The First 90 Days: 5 Steps to Improving Your Company’s Compliance Training Program

August 23, 2022 | New Workplace Leadership | 5 min read

Building an environmental, health, and safety (EHS) and legal compliance training program for a corporation is a significant undertaking for any compliance professional. Perhaps an even more monumental task is joining an organization as a new employee who is now responsible for a training program that is already in place.

How do you get your bearings? Where can you make an impact?

Let’s take a look at what compliance professionals should look for in an established training program, and how can they make useful improvements in the first 90-days in a new role.

Get to know the existing compliance program

Before you jump into a new team with a list of suggestions for optimizing an existing compliance program, take some time to better understand what’s working and not working right now. It is possible that what worked in your previous role will not be effective at your new company.

Here are a few things that you can investigate in the first 90 days:

  • Are your organization’s training programs or other educational/training materials up to date?Review training materials for outdated information or policies. It’s important that your compliance training program reflects current regulatory requirements, organizational policies and procedures, and continues to be relevant for your team.
  • Do team members know what they need to know?
    Think about conducting audits or surveillances to see if they have retained the information necessary to remain safe on the job. Perform knowledge checks so that not only will this keep important information top-of-mind for employees, but it will help you to identify potential weak spots in your program. A gap analysis can help you to identify the competency, knowledge, or skills that your employees lack.
  • What shortcomings have employees noticed in your compliance training program?
    Investigate HR data such as exit interviews, employee surveys, complaints, and more. This type of feedback is typically honest and unfiltered, and it may help to shape your compliance training program moving forward.

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Determine which courses need customization

An important consideration in any compliance training program is whether to customize your training courses. While there is something to be said about producing a training program completely unique to your organization, most companies do not have the time or money to make this work.

Many organizations view Skillsoft’s library of compliance courses as a critical tool in filling training gaps that they do not have the internal resources to fill. Skillsoft courses are an ideal way to teach employees universal lessons such as soft skills, functional skills, and tools training.

Look at the Data

Look to better understand the answers to the following questions:

  • Have we identified all of the risks and addressed them with training if appropriate?
  • Which training courses are currently being assigned to employees?
  • Do we need to cater training to certain roles? Geographies?
  • What courses are employees and/or managers searching for? Is there an appetite to learn more about specific topics for job growth or other reasons?
  • How long do certain training courses take employees to complete?
  • Is there a correlation between our training program and a decrease in injury rates?
  • Where are there gaps in the current compliance training program?

Work towards a compliance training program that is informed by data.

Pivot as Necessary

One of the most important elements of a successful compliance training program is a willingness to pivot when necessary. For example, after the COVID-19 pandemic many organizations around the world moved their compliance training sessions from physical classrooms to online.

But at the end of the day, effective compliance training program boils down to the same main ideas – whether it is in person or online:

  • Have you implemented written policies and procedures that are easily accessible?
  • Have you designated a compliance officer to help educate and inform your team?
  • Is your training program effective?
  • Have you developed effective lines of communication?
  • Do you conduct internal monitoring?
  • Do you enforce the standards you’ve set?
  • Do you respond immediately to any problems that arise?

Set Achievable Goals

One of the most important elements to building a successful compliance training program is to set achievable goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely):

  • Specific: Who needs to know what?
  • Measurable: How can your organization measure employee performance and spot training gaps?
  • Attainable: Is the time and effort required of employees reasonable?
  • Realistic: Is the training relevant and delivered in a way that is easy to comprehend?
  • Timely: When do employees need to know the information being presented?

At the beginning of this post, I posed the question:

What should compliance professionals look for in an established training program, and how can they make useful improvements in the first 90-days in a new role? The best way to do this is to:

  • Understand the compliance program that is currently in place
  • Determine where additional customization may be necessary
  • Review all the data available to you to spot challenges and opportunities
  • Pivot as necessary
  • Work on setting achievable goals

Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list?