Compliance SOPs: The Rarely Read Backbone of an Effective Compliance Program
While rarely read or even referenced by most employees, compliance Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are the backbone of an effective compliance program. Compliance SOP concepts can become front-and-center, though, by discovering how to convert compliance SOPs into interactive training.
Compliance SOPs and policies are some of the most useful ways to set the stage for compliant behavior and improve the quality of compliance controls. They define processes and actions, provide documentation during an audit, and serve as a guide for employee work and behavior.
The act of writing what you do and doing what is written is critical to long-term company success, particularly in regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, and oil and gas.
Documentation Is Not the Problem
However, most compliance issues don’t stem from organizations not having proper documentation of processes, but instead not doing what those processes say. Employees are often unaware that SOPs exist for specific systems or processes or simply do not know how to follow them properly.
Legal and Compliance Teams Are Not Training Experts
Legal and compliance team members are experts in their industry laws, regulations, and guidelines. Their experience and proficiency in creating meaningful policy content are second-to-none. However, legal and compliance departments are all too often faced with not only writing complex SOPs, but training employees on how to follow them.
And, legal and compliance team members are not training experts.
Check the Box Training or Training with A Purpose
There is an acute difference between providing someone text-based information and guiding them on how to use that information for a specific purpose. Compliance SOP training often falls short and only aims to “check the box,” providing documentation of receipt of information. However, if done well, compliance SOP training has the unique opportunity to change behavior, especially when coupled with a comprehensive spaced learning strategy.
Interactive Training Transforms Dull SOPs into Meaningful Guidance
By using microlearning and other interactive learning and development concepts, employee and policy SOP training can be transformed into meaningful learning experiences that employees enjoy and can genuinely learn from.
Why Microlearning Is Beneficial to Compliance SOPs
Microlearning delivers short bursts of training content, often using a multi-media format. It breaks down long or complicated material into easy-to-understand chunks, making it “bite-sized.”
Compliance SOPs discuss heavy content. The subject matter may be related to cybersecurity, privacy, bribery and corruption, product promotion, or clinical trials—just to name a few. Company stability and employee, patient, or customer lives are often at risk if compliance SOPs are violated.
Microlearning takes this weighted material and lifts out only the most relevant pieces for a targeted group of learners. This method allows employees to have a targeted focus and goal for each microlearning segment and zone in on how it applies to their role.
What to Do First
First, identify who you want to read and apply each SOP. If this is everyone in the company, can you determine who may use the information most frequently? Focus your training attention on this group.
Next, pick out the two or three most critical components of the SOP. Is it the spending limits on interactions with healthcare professionals? Perhaps it’s not discussing pipeline information as part of marketing conversations?
Then, view the SOP with the eyes of the core group facing the critical SOP components in a real-world setting. This should frame the look and content of your SOP training.
Boil Down Your Compliance SOP to One Page
In addition to creating high-quality compliance policy and procedure training that helps protect people and organizations, compliance teams should consider supplementing high-quality compliance microlearning or other modern training techniques with one-page SOP communication guides. Proactive and frequent compliance messaging can help employees feel empowered to know what to do and when.
Big-picture SOP comprehension and overall guidance can come from using modern and engaging learning techniques. Everyday employee references and reminders must come from even smaller, action-oriented one-page guides. These guides must:
- Summarize key points of SOP
- Be easy and quick to read
- Provide clear guidance to where to go for help
Compliance Program Quality Resides in Strength of Compliance SOP Training
Compliance SOPs must rely not only on the accuracy of the documentation, but on the application of the material in everyday employee jobs. Using modern training techniques, such as microlearning, can allow you to convert SOP information into interactive and meaningful learning experiences that increase compliance and decrease risk.