5 Types Of Compliance Training (And What It Means To Be Compliant)

5 Types Of Compliance Training (And What It Means To Be Compliant)
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Summary: Because compliance applies to rules, regulations, and laws across industries, there are a vast number of topics and types of training offered. Training ranges in topics from things like safety to security to diversity to anti-harassment.

Top Compliance Training Use Cases

In this article, we’ll look at some of the types of training and what it means to be compliant within those categories. First, let’s consider the purposes of training.

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The Objectives Of Compliance Training

Whatever the category, compliance training aims to reduce risks, keep companies and employees up to date, and protect workers and customers alike. The key purposes of any course are to:

  • Make sure employees know their responsibilities
  • Teach how to uphold laws and policies
  • Create better workplace environments
  • Ensure safety and security
  • Protect the organization from legal liabilities

These objectives drive every kind of compliance program, and each program covers specific content to reach them. Let’s see how some of them play out.

Common Types Of Compliance Training

Compliance courses cover things like federal and state laws, company-specific policies, ethics, and workplace discrimination. We’ll talk about specific training programs in a later chapter, but for now, let’s look at what it takes to be considered compliant in some of these common categories.

1. Health And Safety Training

Health and safety compliance seeks to eliminate injury and illness caused by workplace hazards. Employees deserve a safe working environment, and accidents can cost companies in time, productivity, and money.

Training covers the standards for healthy working environments as well as procedures for safety and accident prevention. For example, in the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) holds employers accountable to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Training covers requirements for individual industries as well as general office and workplace safety and sanitation policies.

In some industries, physical risks are a hazard of the job. Environments like construction sites, labs, or factories often involve work where employees are around potentially dangerous machinery or substances. Or, they involve physical conditions that can lead to injury. Training specific to these circumstances includes mandated best practices that make sure employees handle them responsibly.

2. Data And Cybersecurity Training

Security and privacy training apply to companies that handle sensitive data or personal information. These days, that’s almost any organization.

Laws around handling sensitive information are clear and vital to understand. In addition, smart practices and awareness are the first line of defense against data breaches or hacks. Data and cybersecurity training teaches employees to recognize threats to information security. It explains how to avoid them and how to handle them if they do occur.

Some standards are mandated, as with the EU’s GDPR requirements. Others may be industry-specific. And all training should be tailored to an organization’s specific data management solutions.

3. Ethics training

Ethics training focuses on appropriate, professional, and ethical workplace behavior. Ethical standards aren’t necessarily limited to legal requirements. This training teaches employees how to deal with ethical dilemmas and instructs them on the lines between acceptable and unacceptable behavior at work.

Ethics can apply to situations like avoiding conflicts of interest and upholding a respectful atmosphere. It also covers things like handling finances correctly and fairly and complying with laws and regulations that apply to the industry or organization. Ethical violations and scandals can incur fines and damage your brand reputation.

Ethics training makes your company a better place to work and protects your bottom line by teaching employees to recognize and avoid these violations.

4. Diversity And Inclusion Training

Recent laws and demographic changes in the workforce have made diversity and inclusion training a top priority for many HR departments. These workshops and programs are intended to help create healthy, thriving work environments by making them inclusive and eliminating biases.

Rather than focusing on the rules of equality laid out in ethics training, diversity and inclusion tend to address the soft skills of cultural sensitivity and self-awareness. It focuses on how equity and fairness impact the ways people work together. It also strives to help employees recognize and eliminate biases and stereotypes and create more opportunities for inclusiveness. This type of training applies to staff and leadership alike.

5. Anti-Harassment Training

Part of a safe, healthy work environment is the guarantee that employees won’t be harassed on the job. Anti-harassment training outlines unacceptable workplace behaviors and teaches the requirements for providing a comfortable work environment.

It specifically addresses gender-based harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. Anti-harassment training should communicate your policies. It should also teach employees how to recognize and report inappropriate behavior.


The purposes of compliance training are to protect employees and help your business succeed. Many kinds of training are required by law depending on the state, country, or industry.

Understanding which types of training apply to your company and what you gain from them will help you build out your own training strategy. In the next chapter, we’ll focus on the specific ways compliance training benefits your organization.

Download the eBook Compliance Training Guide: How To Make It Work to learn why compliance training is so crucial for your organization and how to leave a lasting impression on your team, even if they're working remotely.

References & Additional Resources:

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