Compliant business actions will generate commercial success. But the road is sometimes winding. A Compliance Training Roadmap will guide the way.
Look beyond the next six months. Define and plan the next one to three years of an effective compliance program. A Compliance Training Roadmap identifies strengths and weaknesses, determines the current state of a compliance training program, defines the future state of compliance learning experiences, and most importantly, shows how to get there.
Leverage the Foundation
Whether a compliance program is newly developed, long-standing and robust, or somewhere in the middle, the opportunity presents itself to leverage the foundational work and create a cohesive, cutting-edge compliance training program that enhances organizational compliance and decreases risk.
A Compliance Training Roadmap:
- Provides a framework to support an accessible, flexible, and personalized compliance experiences for employees and third-parties
- Recommends a consistent approach to future compliance initiatives and role-based compliance training pathways
- Creates key milestones in the near and future-term to support the efficient execution of this vision and maximize the effectiveness of the program
Compliance Effectiveness Is Widely Defined
It’s the question every compliance professional will attempt to answer, “Is compliance effort X effective?” But according to a 2018 compliance training landscape study, compliance effectiveness is widely defined. From the “quality of a compliance experience” to “improving policy adherence” and “identifying behaviors impacted as a result of training efforts,” effectiveness depends on the defined goals of a compliance program.
Tie in to Compliance Strategy
Most companies implement an annual compliance strategy effort of some kind. This strategy may focus on creating an ethical culture, expanding policy initiatives, increasing engagement with the compliance team, or identifying compliance gaps. A Compliance Training Roadmap takes this strategy a step further. A Roadmap leads with the employee in mind. It ties into the strategy, links up with auditing and monitoring efforts, and brings compliance to real-world, real-time, day-to-day business interactions.
Consider the Seven Elements
Compliance programs are often built in line with the U.S. Office of Inspector General Seven Elements of an Effective Compliance Program. Teams may focus on:
- developing SOPs and supporting policy documentation;
- establishing oversight, auditing, and monitoring;
- performing due diligence for third parties;
- responding to compliance incidents;
- communicating with compliance committee;
- creating a formal compliance business support network; and
- developing training and communication to support policy awareness and applied compliance.
Consider, though, how these elements relate to organizational compliance engagement. There are actually seven elements to this, too. Employees who are engaged in compliance:
- See value in the compliance team
- Make ethical decisions part of the everyday business actions
- Feel a responsibility to follow compliance policies
- Encourage others to follow policies and guidelines
- Help decrease company risk
This is what organizations should strive for. A Compliance Training Roadmap helps maximize the potential of the compliance learning ecosystem. A lack of engagement makes employees less likely to absorb, remember, and apply compliance information.
Assess Current State and Future State
To develop a Training Roadmap, it is wise to understand where are you now and which direction are you headed. A program analysis should begin with a review of:
- Business purpose and goals – How does compliance contribute to the overall success of the business? How can the program grow that contribution?
- Audience – What are associate roles, capabilities, and needs? How do we expect these characteristics to evolve?
- Compliance requirements – What compliance topics does the current training program cover? What, if any, additional topics should be considered?
- Risk assessment – What current risks does the organization face? What risks are on the horizon? Consider all types of risk, especially third parties.
- Assets – What resources, materials, systems, and programs are already in place? What learning and communication modalities are used?
- Gaps – What training needs to be developed, improved, or converted to a different delivery mechanism based on compliance training requirements and instructional best practices?
Establish a Defined Direction
Compliance programs are often reactive by necessity, with interventions designed to meet specific business needs as they arise in real time. Frequently, these interventions don’t (or can’t) consider the larger compliance environment or vision. They are created in a vacuum where a new approach is developed from scratch for each project. Even when comprehensive compliance needs are considered on an individual project basis, the result can be an “ad hoc” environment with program offerings that are disconnected, redundant, outdated, misdirected, or difficult to access and use.
Defining an ideal future compliance training state better fulfills the needs of employees and of the business. It syncs up with specific near term and long-term business goals. By focusing on and optimizing the compliance experience through an accessible, personalized, adaptable framework, a compliance team can more effectively and proactively transfer the knowledge and develop the skills the business needs their employees to have.
This approach is designed to help ensure that employees:
- Feel supported because they can easily access the information they need, when they need it
- Are engaged with compliance on a regular basis and excited by compliance materials—so they actually use them
- Can integrate compliance into their workflow without compromising productivity
- Feel compliance and compliance initiatives are relevant and worth their time
Employees and other target audiences should feel empowered to think critically about how compliance affects their day-to-day work, proactively ask compliance questions, make informed business decisions, and do their jobs more effectively.
The Employee Compliance Experience
Consider the words employees use to describe compliance. Imposing? Restrictive? Hoops to jump through? Now, think what you want those words to be: reducing our risk, guidelines to success, a true business partner. The Compliance Training Roadmap will envision the ideal employee compliance learning experience and develop a path to get you there.
Elements of a Compliance Training Roadmap
A three-year Compliance Training Roadmap is ideal. This provides a clear vision and achievable journey. Regardless of the length of time the Roadmap considers, it should:
- plan for ideal future state,
- build on and enhance existing compliance training assets,
- Allow time for new materials to be developed and deployed, and
- flex with business shifts overtime with phased implementation.
Compliance Training Roadmaps are developed by creating a vision, laying a framework, and designing a journey.
Creating a Vision
Helen Keller once said that the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. Without clear vision of a meaningful compliance training environment, it’s difficult to put appropriate actions into place at all. Compliance learning consultants provide a fresh set of eyes. They may begin working to create a compliance training vision by diving deep into an organization’s existing world. Activities may include collection of existing documents and materials, conducting interviews and focus groups, analyzing related business ecosystems, analyzing gaps, and defining program goals. This typically results in detailed findings and an initial strategy output.
Laying a Framework
To effectively design a learning program around employee needs, it’s important to understand what gets in the way of their learning and subsequent adherence to compliance guidelines. Research shows that learners face three primary challenges:
- Lack of accessibility – Learners cannot easily identify and access the training and information they need, when they need it, because it is hidden behind a Learning Management System sign-in or stored in multiple locations.
- Lack of personalization – In order to get to the information they actually need, learners have to navigate through information they already know or that is not relevant to them.
- Lack of time and flexibility – Learners don’t have the time they need to complete training without compromising productivity and cannot integrate training into their workflow.
To mitigate these challenges, a Training Roadmap focuses on designing a blended compliance ecosystem in which elements of compliance, training, communication, and enforcement intentionally work together. This may include modernized policy design, campaign-style compliance communication, interactive microlearning, role-based performance support, and multimedia-based business engagement tools.
Everyone gravitates toward content that feels relevant to them. Personalization of compliance information boosts engagement and reduces overall time to application. Personalization may include role-based learning paths, job-relevant real-world application practice, or mastery assessments.
Learners who can easily identify and access compliance information and guidance are more likely to use them. A Compliance Training Roadmap aims to identify and navigate through access challenges. This may be achieved by creating centralized access portals, minimizing barriers to entry to required systems, enhancing compliance search capabilities, and coordinating and cohesive compliance communications.
Evaluation and Continuous Improvement
Evaluating the effectiveness of learning interventions is critical to continuous improvement. In a comprehensive Compliance Training Roadmap, evaluations are strategically employed early and often to provide insight and allow for intervention and map adjustments. Evaluation methods may include psychometrically validated testing, manager observations, and training application or insight surveys.
Designing a Journey
Different employee groups have different compliance needs. New hires versus seasoned associates. Contractors versus Full Time Employees (FTEs). Commercial versus medical or scientific. Support functions such as HR and Finance versus operations. English-speaking versus international. The list could go on.
A compliance learning journey supports them all. Compliance topics and focus areas may vary within organizations and industries. The Training Roadmap will map content areas to those audience groups that need it most.
Comprehensive Curriculum Design
Curriculum design is a structured path of learning experiences that a person has to go through in order to get a specific certification or qualification, or to achieve specified program goals. It’s where specific roles are mapped to target competencies.
Learning experience recommendations may include:
- Virtual or in-person training
- Online course(s)
- Animated video
- eLearning games
- Social learning enhancements
A comprehensive curriculum design process includes:
- Needs analysis
- Learning ecosystem analysis
- Content review and evaluation
- Learning and performance objective development
- Learning pathways and learning experience design
- Evaluation and results analysis design
- Outcome measurement design and analysis
As a key part of the Roadmap, the curriculum design identifies specific compliance pathways and goals, alongside approximate timelines and target deliverables.
The specific design output and process may vary depending on final deliverables, organizational size, and complexity of a compliance training program but generally include an analysis and initial recommendations phase followed by deliverable planning and design.
Pilot the Program
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. After creating a vision, laying a framework, and designing a journey, compliance training experiences are developed and piloted to target audiences. This may include custom learning programs, new system implementation, and resource development. Tight project management, in addition to tracking success and challenges will be critical to success. Be sure to evaluate achievements at defined intervals with compliance teams and senior leadership.
Finding the Way
Overall, a Compliance Training Roadmap provides direction and guidance. Done well, it puts your team on the right path to an effective compliance training program and accommodates unforeseen forks in the road as your business continues to evolve.
Just like a map, the more you use the Compliance Training Roadmap, the more value you will continue to find within it. It becomes a living document that evolves alongside your business. The Roadmap stands as a cornerstone of your compliance training program and supports your mission, vision, and values.
In today’s world, the stakes are high, and the rules are rigorous. The consequences for a mistake may be significant. The ability to guide your organization to ethical and compliant decision making is critical. Without an effective Roadmap, you may get lost along the way.