Main Takeaways:

  • Compliance training is mandatory for businesses because of the wide range of requirements at the federal, state, and local level, as well as industry-specific standards, and internal company policies.
  • Compliance training is not just the responsibility of a compliance department but requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.
  • There is a distinction between state-mandated and workplace-mandated training. State-mandated training is legally required for compliance with state laws and regulations, while workplace-mandated training is tailored to the specific needs and policies of an organization.
  • The effectiveness of employee training often depends on the methods used. Different training methods cater to various learning styles and organizational needs. These methods include instructor-led training (ILT), online and eLearning platforms, on-the-job training (OJT), and simulation and role-playing exercises

  1. Why Is Compliance Training so Important?
  2. Differentiating State-Mandated and Workplace-Mandated Training
  3. State-Mandated Training for Employees
  4. Workplace-Initiated Mandated Training
  5. Recommended but Not Mandatory Training
  6. Types of Training Methods

Why Is Compliance Training so Important?

Most workers spend very little, if any, time thinking about compliance matters in a typical day at the office. After all, they have their core job responsibilities to focus on. And, isn’t there a compliance department responsible for all that stuff anyway?

In reality, though, businesses are subject to a wide range of compliance obligations. It takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to make sure the organization doesn’t run afoul of those requirements. For this reason, many organizations have implemented some form of mandatory employee training focused on compliance.

Anyone from an entry-level administrative assistant up to the CEO and board of directors can have an impact on the organization’s compliance through their actions and inactions, whether they’re aware of it or not. While employees may grumble about these requirements, it’s important to educate and inform them about the importance of these efforts.

There are a number of specific benefits of mandatory employee training on compliance.

Avoiding Legal Repercussions and Fines

The most immediate and obvious benefit of a robust, broadly attended compliance program is avoiding costly fines and other legal and regulatory penalties. Regulatory bodies don’t just ask that companies provide compliance training, or consider it optional. They put some power behind these requirements by penalizing non-compliant companies with fines and other sanctions.

Boosting Employee Morale and Confidence

Initially, it may seem hard to believe, but providing compliance training can actually help to boost employee morale and confidence. Employees want to serve their organizations well. Armed with knowledge to help them do that, they will feel more confident and empowered about their actions and decisions. Ensuring compliance also contributes to a positive work environment by promoting fairness and ethnical behaviors by all. This can also result in reduced misunderstandings and conflict between employees.

Enhancing Workplace Productivity and Efficiency

While it may take some time to implement compliance training and have employees complete the program, in the long run, these efforts can actually boost productivity and efficiency. When employees understand what is required of them, and why, they’re able to perform consistently and appropriately, reducing the need for constant supervision and corrective actions. This allows employees to focus on the core activities requiring their unique skill and competencies.

Building a Positive Company Reputation

Avoiding fines and other penalties might be the most immediate impact of a successful compliance program, but non-compliance can also have negative implications for a company’s reputation. Ensuring compliance enhances public trust and credibility, helps attract top talent and customers/clients who value companies that are ethical and law abiding, providing a competitive advantage and helps to ensure long-term sustainability.

Differentiating State-Mandated and Workplace-Mandated Training

Understanding the distinction between state-mandated and workplace-mandated training is crucial for employers to ensure they meet all legal requirements and best practices for their workforce. It’s also important for employees to understand the source of authority behind certain obligations and restrictions. Companies size also comes into play here. As a business grows it becomes subject to additional compliance requirements.

State-Mandated Training for Employees

State-mandated training is legally required to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations. Requirements are focused on specific topics such as safety, harassment prevention, and other industry-specific regulations. As we’ve seen, these requirements come along with the threat of legal penalties, fines, and reputational damage when companies don’t comply. It’s important to note that state-mandated training requirements can vary significantly from one state to another. For example, sexual harassment training is mandatory in states like California, Delaware, and New York, whereas in many others, it may be encouraged but not required.

Occupational Safety and Health Training

Occupational safety and health training requirements are established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requiring employers to ensure that employees work in an environment that is free from recognized hazards and the risk of serious physical injury or death.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

In addition to the threat of physical harm, companies are expected to ensure a climate where employees will be free from sexual or other forms of harassment. This can include, in some cases, mandatory training requirements that vary significantly from one state to another.

Professional Licensing and Continuing Education

Some employees may be required by the state or a professional regulatory body to complete professional licensing or other certifications periodically. For example, lawyers, healthcare professionals, engineers, teachers, and others. While this training isn’t necessarily required, it’s important for employers to ensure their employees maintain the certifications required for them to legally perform their job duties.

Industry-Specific Regulations (e.g., Healthcare, Construction, etc.)

Certain industries have specific regulations related to the type of work being performed. For instance, healthcare, financial services, and construction industries have specific risks that compliance regulations are designed to minimize through awareness, education, and training. This is for the protection of both employees and customers—or patients—and the community at large.

In addition to state-mandated training, companies often have workplace-initiated compliance training requirements.

Workplace-Initiated Mandated Training

Workplace-mandated training is tailored to the specific needs and policies of an organization. Unlike state-mandated training, these are not legally required but are important for maintaining the company’s standards, culture, and operational efficiencies.

Company Policy and Procedure Training

Different organizations have different internal rules and policies. It’s important, particularly for new employees, to be trained on just what those policies and expectations are. This helps ensure that all employees are familiar with the company’s guidelines as well as fosters alignment with organizational goals and strategic objectives. Training on company policies and procedures also promotes consistency across the organization in understanding and implementing company policies across all departments.

Software and Technical Skill Training

Most jobs in the American economy today involve technology. Whether an employee is an administrative assistant, accountant, salesperson, HR professional, or heavy machine operator, they need to be familiar with not only the software applications particular to their job functions, but also the internal systems used within the company, such as time tracking, email and chat software.

Software and technical skills training also keeps the workforce updated with the latest tools and technologies that can increase efficiency and productivity, generate insights from processing large amounts of data, and enhance the quality of work.

Data Security and Cybersecurity Training

On the other hand, software and other computer- and internet-related technologies can also open organizations to attacks from malicious actors or and costly mistakes. This is why many organizations spend so much time, effort and money focused on data security and cybersecurity training. This training helps employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information like intellectual property as well as company and customer data.

Code of Conduct and Ethics Training

While not necessarily a legal requirement, companies often have their own codes of conduct and ethical standards all employees are expected to adhere to. These might include prohibitions against bribery or self-dealing, for example. Often, conduct that is legal in one country or state might be illegal in another. And, even if legally permissible, certain conduct might reflect poorly on the organization. Having a universal code of conduct and ethics helps ensure consistency across the organization and ensures ethical behavior.

Ethics training also helps prevent workplace misconduct by clarifying what is and is not acceptable behavior. The more guidance available to employees, the better they will be at navigating ethical gray areas.

Emergency and Evacuation Procedures

Businesses in industries like heavy manufacturing, chemicals, transportation, and others, by their very nature, require workers to take part in inherently dangerous work. Even employees who spend all their time in an office or home settings can find themselves in dangerous situations like fires, hazardous weather, and even workplace violence.

Training on emergency and evacuation procedures prepares employees for emergency situations, ensuring their safety and wellbeing. This type of training also teaches effective response strategies to handle various types of emergencies and ensures the organization complies with occupational safety regulations.

Recommended but Not Mandatory Training

While certain training requirements for employees are mandated by law or company policy, there are other types of training that, though not part of a compulsory list of mandatory training for employees, are highly recommended for fostering a well-rounded, skilled, and adaptable workforce. This type of training can significantly enhance the capabilities of employees and contribute to a positive, productive workplace culture.

Leadership and Management Training

Leadership and management training typically focuses on building or strengthening skills such as decision-making, team management, conflict resolution, and strategic planning. It is designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles and enhance the capabilities of existing leaders. By investing in leadership and management training, companies can ensure that their teams are led by competent and inspiring leaders who can help the organization achieve its goals. Leadership training can also aid in succession planning, ensuring a pipeline of capable leaders ready to take on higher responsibilities.

Soft Skills and Communication Workshops

Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence, are increasingly recognized as critical for professional success. Workshops focusing on these areas can meaningfully improve how employees interact with each other, manage conflicts, and collaborate on projects. Effective communication training, in particular, can enhance clarity, reduce misunderstandings, and improve overall workplace efficiency. These skills are beneficial across all levels of an organization and can significantly impact the work environment and company culture.

Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity Training

In a global and diverse work environment, cultural sensitivity and diversity training are becoming increasingly important. This training helps employees understand and respect cultural differences, fosters an inclusive workplace, and can improve team dynamics. It also equips employees to interact effectively with a diverse range of clients, business partners and colleagues. By promoting an understanding and appreciation of diversity, companies can create a more harmonious and productive work environment and enhance their reputation as inclusive employers while also improving employee engagement, morale, and retention.

Advanced Technical Workshops

For companies in rapidly evolving or highly complex industries, offering advanced technical workshops can keep the workforce up-to-date with the latest technologies and practices. These workshops can cover a wide range of topics, depending on the industry and the specific needs of the company. By providing employees with access to the latest knowledge and tools, organizations can maintain a competitive edge and encourage continuous learning and innovation within their teams.

Types of Training Methods

The effectiveness of employee training often depends on the methods used. Different training methods cater to various learning styles and organizational needs. Here’s a look at some of the most effective types of training methods used in workplaces today.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)

Instructor-led training (ILT) is a traditional and widely used training method. It involves an instructor leading a session, which can be either in a classroom setting or conducted remotely via video conferencing. ILT is particularly effective for complex topics where learners might benefit from real-time interaction and the opportunity to ask questions. It allows for immediate feedback, customization of content to the audience’s needs, and the ability to cover a large amount of information in a structured way. ILT is also beneficial for building team cohesion, as it brings employees together in a shared learning experience.

Online and eLearning Platforms

Online and eLearning platforms have gained immense popularity in recent years, especially with the rise of remote working environments. These platforms offer flexibility, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. eLearning can include a range of formats, from webinars and online courses to interactive modules and video tutorials. This method is scalable, cost-effective, and can be easily updated with new content. It’s ideal for organizations looking to provide consistent training to a large number of employees across various locations.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training (OJT) is a practical approach through which employees learn by doing. This method involves hands-on experience, where an employee learns about their job role by performing tasks under the guidance of a supervisor or an experienced colleague. OJT is highly effective for roles that require specific skills or technical knowledge. It allows employees to learn in the actual work environment, making the training highly relevant and immediately applicable to their job.

Simulation and Role-Playing Exercises

Simulation and role-playing exercises are interactive training methods that involve replicating possible scenarios employees might encounter in their jobs. These methods are particularly useful for training in areas like customer service, sales, negotiation, and management skills. By simulating real-life situations, employees can practice and hone their skills in a controlled environment. This type of training is engaging and can be highly effective in building confidence and preparing employees for real-world challenges.

How EVERFI’s Workplace Training Courses Can Help Your Company Maintain Compliance

EVERFI is a leading education company with a robust suite of solutions catered towards financial education, workplace training and community education. EVERFI’s workplace training solutions are a great addition to any organization’s efforts at implementing mandatory training for employees on compliance matters. Contact us today to learn more!