Why is compliance training so important?

Why train workers on laws, rules and regulations? What’s the value of conducting compliance training? Wouldn’t the business benefit more, if workers just focused on their job and their tasks? 

Why is compliance training so important? 

To quote figures, OSHA fined over $24 million in the first three quarters of 2019. Similarly, about $12 million were paid to the Health and Human Services (HHS) as fines to settle HIPAA violations in 2019. And, $68 million were paid by employers to settle harassment cases through EEOC, in 2019 alone. 

Non-compliance with government regulations can become really costly – Not just in terms of money, but business disruption, license revocation, and loss of reputation too. As per a study, cost of non-compliance can be 3.5 times higher than the cost of compliance. 

Here are the five major costs of non-compliance – 

  • The regulatory body would slap heavy fines, 
  • Customers would sue you for not protecting their information, 
  • You’d lose face in the market,
  • The money and resources you’ll have to divert for mitigating the risk, and
  • Loss of business once the matter becomes public. 

That’s why compliance training is so important. Non-compliance occurs when employees fail to follow the laws, rules, and regulations that apply to their work. It’s the compliance training that sets the tone of work in an organization.  

For instance, actions by a healthcare worker, untrained in HIPAA, may result in loss of protected health information. The resulting situation wouldn’t just interrupt patient care, but it could have severe effects on patient privacy. The incident could lead to identity theft of hundreds of patients. 

A similar disaster may occur, if a credit card company fails to train its workers on PCI Data security standards. Just one mistake by such a person could compromise payment information of thousands of people. 

What is compliance training? 

The purpose of compliance training is to help you understand – 

  • Industrial rules and regulations that apply to your work 
  • How your actions affect your customers
  • Best practices 

A good training would also share how your actions can benefit or harm your organization. Remember, even one mistake by an untrained worker can result in serious compliance issues; issues that could result in loss of productivity, penalties, and business disruption. 

Failure to train employees is a regular citation by industrial regulators. Major regulatory bodies, such as HHS, OSHA, and FinCEN, cite insufficient staff training as a reason for accidents, data breaches and loss of customer information repeatedly.  

You can prevent such situations by training your employees in a timely and ongoing fashion. 

Timely Training

Timely training can reduce the burden crushing your training team. Holding several training sessions would also reduce the number of people in training at any given time. 

Training new employees 

You should consider training new employees within 30 to 60 days of their joining date. It could work better if you train them before they start handling sensitive information. 

Benefits of Compliance Training

Compliance with government regulations can have a major impact on your profits. If non-compliance leads to penalties and loss of business, compliance can add to your market reputation. Businesses with a clean compliance history attract new customers easily. Strong compliance programs play a major role in building a good reputation. 

Ongoing training, up-to-date training material, and well-kept training records are among the most important components of such compliance programs.

Ongoing Training

Most regulations get updated every few years. 

For instance, PCI DSS 4.0 to be released later this year would bring about major changes to the data security standards of the payment card industry. Similarly, the New Title IX rules released on May 6, have brought about several changes to how colleges and universities handle sex harassment. Without ongoing training, important updates such as these would go unnoticed by most of your staff.  

Your employees would remain unaware of these changes to the law. Without updated information, they may end up taking wrong decisions causing compliance disasters. Ongoing training can prevent such a situation. Besides, training people this way has cognitive benefits. Such training can ensure that employees retain what they learn from the training. Such a training setup could also lower the training costs for your organization. 

Health and Safety Training

Government regulations aren’t just about protecting customer information. 

Consider a workplace plagued with unsafe work practices. Working under such conditions can cause injuries and loss of life. Similarly, workplace harassment can lead to a hostile work environment. Such workplaces experience chronic absenteeism and high turnover of employees. 

Laws exist to protect workers from these hazards. Regulations such as OSHA and TJC deal with physical safety. Similarly, federal and state anti-harassment laws protect employees from workplace harassment. 

To comply with health and safety regulations, you need to have systems in place to protect your workers. And you need to train them in safe work practices and applicable laws and regulations. 

Employers should consider such compliance training as a priority task. Conducting the training would reduce the risk of injury and the threat to the health of your workers. It would also boost their productivity and their confidence in your organization.  

Similarly, anti-harassment training is an important tool for reducing gender bias at work. It can help create an equal-opportunity work culture, boost employee morale, and increase the productivity of your team.

Benefits of Compliance Training

Compliance training isn’t just about protecting your organization from audits and penalties. Compliance training has long-term benefits as well. 

Ongoing training can align your work practices with industrially accepted best practices. Moreover, with time –  

  • Errors in your processes would smoothen out, 
  • Your work culture would become more competitive, and 
  • Quality of work would start improving. 

Benefits of such a work environment eventually begin to show over the balance sheet. 

Designing your compliance training program

One of the reasons why compliance training fails is the design of the course. 

Besides, when it comes to compliance, employers need a system for tracking and recording if all employees have been trained. Along with this assurance, information such as, the length of the training program, the date of training, and details of employees who are yet to be trained and why they haven’t been trained, has a lot of value. 

Such information is important not just for audits, but for monitoring the effectiveness of your training program. Most organizations use a learning management system for such purposes. Using such a system eases the workload of your training department. It would also aid them with integrating the compliance training program with the rest of your training programs.  

One of the most common complaints against compliance training is that it’s boring. True, that’s how most compliance courses are. But, this issue can be resolved by changing your approach towards compliance. Most courses designed for compliance are boring because they are designed for imparting information.

Approach the training not as a legal requirement, but a tool for refining your work practices. Once you change your approach towards compliance training, it too can become a tool for improving productivity. 

What are your thoughts on compliance training? How would you rate the compliance training of your organization? Answer this question, “Would you retake compliance training without being paid for it?” Let us know! You can share your views in the comment section below. 

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