Why Every Business Needs a Compliance Training Plan in 2021
We are experiencing one of the largest Global crises on record, the economic, and humanitarian effects we are not yet able to measure. Corporations came under huge strain with the challenges the pandemic threw at the World. You could view 2020 as an anomaly, which wouldn't be wrong, however, there are a pandora's box of other risks the pandemic unleashed: health and safety at the forefront, but not excluding cybersecurity, supply chain, financial fraud, and regulatory compliance.
With already growing international political instability, weakening institutions, increasingly complex and interdependent supply chains, expansive trade wars and sanctions, data privacy laws, employee rights, ethnicity, working from home, and the UK’s departure from the EU to name a few, organisations are exposed to critical risks from all angles. Management of risks and a well formulated compliance plan should be naturally integrated in 2021 to ensure companies are ready and prepared for whatever may be thrown at them. It's simply not acceptable anymore to say ‘we didn’t see it coming’.
Here’s how to develop a future proof compliance plan that is specific to the needs of your corporation and your employees.
Step 1: Analyse Risks and Match with Training Topics
Knowing which topics to train on starts with identifying your risks. With a good understanding of industry regulations and enforcement trends, consider changes to the business, political, economical trends data, meet with internal experts and conduct program assessments.
Once you’ve identified risks, you’ll need to run a risk analysis to categorize risk levels and prioritise them in the system. If you are a compliance professional you should also consider the likelihood and frequency of each risk, with use of a risk matrix and the impact it has on the organization in time, money, reputation, and compliance, and then weigh those risks against the overall objectives of your training plan.
Your company compliance training plan is therefore heavily influenced by qualifiable risk data analysis. In this way reducing the overall risk of failure of the compliance training plan you so carefully put into action.
Step 2: Segment Your Audiences
Much thought needs to be given to grouping audiences for training due to differences in roles, responsibilities and positions. The more granular you can be with segmenting the better. Start with simple groupings: all employees, senior leaders, managers, non-managers, the board of directors and third parties.
Then consider a more advanced approach, granulating into depth, duration and frequency on certain topics in different roles. Further granular segmentation might include factors such as risk exposure, location, region or facility, new employees, contractors etc.
It doesn’t stop there. Consider a compliance training program that will best reach your learners, taking into consideration special groups for example those with learning constraints, require translation, location issues or age and demographic focus.
Step 3: Determine Timings for Training and Certification
Sensitivity to the needs of your audience segments is important in delivering the right message at the right time. Consider busy times, space out communications so employees have time to digest the information, and promptly and proactively address every issue that arises.
When determining the right timing for compliance training, consider:
Repetition: Frequent, but orderly communications is key here, reiterating core messages in interesting ways so employees remember the key messages and can easily call them up when they need them.
Frequency: Understanding your risk levels associated with training topics, you are able to set the correct training frequency. Re-training on your most critical topics, yearly, and offering a refresher or burst learning in a slow year. For secondary risks areas, plan to train every 18 to 36 months, but communicate regularly on these areas and offer frequent but less extensive training solutions.
Duration: Use your risk analysis to decide what depth you need. Timing should be realistic and accurate. Take note of audience segments, some employees may require longer, more in depth training.
Step 4: Choose Your Compliance Training Material
Depending on the training requirements, some methods can be formal (such as live and online training sessions) or informal (group discussions or sharing success stories). Keep training material accessible for all subjects to have access to the most up to date and relevant material.
Step 5: Designate Compliance Training Owners
A training plan cannot be successfully executed without designated owners, otherwise no one is accountable for putting it in practice. Determine if you will be delivering training in house or using an external 3rd party Learning Management System.
Someone must also be responsible for collecting and archiving the training and measuring the outcomes, consider a training tracker software to manage the audiences, their training requirements and certifications, so , tracking, reporting and auditing of the training is easily accountable for, and compliant with the risks analysed in step 1.
Step 6: Document Everything
Whilst every piece of communication needn't necessarily be documented, delivering a successful training compliance plan needs to be measurable so it can demonstrate that it is doing what it is supposed to do to meet its objectives.
The administration behind a compliance training plan can be long-winded. Consider a training tracker system that will keep records safe, help manage your audiences and invite the employees to manage their own learning. Before you adopt a new system, be sure to do research on the type of training system you require, as there are many versions varying in price, it can prove a pricey investment, but also easily surplus to requirements.
Step 7: Measure Effectiveness of the Plan
Measuring a plan will come down to setting targets and goals at the beginning. Then you have a good idea whether or not this plan is a success, and where improvements can be made year on year. Your compliance professional will have an end goal in mind, a result of the training program, follow that by asking what are the three components to measure the effectiveness of your multiyear compliance training plan:
1. What is the goal of the compliance training?
2. What metrics are we going to use to measure this success?
3. What tools are we going to use?
The need to be compliant in 2021 is something every business must follow, however small. Regulations have an impact on the whole organisation, and a good risk analysis will identify these. Work out your critical list by using a risk matrix. By following these steps you will have put together a solid plan. Keep in mind that a strong future proof education plan is a living, breathing part of your organization - it should constantly be evolving.
Arcus Compliance can help you manage your compliance training, create custom training plans so you can test your team in exactly the way you need to. Produce certifications on regulatory requirements, report to stakeholders and be ready for auditing. Your employees can also manage their own training which takes the administrative hours away from your business and enables you to monitor your compliance training across any number of corporate levels.
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