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Compliance is always going to be a top priority in any organisation’s learning programme. Failing to comply with market and industry regulations leads to fines, business closure and often irreparable reputational damage, making it essential that businesses can adhere to rules - and prove it.

So what exactly does compliance training look like today, and what should we be doing to improve on our current delivery methods? We took a look at the Compliance Training 2017 report from Brandon Hall Group to find out.

Welder adhering to compliance regulations in a factory

What we’re spending on compliance

Did you know that 38% of organisations spend up to $500 per employee each year on compliance training? In contrast, just 13% spend more than $5,000. This shows that budget is a major concern in the delivery of compliance training - but while organisations don’t have limitless cash to splash on compliance training, it still needs to be done, and done well. That means that organisations are looking for solutions that will offer them the freedom to save, meaning that they can stretch their L&D budget further.

Is our compliance training working?

In half of organisations, employees spend 10 hours or less on compliance training activities a year, but almost two-thirds of these businesses do not believe that their compliance training is completely effective. Worryingly, 59% of organisations in high-consequence industries, such as healthcare, aviation and banking, say the same. So why do so many organisations have so little faith in their compliance training? Is it an issue of quality or quantity? Should L&D be focusing on introducing more compliance training, or just ensuring that the time spent on these activities is more effective?

What are the most popular methods for compliance training?

The most popular methods for compliance training are:

  • Classroom (62%)

  • Video (51%)

  • Virtual classroom (51%)

  • On-the-job (45%)

  • Coaching and mentoring (35%)

Unsurprisingly, despite being overwhelmingly the most popular method for delivering training, just 14.3% of organisations believe that classroom training is the most effective method. In high-consequence industries, this drops to just 4.9%, with both groups believing virtual classrooms to be the most effective method for compliance training. There is a clear mismatch between the methods these organisations believe to be the most effective and the methods they are actually using, and there are several possible reasons for this.

Why are organisations sticking to less effective methods?

Classroom training has been the status quo for decades. Traditionally, training was delivered as face-to-face workshops at regular intervals (often annually), so it is possible that the L&D team simply doesn’t have the time, resource or knowledge to switch to a more effective method. It could also be a matter of perceived complexity - for instance, 15% of organisations believe simulations to be the most effective method of delivering compliance training, but the assumed expense of content creation could put L&D teams off.

Another reason could be that if the classroom training is working ‘well enough’, they may feel inclined to stick with this approach rather than risking a new method, especially when it comes to compliance. This ‘good enough’ attitude is misplaced and fosters a culture of complacency. One where tick-box training is completed but little or no behavioural compliance is achieved.

Why is this a problem and what can we do about it?

The devastating effects of non-compliance have been experienced in many sectors, including the oil industry where health and safety lapses causes loss of life and large-scale environmental damage. The financial services sector’s ignorance of regulation has ultimately led to significant economic turmoil, misselling scandals, money laundering and fraud.

With sky-high fines, imprisonment, reputational damage and business failure among the consequences of failing to comply, it’s time to act now if your own compliance programme isn’t up to scratch. We’ve just released a new Totara insight guide, ‘Why compliance is critical to corporate success’, to help you ensure that your people and processes are compliant. You can download it here, and check out our new infographic below to spread the word about why compliance needs to be a priority.

Compliance infographic

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