How to Make the Most Out of Compliance Training

All business owners and managers learn quickly about the myriad of federal, state and local laws and regulations that come with operating a business. Some are specific to one area of the organization while others are more general. A well-developed compliance training plan insures that employees are aware of the compliance issues and understand their impact on day-to-day operations. It also will ensure the employee knows the proper reaction if an issue arises.

Research indicates that adult learners have different needs when dealing with new information. Addressing these needs in the design and delivery of the training will increase the likelihood that concepts will be retained and that the practical application will be realized. This is true for both simple and more complex topics.

New Employee Onboarding

For most businesses, orienting employees to the operations of the organization is done in the first few days on the job. This can include videos, slideshow presentations or other means of relaying information. In addition, organizations may go over the rules verbally instead of using technology. In these cases, retention of information is less likely.

Though any of these methods may work for the organization, many small and large organizations have turned to other ways to deliver the information and to increase the likelihood that new employees will remember the material covered. This can include creating interactive presentations that require feedback, video presentations with built in feedback mechanisms and real world simulation activities.

Ongoing Training

Just as with onboarding, it is important for employees to be given the opportunity for ongoing training to keep the compliance issues fresh and to note any changes that have been put into place. In most cases, this can be done annually and can build in complexity. The ongoing training may be used for employees who have received promotions, for employees that need additional reinforcement or to meet the requirements of compliance laws and regulations.

Interactive Presentations

Interactive presentations can be computer based with feedback requirements imbedded in the programming. The compliance information is presented and the employee is provided opportunity to check their learning. For instance, after a short presentation, there is a pause for employees to answer one or more questions about the material offered. This frequent check in reinforces the material for the employee.

Animated Video Presentations

Verifying that employees understand the issues presented is an important part of any training program. Animated videos allow the employer to assess the employee's situational decision making. They are used widely in human resource compliance training and are excellent for ethics training and for assessing the employee's ability to reason through an issue. In dealing with compliance issues, presenting employees with various outcomes to a scenario and showing the longer term effect of each possibility can lead to an employee that understands the compliance issue instead of just following it because it is a rule.

Real World Simulation Activities

Real world simulation is found throughout computer gaming. Employees are able to control the activities of the character and see how various decisions impact the workplace. In manufacturing and warehouses, the importance of complying with various OSHA rules cannot be overstated. By allowing the employee to work through a simulation game using the warehouse setting, the organization can be confident that the employee understands the compliance issue and the potential dangers if it is not followed.


Overall, compliance training is vital for the smooth operations of an organization. Though some laws and regulations do not appear to apply to a particular workplace, these training methods can show the employee the applicability. Because the delivery methods address more of the needs of the adult learner, the trainings are more impactful and allow you to make the most out of the training time.

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