While there are rules regarding HR training, these should be seen as a starting point – there’s plenty of room for extra value to come from these programs.
Compliance training sessions overseen by human resources have a clear mission statement embedded in their name: They exist to ensure companies comply with regulations demanding they maintain fair, equitable and welcoming workplaces. This shouldn’t be where the lessons end, however. HR training that obeys the letter of the law, but does no more, may not adequately prepare employees to deal with issues such as harassment. Rather than just creating compliant workplaces, leaders should treat their legal requirements as a baseline and strive to create exemplary office cultures.
Numerous training options are available on essential HR topics, divided up by subject, workplace type and content format. Managers and HR team members should select educational resources to take employees beyond the basics and set a positive tone for all interactions within the business, with clear mechanisms in place to handle complaints and drive real resolution to problems. Selecting the right resources calls for an extra period of research, but the resulting professional environment is worth the effort.
Creating an Impactful Compliance Training Program
One of the most important elements of compliance training is the tone of the courses. Since every company has to offer employee education on acceptable workplace behavior, it’s easy to treat the classes as something to get through rather than a valuable experience. As eLearning Industry contributor David Peterson explained, it pays for leaders to remind themselves why training is taking place and refresh their enthusiasm for the project. Disinterest can affect anyone and everyone involved in compliance, from HR personnel to the employees taking the courses, and it’s leaders who can break this trend.
Peterson recommended HR personnel outline the positive outcomes of training rather than the legal requirements. Instead of presenting compliance courses as necessary to get in line with labor laws, leaders can focus on the benefits of creating a friendlier and more accepting workplace. Managers who carry this attitude over into the actual contents of their training sessions can improve the experience through gamification, offering rewards to make working hard enjoyable for participants.
Existing compliance programs at companies of all kinds may not have this level of thought or effort put into them. HR leaders at organizations that display this approach to training should make the case for new and improved compliance programs, explaining that rather than simply preventing regulatory agencies from fining the organization, the revamped policies can contribute lasting value in the form of improved workplace morale and productivity.
Expending Effort and Getting Results
HR Dive explained the processes behind creating compliance training programs that don’t stop at compliance but actively improve the office environment. Indiana University professor Todd Haugh told HR Dive leaders should avoid using old-fashioned methodologies that simply give employees a laundry list of rules to obey and consequences if they fail. Targeting the root behaviors that make people into positive workplace contributors is a potentially more effective way to encourage good ethics.
Content should be easily comprehensible and speak to the real experiences of employees. As HR Dive added, materials too focused on legal language tend to harm learners’ ability to recall what they’ve just heard. Finding out how to report a problem with a coworker or third-party is an essential part of training an employee, but if the individual doesn’t learn this process in a way that makes sense, the training program isn’t really doing its job.
Another way to make sure compliance training is comprehensive and effective is to ask follow-up questions and check on retention. EverFi President, Preston Clark, told HR Dive these sessions don’t have to be complicated. Simply ensuring employees have learned the main lessons of training can reflect the effectiveness of courses. Clark noted how making a quick assessment is a much more reliable measurement method than noting how many people have completed a lesson.
Selecting Ideal Courses
Once leaders have committed to improving their compliance training programs, it may be time to select a new curriculum. Video-based courses covering a variety of granular subjects can form the core of the learning materials. These are often divided by audience, with compliance training for managers and employees complementing one another and ensuring every individual is aware of his or her role in creating an ethical and welcoming workplace.
From general matters, such as respecting coworkers of all backgrounds to specific scenarios, such as preventing or reporting harassment, video-based training can cover the bases of an expansive and functional compliance program. Companies that are currently running by-the-numbers sessions or that haven’t updated their training in a long time have a great opportunity to refresh their approaches, delivering better results and materially improving the culture within their offices.
When compliance is the only end goal of training, companies aren’t maximizing their programs’ potential. Compliance should just be the start.