In many companies, employees treat self-directed HR compliance training like they accept the license terms of personal tax software. They scroll, flip, or scan through web pages as fast as possible, and mash their mouse button when their cursor hits “I accept”. Or, they guess their way through skill-testing questions by gaming the multiple-choice questions. There are some impressive speed-readers out there, though it’s often questionable how much information is actually absorbed when one reads every ten words or so.

As you look toward the beginning of the calendar year, it may be a good time for your existing employees to brush up on their understanding of your company’s HR policy guidelines. Does your intranet provide an engaging way to facilitate the process? If not, consider a responsive web portal that can also initiate your onboarding process for new hires, in some cases before they set foot in your office on their first day.

Why Should You Care About HR Compliance Training?

Any seasoned HR executive, business owner or finance manager will appreciate the true cost of hiring, sustaining and even terminating an employee. Training new employees on topics like acceptable use policies for technology, and about workplace, ethical standards helps to safeguard your company from liability if you leave things undefined. You can also limit the occurrence, and impact of circumstances like:

  • Workplace bullying and harassment
  • Injuries from unsafe handling of chemicals, equipment or by not being properly equipped in hazardous environments
  • Data loss, should employees use their assigned corporate IT devices irresponsibly
  • Misuse of your company’s intellectual capital, such as conversations when competitors are present
  • Damage to your company’s reputation by offside behavior in public or online.

HR compliance training educates your staff on the ramifications of breaking company HR standards so you avoid problems in the first place. But if something does happen and an employee is terminated for violations, keeping records of the completion of this education can protect your company in case of litigation.

Balancing Time Investment with Reward

If compliance training is mandatory, that doesn’t mean it has to be an onerous task to complete. A training portal with videos that tell real-world stories is a great way to get the message across. You don’t have to hire John Cleese to star in your training videos. For some topics, featuring your own staff and work environment can put the training into context. Further, since adults tend to learn 90% more effectively when they teach others or put their training into practice, consider having your teams select employees in their group to teach a topic from your compliance training, or use role playing exercises beyond the eLearning. Don’t be afraid to inject a little tactful humor into the training, as it helps to take the pressure off.

Gamification is another tactic to encourage engagement in your compliance training. If you customize your CRM system with a CRM entity and integrate your employee portal to it, you can track course completions and test scores. Recognition of the team that is fastest to complete the training or gets the highest test scores is a great motivator.

Encourage Discussion on Hot Topics

A Social Intranet can be a great “water cooler” for employment standards discussions, especially if you have a distributed workforce. Sensitive topics like harassment may require a more private discussion area, though reading materials, forms or other private services can be offered from the portal to initiate a discussion with an HR person.

Consider workplace safety standards, as far as equipment on a shop floor, or WHMIS labels. Scheduled training might have taken place a few months ago for certain employees, but a discussion forum or knowledge base on the topic can help employees to quickly source answers from connected colleagues instead of searching for the answer.

Use a Multimedia Approach

It helps to offer a number of training content formats on your employee portal. If possible, make them mobile-friendly. Recommended content types include:

  • Video clips
  • Infographics
  • Slides with few words, accompanied by audio
  • Cheat sheets which can be printed or saved to a user’s computer desktop
  • Short “practice” quizzes and a final “exam” no essays, though – unless you enjoy grading them.

For audio and video recordings, make sure the voices are friendly, authoritative and energetic. Don’t let a monotone voice put your employees to sleep. Break the training up into consumable “chunks”, to allow users to take the training throughout the day without committing them for hours at a time. Segmented learning improves retention and isn’t as detrimental to productivity.

If you’ve completed workplace standards training over the years, you might remember pages of static text in complex legalese, whether it’s in a folder in your desk drawer, or a web page on your intranet. Compliance training is more important to your company than getting your employees to check an “I accept” box. Online training and instant test score feedback is especially effective with millennials, as they are accustomed to digital training like no generation before them.

In summary, you know that employees who understand your company’s business conduct expectations are less likely to violate policies. Effective digital training, complemented by real-world “teach-back” sessions and discussions is a successful strategy for ensuring your employees are well informed and reducing the risks of employee injuries or unprofessional behavior. If your current intranet isn’t helping, consider delivering training content through a secure, mobile-friendly Social Intranet. Your employees will thank you when they can complete interesting and useful training wherever they are and when it’s most convenient.