6 Key Elements Of An Effective Compliance Training Strategy

6 Key Elements Of An Effective Compliance Training Strateg
Summary: Compliance training is essential, and 6 key elements can help you get started: 1) craft a strategic training plan, 2) tailor training to fit your needs, 3) plan for continual refreshing, 4) measure results, 5) use a multi-pronged approach, and 6) communicate comprehensively.

An Effective Compliance Training Strategy Through 6 Tips

Compliance training is a fact of life in almost every workplace. No employer can afford to ignore the potential pitfalls of topics like:

  1. Sexual harassment
  2. Discrimination
  3. Data protection
  4. Ethics and corruption
  5. Privacy
  6. Financial regulation

But compliance training is about far more than just avoiding lawsuits. Well-planned compliance training, fully integrated into your overall corporate strategy, can create a workplace where integrity [1] is valued and rewarded—and that can even add to your company’s bottom line.

So how do you create an effective compliance training strategy? Consider these 6 key elements:

1. Craft A Strategic Training Plan

All too often, compliance training is a reaction to a problem; the #Metoo movement has no doubt launched thousands of anti-harassment trainings and has even affected corporate insurance [2]. But isn’t it far better to do risk assessments to identify areas of potential problems, then work proactively to change the corporate culture before a problem occurs?

Compliance training is just one piece of a company’s culture. A commitment to a compliance culture [3] has to start at the top and sweep through every corner of an organization. The job of the training department isn’t just to buy and administer an anti-harassment training program, but to provide the expertise to gather input from all levels of the organization, then craft a strategic plan for using training as one piece of a compliance culture [4] that shapes how employees view themselves, their colleagues, their customers, and their organization.

The 4 remaining points below give some details on how to do this:

2. Tailor Training To Fit Your Needs

There are many excellent off-the-shelf compliance training modules for common topics such as sexual harassment prevention and diversity training. These programs can be an important part of an overall strategic compliance training plan but resist the urge to pop in a DVD and call it good. Far better to consult professionals [5] who can help you design a custom-tailored training (which can still use off-the-shelf elements) that’s best for your company, your culture, and your employees.

3. Plan For Continual Refreshing

Compliance is a moving target. Companies in highly-regulated industries such as financial services, law, data security, and healthcare are used to changes [6] that require retraining and restructuring business practices.

But even the "soft skills" part of compliance training changes as our society evolves [7]. Behaviors that were common in the past—anybody saw "Mad Men?"—are no longer acceptable. The content of compliance training absolutely requires updating as changes occur.

Not only the content needs refreshing; make sure to continually assess the effectiveness of training (see the next point) so you can make adjustments.

4. Measure The Results – And Keep On Measuring Them

Every training professional knows that delivering training isn’t the end of the process [8]—it’s just one point on the continual process of evaluating results, reassessing needs if necessary, designing and incorporating changes in training, and delivering the updated training. Third-party benchmarking [9] can add legitimacy to a program.

When you measure results [10], make sure your stakeholders agree with the metrics you use. Everyone involved should understand and endorse the goals of the compliance training.

5. Use A Multi-Pronged Approach

Although most companies do—and should!—build compliance training into their onboarding process, compliance is definitely not a "one-and-done" topic. In fact, a strategic compliance training plan can tie advanced training into employee development plans.

Be sure to take advantage of all the training approaches you can use—online (both traditional desktop-based and mobile), Instructor-Led, individual, group, etc. Use videos, gamification, full-length courses, and short mini-courses as needed to deliver information most effectively.

6. Communicate Comprehensively

Make sure employees understand the importance of compliance [11]—for themselves, for their careers, and for the company. Communicate clearly how they are expected to act, where they can go for guidance, how to report infractions, how whistleblowers are protected, and every other topic related to compliance. Most of all, celebrate those within the company who display integrity and respect.

Creating effective compliance training can sound overwhelming. Done right, compliance training isn’t just something that happens in the training room; it’s an integral part of everything the organization does, from hiring new employees to planning company functions to crafting job descriptions to managing employee advancement to…well, you get the picture.

Not sure where to start? There are many organizations that have gone down this road before, and building on the experience of consultants is a good first step. But whatever path you take, the important point is to plan your compliance training carefully, because this is a topic that’s only going to grow in importance.


  1. The Importance Of Honesty And Integrity In Business
  2. After #MeToo, Insurers Are Forcing More Execs Into Training, But Raising Premiums Selectively
  3. 6 Practices for Building a Better Culture of Compliance
  4. Creating a Culture of Compliance
  5. 5 Compliance Training Programs that are Ideal for Your Onboarding Portal
  6. The challenge of compliance
  7. Compliance and Ethics: Trends and Predictions 2017
  8. ADDIE Model
  9. Benchmarking: How to make it work for you
  10. Why Measure Training Effectiveness?
  11. What Is Corporate Compliance and Why It’s Important
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