Strong Third-Party Compliance Training: Tips and Best Practices (Third-Party Risk Series Part 3 of 3)
After you’ve identified where your company is susceptible to third-party risk and properly assessed your vendors, your company is finally ready to move on to third-party risk management. Essentially, third-party risk management requires taking the knowledge you gained from your third-party risk identification and assessment and using it to reduce your risk even further with management techniques. While there are several ways to manage third-party risk, for this series wrap up, we’re going to be focusing on one aspect of third-party risk management in particular—third-party risk compliance training.
Targeting Your Third-Party Compliance Training
For your training to be as successful as possible, it needs to be targeted to your specific audience. That way, you ensure that your third-parties only spend time on training that is necessary and relevant to their job criteria. To help tailor your training to your audience, ask yourself these three questions:
What Areas Do Your Third Parties Need Training In?
In order to build effective third-party compliance training, you’ll need to analyze what specific third-party risk areas affect your company. Is it cybersecurity risk? Legal and compliance risk? Reputational risk? Once you’ve determined your company’s high-risk areas for third-parties, you can determine which of your third parties need to go through training. Not every company will pose the same risk, so different third parties will require different types of training courses. For example, your company’s software provider wouldn’t need the same exact training as your manufacturing supplier. Considering your company’s various third-party risk areas will help you build out more targeted training for each high-risk vendor.
Where Is Your Third Party Located?
While many global compliance laws remain the same regardless of location, others will vary from place to place. Accordingly, your training needs to reflect the specific regional compliance requirements of your third-party vendors. These requirements can even vary from state to state, so always be mindful of location, even if your third party is not an international company.
What Resonates With Your Third Parties?
The most effective training must resonate with its audience. Understanding what your third party finds motivating and relatable is critical for engaging them in your training. Does the training offer familiar examples that the third party may come across in daily life? Is the subject matter relevant and matched to the learner’s level of expertise? Is the training offered in the third party’s native language? Keeping these factors in mind will help you produce training that’s more relevant, engaging, and accessible to your third-parties.
Tips for Developing Third-Party Compliance Training
Once you’ve better defined your audience of third-party learners, it’s time to develop your training. Because training development can be an expensive and time-consuming process, you’ll want to ensure the result is as effective as possible. Here are our top five tips for creating training that will give you the best return on your investment.
1. Ensure Your Own Compliance Culture Is Strong
It almost goes without saying that your third-party compliance training is only as strong as your own company’s compliance culture. Before anything else, ensure you have rigorous internal policies in place to safeguard against compliance violations. These values and policies form the foundation of ethics that you will teach to and share with your third parties. Without a strong internal compliance culture, third parties won’t get the message that your compliance standards must be met.
2. Opt For Custom
Your company and its third parties are unique business entities with specific needs. Custom eLearning meets these needs with fresh, modern training that does more than just “check the box.” Opting for custom eLearning has several advantages, such as adaptable solutions that evolve with your business and increased engagement from employees. Additionally, while custom solutions may be more costly up front, you’ll ultimately save money on subscription fees and replacing “off the shelf” solutions that grow dated and less relevant over time. Custom solutions are especially useful for third-party compliance training because you can customize a curriculum to each individual third-party vendor.
3. Partner With a Compliance Expert
Ironically, sometimes the best way to resolve third-party risk is through another third party. Your busy company may not have the time, resources, or expertise to craft effective third-party compliance training. Fortunately, your company can recruit the help of a third-party that specializes in compliance training and eLearning. Whether your compliance training program is brand new or well-established, training and eLearning companies are highly skilled at identifying any program gaps and bridging them with training solutions. While it can be nerve-wracking to put your trust in yet another third party, there are several steps you can follow to select the right provider for your business.
4. Create a Toolkit of Resources
After your third parties complete their training, consider offering a “toolkit” of resources that they can review when needed. Reference guides, infographics, and compliance team or reporting hotline contact information are all useful items to include. Keeping all of the resources together in one centralized place will help your third parties answer compliance questions quickly and conveniently.
5. Follow-Up With Additional Training
In addition to regular third-party risk assessments and additional training resources, you should also consider periodic training refreshers to keep compliance and your company’s values top of mind for your third parties. Microlearning can be a useful strategy to break up large topics into smaller, more digestible pieces. Because microlearning is small in size and simple in structure, employees can easily complete a quick refresher course with hardly any disruption to their day.
Keeping Up With Your Third-Party Risk Reduction
As third-party vendor usage continues to grow, the need for third-party risk management is more important than ever. Almost half of organizations report that tracking and managing third-party compliance is a huge issue, demonstrating the need for more effective third-party management techniques. By properly identifying, assessing, and managing your third-party risk with effective training, your company will be ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing compliance risk.