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Compliance training cost comparison: In-person vs. digital

How to save a lot of money on compliance training


Compliance training

Prevention is better than cure

It should not be news to you that your company is legally obliged to regularly train its employees on various compliance topics. And it can be expensive! However: An employee breaching the law because they were not informed and made aware of the rules is certainly more costly. So prevention is not such a bad thing. But this raises the question of how these training courses can be designed efficiently, attractively, and cost-effectively. Tried and tested face-to-face training courses are not really appealing either for you as a company or for your employees. They cost a lot of time, a lot of money, and often a lot of patience.


What is compliance training?

Compliance training covers topics such as data protection, occupational health and safety, data security, anti-corruption, and other relevant legal frameworks that are relevant to a company’s business activities

Are these courses mandatory?

Yes, certain compliance training courses are required by law in Germany, for example in the area of data protection under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and in occupational health and safety.


Saving money with digital training

The good news: There is a remedy and an alternative to classroom training, and it is neither unaffordable nor boring! Conduct your compliance training digitally! Positive side effects include not only compliance with legal regulations, but also far greater accessibility, flexibility, and attractiveness of the training courses. And by the way: Compliance training is not only a legal necessity, but also a strategic tool that you as a company can use to minimize risk, protect your reputation, and foster a strong corporate culture. Digital implementation is not that difficult. You’ll need a learning platform to roll out the respective course (learning management system) and the course itself. 


The learning platform

There are many learning management systems on the market. It’s like the automotive industry: There’s the A-Class, the E-Class, and of course the S-Class. For a quick and easy starting point, the A-Class is clearly the way to go. It’s the perfect choice, especially when it comes to digitizing your compliance training. And even if you may want to offer further training products to your employees down the line. 

The course

You can easily buy a course (e.g. on data protection) online. There are many trustworthy providers. The cost of such a course is calculated based on the number of employees who will complete it. You buy one license per employee, usually for one year. Alternatively, you can create your online course yourself or commission one from an agency. 


Compliance training cost calculation

The theory: “Digital compliance training is cheaper than face-to-face training”

Let’s take a closer look at the facts and compare the costs of face-to-face and digital training. In the following example, we have to carry out data protection training. 

  • Company based in Hamburg
  • 100 employees
  • Three work 100% remotely in Austria, Belgium and Munich
  • Employees work for customers at an hourly rate of €130.00
  • The training takes place in an external training room in Hamburg, which offers sufficient space for all participants
  • A trainer must be hired for the training courses

In-person data protection training

Organization costs: €800
Room rental: €1,000
Trainer: €1,500
Total travel costs incl. meals: €1,040
Opportunity costs: €47,840


Total: €52,180

Note: This calculation does not include make-up dates due to illness, vacations, or other reasons. These still have to be accounted for.

Calculation details:
Train ticket (Munich-Hamburg-Munich): €150
Flight tickets: €250 per person for the employees from Vienna and Belgium, a total of €500
Hotel accommodation (per night): €100 per person, a total of €300
Catering (per day): €30 per person, a total of €90
Opportunity costs: 97x 2 hours there/back (€25,220), 3x 8 hours there/back (€3,120), 100x 1.5 hours training (€19,500)


3 training courses per year = €156,540

Digital data protection training

Room rental: - €
Trainer: - €
Total travel costs incl. meals: - €
Opportunity costs: €19,500
Learning management system: €3,500/year
Licensing for data protection course: approx. €25/employee, total €2,500


Total: €25,500

Note: The costs for using the LMS cover an entire year and do not just apply to the specific data protection training course. This means that the LMS can be used for other training courses throughout the year at no additional basic cost. 






3 training courses per year = €69,500


Cost savings: € 87,040

for 3 training courses/year


The calculation speaks for itself. Now, some might say: “Yes, but you’ve got to factor in the initial set-up costs!” And yes, that’s true. It’s the same as with any new software launch. You need to implement it and feed it with the necessary data. In this case, this means that all relevant employee data must be entered into the system. The minimum would be their names and email addresses. But with this, you have enough to roll out data protection training. Of course, it’s also advisable to include their departmental affiliation in order to be able to offer department-specific training down the line. But that could simply be a step for the future. After all, it’s all about reducing the costs of mandatory training courses and making the content more attractive. So, what else is missing? Perhaps the certificate after completion, so that the employees have something physical in their hands. This function (issuing certificates) should be provided in the learning management system and the certificate simply needs to be customized (if you want to). After successfully completing the training, each employee receives a certificate with their name and the type of training. So you have audit-ready proof in the system that you have fulfilled your legal obligation.

Now you may be wondering how much it costs to set up a learning management system. We recommend the following: Simply book a workshop that introduces the system, how it works, and the configuration options. You’ll then know everything you need to be able to get started straight away. Basically, it’s about figuring out how you want to map your employee information in the learning management system. This will tell you the fields you need, such as title, salutation, first name, surname, location, language, department, etc. All of these could later become the criteria on the basis of which you roll out your courses. If we think of our employees from Austria and Belgium, different legal requirements for course content may apply here than in Germany. This can be easily identified in the system. Assuming a 4-hour workshop and an hourly rate of €120, that would be €480. All other costs then depend on your further requirements and which tasks you choose to take on yourself. It is best to plan 2 full days to be absolutely on the safe side. And we’ve factored in a lot of buffer time there! If you don’t want to take on the initial setup yourself, simply commission a service provider (like us) and focus on your core tasks. 


Case Study

Banner visualization of a Case study on the digitalisation of compliance training in medium-sized companies
Banner visualization of a case study on the digitalisation of compliance training in medium-sized companies

Digitalization of compliance training

How an IT service provider digitized its compliance training in 2 months and reduced its costs by EUR 80,000

Find out:

  • how an IT company found the right software solution and which criteria were decisive
  • how the conversion and implementation took place in the company
  • how the employees were prepared for the changeover
  • what costs could actually be saved

In-person compliance training

The facts

Now we’ve been talking a lot about money so far, but the financial commitment should not be the sole measure of all things. Because everyone knows: Money isn’t everything. After all, it’s about keeping your company on a secure footing by ensuring that all your employees are aware of relevant issues. By raising employee awareness of compliance issues, you can minimize risks and identify potential violations of laws and directives at an early stage. This protects you as a company from legal disputes and financial losses. And of course, investing in compliance and training your employees accordingly will strengthen your reputation with customers, partners, and the general public. But back to the topic at hand. What are the pros and cons of in-person digital compliance training?

  • Lack of suitable space

Organizing face-to-face training requires you to find suitable, available rooms that can accommodate all of your participants. 

  • Complicated scheduling

Dates need to be found that suit everyone involved—including the trainer—which can be difficult with large or geographically dispersed teams.

  • High opportunity costs

The time employees spend traveling to and from the training site, as well as any waiting times before and after the training, cause incredibly high opportunity costs. The opportunity costs for the training time itself, however, are roughly the same as for digital compliance training. 

  • Long periods away from work

Employees need longer out of work to travel to the venue, and courses for larger groups take longer in general. Especially when some colleagues haven’t seen each other in a long time. It takes a while for the training to really get going and in turn, to get back to work afterward. 

  • Room rental, travel expenses, catering costs

Not always, but often, there are rental costs for training rooms, travel and accommodation costs for trainers and participants, as well as catering and any physical training materials required to take into account.

  • No flexibility

In-person training requires all participants to be in the same place at the same time. This can be particularly problematic for employees with restricted mobility or those who work in remote locations. Plus, all employees are trained with the same content at the same intensity, which can lead to boredom and inattention. 

  • Scalability problems

The number of participants is limited by the size of the room and the trainer’s ability to interact effectively with a large group. This can be a challenge for large companies.

  • Variability of training quality

The quality of classroom training depends heavily on the competence of the trainer. This leads to inconsistencies in training quality.


Ok, those were just disadvantages. That is a very one-sided view of the issue. Face-to-face training does indeed have its advantages. The question that needs to be asked, however: Are these benefits you really want to take advantage of in your compliance training? I’d say no, but for the sake of completeness I’ll mention them anyway:

  • In-person training allows questions to be addressed in real-time.
  • Participants can interact directly with each other. But that depends on the trainer.
  • In-person training provides opportunities to put theory into practice. 
  • It strengthens the sense of community.


But let’s think about times we’ve been to a training center for occupational safety training in the past: Sure, for me, it was nice to ride the train with my colleagues, chat, and have a coffee before training. Even if we didn’t have to travel and the training took place in the office, it was nice to see all our colleagues together, and get some small talk in. But then there was the not-so-inspiring trainer standing there, throwing his 15-year-old PowerPoint slides at the wall for what felt like the 2,000th time. 60% of the content was irrelevant because it was for a different professional group. I’m a desk jockey, why would I be interested in the fact that helmets have to be worn on the construction site? So, let’s be honest: Maybe in-person training is not a bad thing to bring employees together again, but honestly: There is no relation between cost and benefit. I think there are better ways to support and promote corporate culture and a sense of community than a trip to an occupational health and safety training course.   



Your trainings could look like this

Preview Online Course Data Protection

Data protection

Preview Online Course Data Security

Data security

Preview Onlinekurs Social Engineering

Social Engineering


Digital compliance training

The facts

  • Anytime, anywhere

Digital training gives you the greatest possible flexibility. The content can be accessed at any time on any device, and there is no need for people to travel to the training site. Learning always takes place when it fits into everyday (working) life. This enables even more training than could be achieved with fixed seminars.

  • Cost savings

Although implementing eLearning involves some initial investment (in software, personnel, creating or purchasing course content), this quickly pays for itself by eliminating the ongoing costs of travel, seminar rooms, and trainers. 

  • Efficient use of working time

Working time is used as efficiently as possible. There are no travel times, no waiting times—every employee works on the material when it suits them best. 

  • No downtime

There is no downtime due to travel associated with the training course. In addition, individual training does not drag on like long group training sessions where small talk is a constant distraction. There is no waiting time for the training to actually start, and staff can get back to work immediately after completing the course online. 

  • Customized learning

Everyone learns differently and prefers different learning formats. Everyone learns at a different pace. Everyone has different gaps in their knowledge. eLearning enables you to make content available to all types of learners in the format that is best for them. At the same time, not all your employees need the same knowledge. The eLearning software allows you to assign each individual employee only the training courses he or she actually needs.

  • Standardized quality

With face-to-face training, teaching quality and learning outcomes are directly dependent on teaching staff, and this means standards can vary. eLearning content, on the other hand, is of a—guaranteed—consistently high quality.

  • Any number of participants

eLearning can be easily scaled: Once material has been developed, you can make it available to any number of employees without having to think about room capacity. So the more learners you have, the quicker you will recoup your costs.

  • Learning outcomes can be verified

eLearning offers a wide range of reporting options and allows you to measure progress. This enables you to see what content learners have assimilated, what knowledge you can presume your employees have, and also where content can be optimized.

  • Audit-ready

Conducting compliance training digitally is permitted by law in Germany. The DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) acknowledges the option of “training using electronic media”. Three requirements must be met, however: (1) Workplace-specific content and provision, (2) Integration and implementation of a comprehension test, (3) Opportunity for discussion between the participants and instructor. All of these three requirements are easy to fulfill.


Great, now there are only advantages! Another one-sided picture. Of course, digital training products also have disadvantages, but we’re only talking about those that would be relevant when it comes to compliance training. Such as:

  • Some employees may not have the necessary access to the digital learning platform or be familiar with new technologies.  
  • Digital learning requires a certain degree of self-discipline and self-motivation.
  • It can be easier to get distracted at home or in other places.


These potential disadvantages naturally vary from company to company, from sector to sector, and from employee to employee.


The bottom line.

And a very personalized one at that

Face-to-face events are certainly justified, and there are definitely subject areas that can be better covered using this training method or even in a hybrid formats. That would then be known as a blended learning offer. Here, knowledge is acquired through digital learning content and then applied directly in classroom sessions. This is great for further training in a specific area: You learn the theory for yourself, at your own pace and above all when it suits you, and can then use the in-person phases for direct dialog and applying knowledge together, for example in workshops. 

Topics such as occupational health and safety, data protection, data security, fire safety, hygiene, and IT security are perfectly suited to digital learning in the form of modern, attractive online courses that include interactive activities to keep learners engaged. Quiz questions, matching exercises, and decision questions are ideal for checking what they have learned and recognizing their own weak points. Each employee can then concentrate on what is difficult for them and skip over what they find easy and obvious. 

Employee training is very important for the future viability of companies, which is why you should offer other training opportunities in addition to mandatory training. And of course, you would free up money for these if simple routine training courses were replaced with digital concepts, which are actually cheaper than face-to-face training. So I say yes to digital compliance training!

Save money with digital compliance training

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