In an era in which the public is sensitive to issues like sexual harassment and worker’s rights, failing a compliance audit could result in consequences from both the government and your customers.
In the worst-case scenarios, if there is a negative incident associated with your company and you cannot prove that the proper corporate training took place, your company is vulnerable to:
- Fines and lawsuits (sometimes in the MILLIONS!)
- Bad public perception
- Reduced revenue
- Low employee morale
According to the Brandon Hall Group, nearly 24% of companies still rely on manual training systems. Simply marking cells in an Excel spreadsheet – or worse, on paper – to indicate who’s done what training is a practice that leaves your organization more susceptible to human error. All it takes is hitting the wrong button, or forgetting to record information, and your compliance program falls apart.
Brandon Hall also found that only 40% of organizations say they’re thoroughly prepared for a compliance audit, with the majority of respondents (52%) saying they’re only somewhat prepared. Which one are you?
The Characteristics of a Reliable Compliance Training Program
So what do you need in a compliance training system that will hold up to the highest scrutiny?
You want identical training for every learner to ensure every nuance of the material is covered and for data accuracy purposes. Consistent training also means that when issues arise, they’ll more likely be reported and handled in an efficient, timely manner, demonstrating that your company cares about the rules and competently enforces them.
Hierarchical Course Assignments
To ensure all employees are completing the right courses, you want to be able to easily assign training based on the employee’s role. Managers need different training in workplace sexual harassment than the average employee. Different departments may need to satisfy different compliance standards. A system that allows you to assign courses hierarchically (both geographically and organizationally) smooths out this process and ensures that everyone is taking the right training.
You want to be able to prove that records are accurate and untampered, as well as be able to easily track training completion, including in-person and external certification for auditing purposes. This is where ready-made or custom-built audit reports make life easier. Note: Auditors also like to know details like the duration of a course, when it was taken, and curriculum.
Course Versioning Options
Compliance rules change – it should be easy to update the training to reflect that, too. Using version control within an online training system helps indicate changes in content and delivery. It should note which version each employee took so you know who needs to refresh their knowledge, and when.
Imagine an auditor showing up at your door and – with just a few clicks of the mouse – being able to create a customized report with the exact information they’re looking for. The ability to create complex reports from system data is important for getting through the compliance audit. Look for systems that allow you to easily adjust field names to match agency terminology. Bonus: this data can also be used to continuously improve your training for better effectiveness and employee engagement.
Invest in a System That Will Protect You in a Compliance Audit
Organizations are turning to LMS systems with rich reporting engines and features designed to easily track compliance. They are also pairing them with online courses, which ensures consistency, as every employee will watch the same videos and take the same tests.
The best learning management companies partner with you to help design a compliance-focused course series, whether that be using your existing training materials or working with off-the-shelf content providers. They’ll also assist you in the case of a third-party audit and help pull any necessary data not covered by standard reports. They’ll stand by you and provide proof that their system is accurate.
If you’re still relying on manual systems for recording compliance training, along with dry in-person seminars, then you’re leaving large gaps in your business’s capability to meet requirements – and just as worrisome, your ability to prove what compliance regulations you did meet when the auditor comes knocking.