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We know how important compliance and being compliant is, in today’s world of ever increasing competition in every sector. The need for being compliant couldn’t be stressed on enough. It all seems too easy in theory- you just need to find out the compliances that you as organization need to meet, and then subsequently apply them. However, it is a tab bit difficult in practicality. The first step to being compliant is being aware and this is where compliance training comes in.

An organization’s most valuable asset is its reputation, which is why, no matter how complex the rules and regulations are, it should be ensured that our employees are well aware of all of them and understand them fully, so that there are no sudden embarrassments in crucial situations.

Identifying your required compliances isn’t enough, “Compliance training” is required to educate your employees about the laws, regulations and company policies that apply to their day-to-day job responsibilities. This decides how they behave and conduct themselves in the office and also reflects on how they perform.

Several goals are met by carrying out compliance training in various organizations:

  1. Avoiding and detecting violations by employees that could lead to legal liability for the organization.
  2. Creating a more hospitable and respectful workplace
  3. Laying the groundwork for a partial or complete defense in the event that employee wrongdoing occurs despite the organization’s training effort
  4. Adding business value and a competitive advantage

Compliance training encompasses a wide range of topics. It includes relevant areas such as workplace discrimination and harassment, trains the employees to deal with the competitors, information regarding insider trading, how to protect trade secrets and why it is of utmost importance, managing records, preventing and avoiding bribery and kickbacks, etc.

Typically, most or all of these compliance topics are addressed in an organization’s Code of Conduct, and the organization may offer employees annual or bi-annual Code of Conduct training in lieu of requiring employees to take multiple individual training programs.

Now, how do you know that your employees need compliance training?

Ideally, all organizations should employ compliance training. As long as you are a legitimate organization, doing legitimate business, compliance training absolutely cannot be done away with.

Companies in all business sectors are under pressure to demonstrate that their employees are trained in laws and regulations, and internal policies, that pertain to their roles. Specifically, companies in the financial and healthcare sectors which face stringent regulations and heftly penalties in case of non compliance are required to include compliance training in the organizational workings. Publicly regulated companies have taken the lead by instituting firm-wide compliance training programs. For example, the retail giant, WalMart would be required to train their employees on sexual harassment, data security, anti-harassment, and more. Again, for financial institutions, such as banks or post offices, the key compliance training topics are anti money laundering, sanctions, and insider dealing.

Now that you know the importance of compliance training, how do you go about it?

Compliance training can be performed in-house by compliance training specialists, or hired out to consultant firms. Some of the common training methods include- training using case studies, PowerPoint lectures, video lectures carried out by a management head or even written self study. However, since most organizations are embracing technology and are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, online compliance training has become more feasible.

For online training, you need to make sure that your material is tailored to your audience- for example- a medical institute will have a different set of compliances to fulfil as compared to a corporate sector company. It should be interesting, with a pinch of humour using characters and real time scenarios is always a plus. However, while trying to make your organization fully compliant, you should not overwhelm your employees with information- this will have an adverse effect rather than achieving your goal of making your employees fully aware and informed about their responsibilities.

Software tools such as VComply also help in compliance training- your organization will know exactly what compliances it needs to meet and at the same time, your employees will be aware of their responsibilities towards upholding your company’s reputation.

So, as you gear up to start your new business venture, make sure your employees are as aware as you are, when it comes to compliance and the future of your company’s success.

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