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Planning and implementing digital compliance training

Strategies for ensuring legal security and ethical behavior within your company

 
 

Legal compliance and ethical conduct are absolutely vital for every company. Which makes it all the more important to train your employees in compliance issues right from the outset. With digital compliance training, you can train your employees quickly, cost-effectively, and sustainably. 
In this article, you’ll find out what makes compliance training effective, and how to plan and implement it. Lay the foundations for a future-oriented and responsible corporate culture. Ensure legal compliance for your company and foster an ethical working environment.

 

What is compliance training?

Compliance training enables you to educate your employees about legal requirements, guidelines and measures, and thereby prevent issues and violations of the law arising in the workplace. These courses impart essential knowledge in areas such as data protection, anti-corruption and occupational safety. They go beyond simply providing information—they promote an understanding of ethical and legally compliant behavior, and strengthen the corporate culture. What’s more, compliance training protects your company from the legal sanctions and reputational damage that can result from non-compliance with laws and internal guidelines.

 

Why do you need compliance training?

Compliance training helps your employees understand how to act appropriately and in accordance with the law in their day-to-day work. Compliance breaches can lead to large fines, legal disputes and a damaged corporate image. You can significantly reduce this risk through training as it empowers your employees to recognize potential problems at an early stage and react appropriately.

Compliance training also fosters a positive corporate culture. It shows employees that your company values ethical behavior and acting in accordance with the law. This increases employees’ trust in the company, and has a positive impact on their motivation and loyalty.

By demonstrating the importance of compliance, your company automatically appears more reliable and aware of its responsibilities. Customers, business partners, and supervisory authorities are more likely to trust you. This improves your business relationships and strengthens your position in the market.

 

Is compliance training required by law?

Whether compliance training is required by law depends on the country you operate in as well as the nature and industry of your company. In Germany, the most common compulsory training courses are: 

  • Occupational safety training
  • Data protection training
  • Hygiene training
  • IT security training
  • First aid training
  • Anti-corruption training

 

The best-known compliance training is probably the annual occupational health and safety training, which is mandatory for all employees. It is regulated under Section 12 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which describes the obligation on employers to “give workers sufficient and appropriate training”. 

Another legally required form of compliance training in Germany is data protection training. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) states that data protection is mandatory for all employees who work with personal data. This starts with business email addresses. Managers are also accountable. They are responsible for compliance with data protection and must provide evidence of compliance. This is largely unfeasible without regular data protection training for employees.

 

Digital compliance training vs. classroom training

Face-to-face training facilitates direct interaction and discussions between participants and trainers. It provides a space to practice certain procedures, e.g. the use of a fire extinguisher, or the correct donning of PPE (personal protective equipment). However, there is often a lack of flexibility in face-to-face events. Coordinating so many employees at the same time is almost impossible. There can be a lack of suitable training rooms, and sometimes high travel costs are incurred. 

Digital compliance training, on the other hand, is flexible and accessible. Your employees can complete the courses anytime, anywhere, which is particularly advantageous in modern working environments. Digital training is a time- and cost-effective way of raising awareness of compliance topics among your employees.

In many cases, a combination of both approaches—a ‘blended learning’ format—can utilize the advantages of both methods. Digital courses offer flexibility and basic information, while face-to-face events can be used for in-depth discussions and practical exercises.

 

The benefits of digital compliance training

Flexibility

Conduct digital training courses at any time and from anywhere. This is particularly helpful for employees with different schedules or at different locations.

Cost-effectiveness

Digital training saves you money over face-to-face training. Travel costs, room rental and printed materials are all eliminated.

Scalability

Easily roll out digital compliance training to a large number of employees. Regardless of space or time restrictions. 

Standardized quality

All participants receive exactly the same training material, which ensures the quality stays consistent.

Interactivity and engagement

With digital training, you can offer interactive elements such as quizzes, videos and simulations. This increases both learner engagement and completion rates.

Self-direction

Instead of making learners dependent on a teacher—as used to be the case—eLearning promotes self‑direction. Your employees decide for themselves how quickly and how intensively they want to learn, and sometimes even what to learn.

Timeliness

Update your digital content in a few simple steps to keep up with the latest changes in legislation or compliance guidelines.

Tracking and reporting

Digital training systems enable you to easily track your employees’ progress and performance. This both gives you the necessary traceability for audits, and helps you to identify training requirements.

Personalized learning experiences

Adaptive features enable you to customize your digital compliance training to your learners’ individual learning styles and speeds, so they then learn faster and more effectively.

Multilingualism

Easily translate your compliance course into a wide range of different languages, making it straightforward to offer the training everywhere your company operates. Reach employees with a different native language.

Accessibility

Digital training makes compliance content more accessible for people with disabilities, e.g. through subtitles for people with hearing impairments or text-to-speech functions for people with visual impairments.

Ecological footprint

Digital training helps you protect the environment by eliminating physical materials and reducing travel.

 

How to design digital compliance training programs

Designing effective digital compliance training programs requires a well thought-out strategy that takes into account the needs and preferences of your employees, and complies with legal regulations. Here are some basic steps to help you develop engaging and effective training courses:

 

Identify which employee groups need what training. Consider the specific compliance risks and requirements affecting different departments, positions, and locations. Evaluate employees’ current level of knowledge with regard to relevant compliance topics and adapt the training content accordingly. Identify areas where knowledge gaps exist and adapt the content to these needs.

Consider different learning styles and speeds to ensure that the training is effective for all participants. Develop content that is tailored to the specific needs and knowledge of the target group.

Set specific, measurable goals that will enable you to evaluate the success of the training. Communicate the learning objectives to the participants clearly so they know what is expected of them.

Use interactive elements such as videos, quizzes, and interactive scenarios to increase engagement and interest. Integrate realistic case studies and examples to illustrate how the training content can be applied in everyday working life.

Choose a learning platform that is easy to use and runs on a range of devices. Ensure that sufficient technical support is available to guarantee a smooth learning experience.

Gather regular feedback from participants to identify the training’s strengths and weaknesses. Use the feedback to continuously improve the training courses and adapt them to the employees’ needs.

Update training materials regularly to ensure they cover the latest legal and industry requirements. Respond quickly to changes in laws and regulations to ensure the relevance and accuracy of training content.

 

Measuring the success of compliance training

It is important to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to measure the success of your compliance training. The following methods will help you not only evaluate the immediate success of your compliance training, but also its long-term impact on your company. You will gain valuable insights that will enable you to continuously improve your training programs and adapt them to changing needs and requirements.

 

Completion rates and test results

  • Record how many employees successfully complete the training.
  • Evaluate the test results to verify that they are understanding the content.

Applying what has been learned in day-to-day work

  • Observe whether and how the training content is applied in the workplace.
  • Conduct surveys or interviews to obtain feedback on how your staff are using the training content in practice.

Changes in employee behavior

  • Analyze whether compliance violations or risks reduce after the training has been implemented.
  • Determine whether there has been a positive change in the corporate culture with regard to compliance.

Employee feedback and satisfaction

  • Gather regular feedback from participants on the quality and relevance of the training.
  • Evaluate employee satisfaction with the training, and make suggestions for improvements.

Long-term impacts

  • Monitor the impact of compliance training on the company’s long-term compliance culture.
  • Verify whether the training courses contribute to a reduction in legal issues or sanctions.

Cost-benefit analysis

  • Compare the cost of training with the savings gained from avoiding compliance violations and their consequences.
 

Improving compliance training completion rates

High completion rates for your compliance training courses ensure that your employees acquire the knowledge and skills they need to manage compliance risks effectively. However, a completion rate of 100% is unrealistic. Especially if you are rolling out the training to a large number of employees.

The best way to avoid large administrative efforts and support costs is to utilize automation. Ensure that participants are regularly reminded about the training. Set deadlines and involve their line managers if necessary. Check whether attendees may have missed the course due to technical issues or not having access to your system (e.g. vacation, illness or parental leave).

Communicate the importance of compliance to your employees right from the outset. Show what consequences violations could have for your company, but also for your employees on a personal level. 

Make the training content motivating and relevant. Use interactive elements such as videos and simulations that reflect real work situations. This helps to arouse employees’ interest and shows them the direct benefits the training will have for their daily work.

 

Create compliance courses yourself, commission them, or purchase standardized options?

When deciding whether to create compliance courses yourself, commission them, or purchase standardized options, there are several factors to consider. Each has its own pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your company’s specific needs and resources.

Creating compliance courses in-house offers you maximum flexibility and adaptability. You can customize courses specifically to your company’s needs and your specific corporate culture. However, this requires significant internal resources, time, and expertise in compliance and training development. It is ideal for large companies that have the necessary resources and very specific requirements for their compliance training.

The option of commissioning courses from external providers is an efficient solution if you do not have the resources or specific expertise in-house. Professional providers offer expertise and create high-quality, effective training materials. However, you will need a certain budget for this.

Buying standardized courses is often the most cost-effective option. These courses can be launched immediately and cover a wide range of general compliance topics. However, they may not offer the specific customizations your business needs. This option is best suited to smaller companies or those that need to cover basic compliance issues without their own specific content.

In practice, many companies choose a combination of these approaches. For example, you could cover basic compliance principles through standardized courses and address more specific, company-relevant topics through customized versions.

Weigh up the costs, the quality of the training, and your company’s specific compliance requirements to make the best decision. Regardless of which method you choose, it is important that compliance training is effective and helps employees to understand and apply the relevant laws, regulations and internal company guidelines.

 

Best practice industry example

This digital compliance training program for 150,000 employees minimized the training workload and time investment by more than 60%

Creating and rolling out compliance training to all white collar employees. This was the challenge facing our client in the automotive industry. Globally, the group’s 150,000 employees had to be trained on compliance issues within 4 months in a legally compliant, verifiable manner, and in accordance with their previous knowledge and position in the company. The restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic at the time presented an additional hurdle.

The primary learning objective was to impart a common understanding and a company-wide definition of integrity and compliance. Several aspects contributed to solving the complex challenge. 

  • Managed learning services
  • Collaborative working
  • Adaptivity
  • Instructional and graphic design

 

This resulted in a coherent overall concept, which was designed, implemented, and rolled out within 4 months.

All the goals set were achieved. In addition to the successful completion of the project, the collaboration also offered several other advantages for the client: The standards set in the project mean that future eTraining courses can be implemented efficiently and effectively. Defined and securely tested processes and procedures with internal and external teams make it far easier to create further content—a real win for the company. 

This project was awarded the HCM Excellence Gold Award in 2021. All of the details about the

  • Strategies and tools
  • Project management
  • Didactics and design
  • KPIs and results

can be found in the exclusive case study “From 0 to 100 in just four months—How an international automotive group digitized its global compliance training in the shortest possible time.”

 

Download

Case Study Automotive
Case Study Automotive

From 0 to 100 in just four months

How an international automotive group digitalized its worldwide compliance training in short order.

 

The bottom line.

Compliance training protects your company from legal risks. It ensures ethical standards are maintained and creates trust among employees and customers. Whether you choose classroom training, digital training, or establish a blended learning concept depends on your individual needs and resources. 
With good communication and attractive compliance courses, you can ensure high completion rates. Continuous feedback and appropriate measurement methods will show you how successful your measures are. 
Do you want to digitize your compliance training and would like support with this process? Make an appointment for a free, no-obligation consultation. 

 
Nadine Pedro
[Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG
Nadine Pedro
eLearning author
 
 

Image source: Gorodenkoff/shutterstock.com