Five steps for successful compliance training for employees

    We look at why you need a good compliance programme

    Compliance training is the process of educating employees on the laws, regulations and company policies that apply to their day-to-day job responsibilities. It is employee training mandated by legislation, regulation or policy. Good corporate compliance programmes help to prevent poor conduct, ensure proper governance, minimise risk, maintain your reputation and provide a better working environment. Essentially, it allows employees to get familiar with the operating procedures, philosophies and policies of an organisation to ensure they recognise and understand regulations, helping them to create a better workplace.

    Why you need a good compliance training programme

    A good compliance programme is indispensable, is an integral part of a healthy and productive working environment and enables businesses to avoid risk. However, compliance training must be done regularly to ensure its effectiveness, and compliance policies cannot work unless they are effectively communicated throughout the entire company.

    Sometimes, compliance training can feel like a moving target. But as the regulatory environments continue to evolve and change, designing a successful compliance training programme is more important now than ever before. Here’s how to deliver a successful compliance training programme for your employees:

    1. Craft a strategic training plan

    All too often, compliance training is reactive. But isn’t it better to identify potential problems and work proactively to change your corporate culture before a problem even occurs? That’s why it’s so important to create a strategic compliance training programme. Any good training programme starts with clear and definable goals. A commitment to compliance culture has to start at the top and work its way down – so it’s integral that you have a clear objective in place.

    How will performance improve after the training? How will it prepare your staff to fulfil their roles and do their jobs effectively? What training is needed in line with current regulations? By asking these questions, you can define your objectives and what you are hoping to achieve – which makes it easier to review your training further down the line. You could gather input from all levels of your organisation, then craft a plan to ensure your training plan is proactive and that it resonates with everyone.

    2. Decide who it’s aimed at

    When it comes to delivering an effective compliance training programme, it’s essential that you know your audience. Much of compliance training is mandated, so people in certain jobs will need specific training related to that job. This is especially true of financial regulations such as IBOR (Interbank Offered Rate), SFTR (Securities Financing Transaction Regulation), SM&CR (Senior Managers and Certification Regime) and MiFID2 (The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive), as well as topics such as personal account dealing, conflicts, the conduct framework and financial promotions. 

    However, there are some types of training that all employees need to know about;  in particular, HR issues such as preventing discrimination or rules and regulations around GDPR and the handling of data. Once you’ve identified who your training is aimed at, you can tailor it accordingly to make sure it’s engaging an interesting. Just remember that all training should be tailored according to the level of responsibility held by the employees and how far it is related to their particular role. 

    3. Make it effective and engaging

    It’s no secret that compliance training topics can be repetitive. All too often, compliance training is viewed as a box-ticking exercise that needs to be completed as quickly and as painlessly as possible. However, boring training is counterproductive for everyone. If you are going to get the most value out of your compliance training, it’s important that your employees are engaged. They need to complete the training with a full understanding of how it impacts their role and how the knowledge they’ll be gaining will be beneficial to them. 

    Design proper training materials and make sure you prepare and deliver them in an effective and interesting way. You should also try to present information in simple and short incremental bursts, using concise language and avoiding technical jargon. Additionally, you could try and use a variety of learning methods and different ways of presentation to keep things interesting, too. Most importantly, wherever possible, you should support your training with real-life examples so your employees can connect their training with their everyday activities. 

    4. Ensure it’s up to date

    It’s absolutely vital that companies stay up to date with current regulations and make sure all training materials are in line with the latest changes. Compliance is continually changing and new regulations come in all the time - not only that, but changes that require retraining and restructuring are frequent too, especially in the financial services industry. 

    All this means that compliance training must reflect those latest expectations for performance and best practices - so it’s integral that companies have training systems and partners that can respond quickly and efficiently to regulatory change. 

    5. Ask for feedback

    Every training professional knows that delivering the training isn’t the end of the process. Instead, your compliance training should be an ongoing process whereby you continually evaluate results, reassess any needs or additional content that needs addressing and incorporate these changes into the training and as when you go. 

    There are plenty of ways to measure whether your training has served its purpose, but without a doubt, one of the most important is by simply asking your employees for feedback. Your employees want to know that their opinions are valued. If you don’t listen to their ideas and concerns, their enthusiasm and motivation will drop - which can have an impact on the whole company culture, not just in compliance training. Ask what they liked about the training, what they would change and how they found it overall. Their feedback can help you to continually improve your training and ensure that your employees get the most out of it. Over time, you’ll be able to see how effective your training programmes have really been by measuring the results of your feedback.


    A successful compliance training programme comes down to careful planning, flexibility and continuity. Your compliance training programme should keep pace with all the latest regulatory changes, whilst  motivating and engaging your staff at the same time. If you’re looking to find the right people to ensure your compliance runs smoothly, our compliance recruitment experts are here to help.

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