and inclusive environment where all employees feel valued.

5. Anti-harassment training

Anti-harassment training addresses issues related to preventing harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the workplace. It informs employees about recognizing inappropriate behaviors, reporting procedures, and the importance of maintaining a respectful work environment.

6. Anger management training

Anger management training helps employees develop skills to manage their emotions and interpersonal conflicts in a constructive way. This training can contribute to a more harmonious work environment and better employee interactions.

7. Healthcare compliance training

Healthcare compliance training is crucial for professionals in the healthcare industry. It covers topics like patient confidentiality, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations, and ensuring accurate medical recordkeeping to maintain legal and ethical standards.

8. Anti-bribery and corruption

This training educates employees about the laws and regulations surrounding bribery and corruption. It emphasizes the importance of avoiding unethical practices, adhering to anti-bribery laws, and maintaining transparency in business dealings.

9. 508 compliance training

508 compliance training focuses on ensuring digital accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It educates employees about creating and maintaining digital content that is accessible to all users, complying with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Benefits of Compliance Training

Compliance training offers a range of benefits that extend beyond just meeting regulatory requirements. Let’s discuss a few:

1. Legal adherence

Compliance training ensures that employees understand and adhere to laws, regulations, and industry standards relevant to their roles. This helps organizations avoid legal penalties, fines, and lawsuits that could result from non-compliance. By educating employees about legal requirements, organizations can minimize the risk of violating laws and regulations.

2. Risk mitigation

Compliance training plays a critical role in mitigating risks associated with various aspects of business operations. By training employees on best practices, protocols, and safety measures, organizations can prevent accidents, errors, and misconduct that could lead to financial losses and reputational damage.

3. Improved workplace safety

Compliance training, particularly in areas like OSHA and health and safety, contributes to a safer work environment. Employees learn about potential hazards, proper procedures, and safety equipment usage, reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries. A safer workplace leads to reduced absenteeism, increased morale, and improved overall productivity.

4. Data protection

In the age of digital transformation, compliance training on data protection and cybersecurity is crucial. Employees are educated on handling sensitive information, recognizing cyber threats, and maintaining data privacy. This training helps prevent data breaches, cyberattacks, and unauthorized access, safeguarding both company and customer data.

Examples of Corporate Compliance Training Program Failures

Without a compliance training strategy that enables employees with the contextual information and continuous learning needed to stay on top of regulations, organizations put themselves at major risk. 

Here are three infamous enterprise examples of compliance failures to learn the risk of not preparing employees with the knowledge to be compliant.

1. Wells Fargo

Several fraudulent accounts at Wells Fargo clearly indicate compliance failure. Over 100 employees were fired for creating fake profiles and fraudulent applications to obtain money from the Small Business Administration Relief Program. The program was originally for helping small businesses amid the pandemic. For customers to trust Wells Fargo again, a strong culture of compliance needs to be instilled within the organization.

Source: complianceweek.com

2. H&M Germany

Data Protection Authority (DPA, Hamburg) handed out a fine of $ 41.3 mn, one of the biggest GDPR fines on record, for obtrusively storing the personal information and experiences of their employees. The company conducted ‘Welcome Back Talks’ post an employee’s absence and recorded details like their holiday experience, symptoms of illness, or medical diagnoses. 

Source: complianceweek.com

3. Vodafone Spain

The Spanish DPA (the AEPD) slapped a fine of $9.72 mn on March 11, 2021, for violating the GDPR and other Spanish laws covering telecommunications and cookies. There were 191 individual complaints regarding Vodafone’s marketing activity where Vodafone was alleged not to have taken sufficient organizational measures to ensure it was processing people’s personal data lawfully.

Source: spanishnews.com

How to Develop an Effective Employee Training Program in 2023

Challenges for Managing Compliance Training

A few of the common challenges leading to the failure of compliance training programs are:

1. Employee pushback

The idea of compliance training isn’t appealing for employees as they wouldn’t want to spend additional working hours with what many could perceive as unnecessary clerical work. 

Many employees would instead prefer to complete their in-progress project than attend a tedious compliance training program. Most organizations also use a one-size-fits-all approach while conducting these programs, making them irrelevant for some employees.

Organizations should invest in a “learning in the flow of work” model that enables employees with the knowledge and learning they need, without breaking their workflows or hurting their productivity. 

This integrated approach can utilize emerging L&D trends like microlearning and in-app guidance to provide contextual performance support for employees, without having to dedicate large amounts of time completing mandatory training sessions.

Create personalized learning & training flows for your enterprise apps with Whatfix

2. Conventional training methods

Most organizations still organize non-engaging, lengthy classroom-style training sessions for compliance training. Outdated employee training methods cause cognitive overload, fatigue, and a loss of productivity for employees. Studies have shown that these styles of training also result in lower knowledge retention as well.

To overcome this challenge, L&D teams should invest in elearning tools with employee training software. Digital tools go a long way in decreasing cognitive overload and making training more effective, contextual, and engaging for employees.

3. Keeping training programs updated

Due to dynamic business requirements and ever-changing technology, compliance regulations often change. It makes constant updating of course content difficult and time-consuming. The situation further gets complicated if an organization operates across multiple industries and jurisdictions. 

Here, it is advisable to seek an external partnership to be up to date with the industry best practices and standards.

4. Insufficient resources

Organizations approach compliance training with minimum resources and effort, as many see it as a mandate and not an opportunity. They devote limited resources in terms of budget and people, making the training program ineffective and lead to larger issues that bubble under the surface.

5. Measuring the impact of training

The main aim of compliance training is to record the completion of training for audit purposes. Therefore, organizations mostly use check-box assessments and memory-based questions for the same. However, this isn’t an effective way to measure training effectiveness.  

Instead, employees must be trained on the practical implementation of compliance training in their daily routines. Also, organizations should closely monitor systems and processes for any possible breach.

How To Create a Compliance Training Strategy for Your Employees

Here are some tips useful for creating a holistic and effective compliance training strategy for your organization.

1. Align with business objectives

A successful compliance training strategy aligns with the broader business objectives of the organization. By understanding the company’s goals, values, and industry requirements, you can tailor the training content to address specific compliance needs that are directly relevant to the organization’s mission and objectives.

2. Implement role-based training

Different roles within an organization may have distinct compliance requirements. Tailoring training content to specific job roles ensures that employees receive the training that is most relevant to their responsibilities. Role-based training enhances engagement and helps employees understand how compliance directly applies to their tasks.

3. Gamify your training

Gamification in training makes your compliance training more engaging and uplifts the employee learning experience. Adding fun elements like points, badges, and leaderboards to the assigned tasks motivates employees to complete these training programs. It is one strategy that is a big motivator in modifying employee behaviors and implementing compliance training practically. 

4. Leverage microlearning for retention

Considering the fast-paced professional world and the reduced attention spans of the digital workforce, traditional long-form training programs that occur annually or semi-annually are not enough for employees to keep up with industry standards. 

Hence, microlearning is an effective type of employee training that provides learning in subtle, short-timed bursts. Smaller learning sessions provide all information necessary for learners to achieve a specific training objective in a short window of time.

5. Provide in-app compliance reminders and support on your digital workflows

Organizations rely on software applications to complete core workflows, communicate with customers, provide services, and handle data. This means that the employee experience is completely digital.

To continuously support your compliance strategy, organizations can invest in a digital adoption platform (DAP) like Whatfix to create in-app alerts, guidance, and nudges that overlay on digital applications to remind employees of compliance requirements for different customers, regions, industries, etc.

How Sentry Cut $1M in Training & Support Related Costs With Whatfix

6. Lead with examples

Real-life examples and case studies make compliance training more relatable and practical. By showcasing scenarios that employees may encounter in their job, you help them understand the consequences of compliance breaches and the correct ways to handle such situations.

7. Embed compliance training in company’s culture

For long-term success, compliance training must be ingrained in the company’s culture. By emphasizing the importance of compliance in all aspects of the organization, from leadership down to every employee, you create an environment where adherence to regulations is a shared value.

8. Offer incentives

Encourage participation and motivation by offering rewards or incentives to employees for completing compliance training. These incentives could be in the form of certificates, recognition, or even tangible rewards. Incentives demonstrate that the organization values employees’ commitment to compliance.

9. Ensure legal accuracy

Compliance training must be accurate and up-to-date with relevant laws and regulations. Partner with legal experts to ensure that your training content is legally accurate and reflective of the most current legal standards.

Leverage digital adoption platforms for successful compliance training

Implementing digital adoption platforms such as Whatfix play a pivotal role in ensuring successful compliance training by simplifying complex regulatory concepts and seamlessly integrating them into employees’ workflow. DAPs provide interactive, step-by-step guidance, personalized to each user’s role, enabling them to navigate compliance processes with ease. Through in-app walkthroughs, contextual tips, and real-time assistance, digital adoption platforms enhance understanding and retention of compliance information. Moreover, they track progress and completion, ensuring accountability and enabling organizations to identify areas that may require additional training. 

Ultimately, these platforms transform compliance training into a user-friendly and efficient experience, driving better adherence to regulations and fostering a culture of compliance within the organization.

To learn more about Whatfix employee training, schedule a free demo with us today!


Above: In-app employee guidance created with the Whatfix Digital Adoption Platform

Whatfix’s DAP empowers organizations with a no-code editor to create in-app guided flows, onboarding tasklists, pop-ups, tooltips, alerts, reminders, self-help wikis, and more to enable employees to use software better. Enable your employees to become proficient in new applications faster, create interactive process documentation, guide users through process changes, assist employees through infrequent tasks, and provide self-help performance support on your CRM, ERP, HCM, or any desktop, web, or mobile application.

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