LMS reports can go a long way towards providing the evidence the authorities need and can help organisations make substantial savings on legal fees. An effective LMS can support business as usual underpinned by a solid foundation of compliance, Christian Wachter says
Corporate compliance involves adhering to a wide range of laws and standards designed to protect an organisation, its customers, employees and other stakeholders. Managing workforce development and identifying the compliance knowledge gaps can be a daunting task. The issue is magnified if there is a high staff churn or seasonal staff changes in employment. A factor crucial to any comprehensive compliance strategy is the involvement of the employees. Non-compliance can result from a lack of knowledge of specific rules, the inability to apply correctly rules that are known and a lack of experience in the early recognition of situations that could lead to non-compliant behaviour if handled incorrectly.
Often learning departments are not aware of the huge functionality they have available in their existing learning management system (LMS) infrastructure to support them in compliance management. L&D departments commonly remain overly focused on traditional ways of delivering learning or training materials without realising the breadth of the functionality on their LMS, which stands ready to be exploited to support employee compliance management. This is especially applicable in heavily regulated sectors, such as finance and healthcare, where there is a lot of mandatory training.
Many LMS have features that can support compliance management in a number of ways. They can manage different training or content types and they can organise training assignments into categories such as mandatory training. Many LMS have options to define due dates for completion of training and to set up rules relating to these dates such as sending out notifications and reminders to trainees.
Create a culture of compliance
It is possible to provide the very best training and e-learning but if it is not integrated into daily workflow it will not have the desired result. A mixture of web-based training and e-learning delivering the basic principles integrated with on the job training activities is ideal.
The next step is to monitor whether employees continue to adhere to compliance training beyond the initial training. Software tools can establish whether employees are following rules when working through set business processes and remind them when they overlook the rules. Technology is not the solution in all cases. There are some useful manual processes organisations can adopt to supplement the LMS such as checking how people are behaving when entering a building to ensure training about access security has been effective, for example. A combination of on the job and technological monitoring of compliance is most effective.
LMS have some key features for supporting compliance:
- LMS can train employees on new compliance rules. In regulatory industries organisations often inform employees about new rules and regulations by means of an informative PDF document or PowerPoint presentation. While it is possible to check that people have accessed the document it is less easy to check that they have read and understood it. LMS can do a much better job of training employees on new compliance rules. Many LMS allow organisations to create tests and assessments to ensure employees have reached the required level of knowledge or standard of skill but not all have functionality for defining target groups for training to enable easy management of the process. It is vital to ensure that the assessment continues to match compliance criteria.
- LMS can automate course retakes and refreshers – and training for new joiners. If training such as fire safety needs to be refreshed by an employee every six months, the LMS can take care of this automatically, reducing workload for the compliance officer. An LMS can also be set up to book new joiners on to general courses like health and safety, to ensure everybody has taken and passed the training. LMS can remind learners to complete their courses in time and also escalate to a line manager if the employee has not met their deadline.
- LMS reporting functions show how learners are progressing through the compliance training and how they are performing against expectations. Content meeting the SCORM standards for e-learning has codes that report back to the LMS. A review might reveal that the learning content might be delivered and tested more effectively in smaller units, for example, or that it needs to be made available on more platforms so that employees can continue office PC-based learning outside the office on their mobile devices.
- LMS can help organisations prove compliance in the event of an inspection. Generally organisations do not report that they have achieved compliance, rather they need to be prepared for the authorities to carry out an audit or inspection at any time, in response to an incident or allegation. At that point, reports from the LMS proving who has completed their compliance training are vital.
An inspection or audit often comes out of the blue and can place a heavy burden of time and resources on the organisation responding to it. LMS reports can go a long way towards providing the evidence the authorities need and can help organisations make substantial savings on legal fees. An effective LMS can support business as usual underpinned by a solid foundation of compliance.