What is Compliance Training?

Compliance just had its coming out party. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679) cast a bright light on the complexity of ‘compliance’ to a mass audience like nothing before.

Anyone who’s ever signed up to a mailing list suddenly was bombarded with information on how companies were making strides with the looming deadline.

These deadlines are just part of the day job for a lot of trainers, managers, and executives, however. Employee compliance training is a pillar of eLearning and training and development as a whole.

In this post, we’ll break down what is compliance training, and how your organization should approach it.

What is Compliance Training?

Compliance training is employee training mandated by legislation, regulation or policy. It educates your employees on the laws or regulations applicable to their job function or industry.

These laws are predominantly in place to maintain the safety of the workplace and the dignity of the employee. These training initiatives are mandatory, so logically the focus is on recording completion.

Why is a smooth compliance training process important? Good corporate compliance programs help to prevent poor conduct and ensure proper governance in your organization. This helps to minimize risk, maintain your reputation and provides a better environment for your employees to work in – benefiting productivity in the long run.

Running compliance training programs

As mentioned, the main objectives are to get your employees trained, and to generate a record of training ‘completion’. Completion, in this case, is the meeting of the requirements and standards, e.g. pass a test, complete a 3-hour course etc.

The course content itself is dictated by the governing body in question. So for this post, let’s put instructional design considerations to one side.

That leaves you with three important considerations to help satisfy your organization’s compliance:

Course Completion: Getting your employees to launch and complete courses on the subject matter.

Timelines/Deadline: Compliance training usually has to be done on a periodic basis to keep up with changes in regulation. This brings deadlines into play.

Record/Reporting: You need to have an audit trail of your training efforts. An LMS makes the process less manual reducing human error and increasing the accuracy of records. Data on each employee’s current training status shows you exactly who is and who is not compliant.

It’s easy to see why software is needed. A learning management system removes a degree of human error, which is the main thing that will stall your progress or open you to risk. A compliance training LMS reduces the complexity involved and brings in a layer of automation. Running compliance training programs without this safety net is not a good idea, especially considering the repercussions involved.

Compliance training examples

The variation of courses that fall under the “compliance training” umbrella is huge. Your location, industry, and activities all dictate what you need to be compliant in, and in turn, the training you need to deliver. For example: In the USA, organizations are obliged to run training on some of the following types of courses:

Anti-Harassment Training

Workplace Safety (OSHA)

Workplace Violence

Workplace Substance Abuse

Information Security Training (HIPPA)

HR Law

Diversity Training

Some of these programs are ushered in because of an increase in public interest or risk. In 2006 for example, the U.S. Department of Labor introduced new guidance for “Protecting Employees Against Avian Flu” –  as it was deemed to be a significant threat. In the UK, training is carried out on an equally varied pool of subjects with the most prominent being financial services and workplace safety training. Typical subjects include:

Benefits of compliance training

The benefits of compliance training are often ignored because of a more pressing issue – avoiding the consequences and penalties of non-compliance! It’s still important to focus on the big picture and the benefits that arise from compliance training. These benefits include:

Safer Workplaces

More productive workplace

Ability to secure insurance

Protection of business reputation

Minimized risk of legal action

Reduced absenteeism due to injury

Next steps for running compliance training online

If you are in a role that is tasked with maintaining compliance, setting up online training courses will be a key project for you. The steps that you have to take are as follows:

Identify the legislation or regulation that your company needs to satisfy.

Evaluate the specific criteria that need to be satisfied.

Acquire course content from a reputable source – remember, this content is based on legislation, regulations, and policies that may change over time. You need to keep your content up to date.

Deliver the courses to your employees through your LMS.

Track each user’s activity to produce a reliable and accurate audit trail.

Remember, an LMS will take care of everything from certification to reporting and even automatic reminders about deadlines – making a complicated process simple for you!

Setting up a compliance training program is simple

Train your employees with LearnUpon. The powerful learning management system that has the features and a knowledgeable team you need to achieve training success.

Compliance Training: Definition, Theories, and Examples

Do you find corporate compliance training to be a real pain in the neck? From the employer’s side, it might seem like a distraction from the main, profitable aspects of running a business, as well as an excess cost. And from the employee’s side, it might just seem like extra work, a distraction from their main tasks, and a pointless formality. But this line of thinking — on both sides — is shortsighted.

In this article, we’re going to discuss what compliance training is, why it matters, and how to make it more effective. If you are familiar with compliance training and want to learn how to automate this process, click here to skip to that section.

What Is Compliance Training?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, compliance is defined as “the act or process of complying with a desire, demand, proposal, or regimen”. Put otherwise; it is “conformity in fulfilling official requirements”. Therefore, compliance training is a formal program that educates your employees on the policies, procedures, and actions required to prevent both problems in the workplace and violations of the law. These policies and procedures are often job or industry-specific. However, in many cases, they are also government-mandated and apply across industries or the corporate world at large.

Why Does Compliance Training Matter?

Organizations have a social responsibility to their employees and the general public. From ensuring a safe workplace that’s free of bullying and harassment to protecting consumer data and privacy, your company is always at risk of ruining its reputation, legal action, and the worst-case scenario – getting shut down. In other words, compliance training is core to your organization’s risk management system.

Compliance Training Programs

No matter what business you have, compliance training should be high on the list of your priorities. The variety of courses is huge. The industry, activities, and location all influence what employees should be compliant in and what kind of training you need to deliver. Here are some examples of courses covering government-mandated and industry-specific compliance policies.


Anti-harassment compliance training programs administer guidance and measures for responding to incidents of bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment. They should clearly define what harassment is and outline any associated behaviors. Plus, anti-harassment training should cover effective strategies for responding to bullying and harassment, as well as provide intervention strategies.

Diversity training

Diversity training goes far beyond political correctness. Rather, it emphasizes the strengths of diversity and addresses how to work with people of different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical abilities, etc. As there’s strength in diversity, your employees should learn how to effectively embrace the valuable inputs and perspectives that a diverse workplace can bring to the table. In addition, your training program should also address how different demographics are to be portrayed in your company’s literature, documents, and marketing content.

Data Protection & Privacy

To ensure compliance within your organization, your training program should first draw the distinction between Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Personal Data, and explain how and why this information is exploited. Your employees should know how to safely handle data beyond the work environment (e.g., mobile devices), and what to do in case of a lost or stolen mobile device.


Cybersecurity and Data Protection & Privacy naturally overlap, but it’s still worth separating both subjects into different compliance training programs. These programs should include how to efficiently manage the rapidly-growing volume of sensitive and/or confidential information, and train staff on the strategies, tools, and systems needed to protect people’s identities and personal data.

Business ethics

Every business needs to draft a code of ethics that details guidelines for disciplinary action. It should describe what corruption and cheating look like for your organization, as well as cover grey areas and conflicts of interest. Basically, your Ethics & Compliance training programs should include risk assessment training, methods to encourage whistleblowing, accountability structures, and a system for addressing grey areas/conflicts of interest.