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Importance of Employee Compliance Training in the Workplace

Employee compliance plays a critical role in minimizing risk, protecting a company's reputation, and ensuring employees understand the legal and ethical standards expected of them.

Blog Author - Amanda Beach
Amanda Beach
Jun 13, 20244 minutes
Blog Author - Amanda Beach
Amanda Beach

Amanda Beach is a writer, editor, and project manager with 10 years of experience in tech and HR. She currently resides in Denver, CO.

34 postsAuthor's posts
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When it comes to starting a business, there can be a steep learning curve. You don’t know what you don’t know, and getting up to speed can be tough. Now, consider the employee experience. There’s plenty they may not know, including the laws, regulations, and policies that apply to them as your employees. That’s why compliance training is critical for any organization.

Educating employees on the formal ins and outs of their jobs can go a long way when building trust with staff — and staying compliant. Ready to learn more about what compliance training is, why it’s crucial for your employees, and how to effectively implement it in the workplace? Read on.

What is Compliance Training?

Compliance training in the workplace typically involves an educational program for employees that’s focused on the legal and policy-related aspects of their job. It often includes, but isn’t limited to, training on anti-harassment, diversity and inclusion, workplace safety, ethics, data protection, federal laws, and state- or industry-specific regulations.

It’s important to understand that the goal of compliance training isn’t just to check an item off your to-do list. Compliance training can help foster a workplace where everyone is aware of the standards expected of them and ethical conduct is the norm. Not only that, but this level of employee awareness can also help prevent violations that could lead to legal liability for the company and its employees.

Types of Compliance Training

We briefly mentioned some above, but many types of compliance training exist out there. What’s great is that they’re tailored to different industries and job functions, so you’ve got options. Some of the most common types of compliance training include: 

  • Ethics and code of conduct training: Reinforces the company’s values and the standards of behavior expected of employees.

  • Data privacy and security training: Informs employees about how to handle sensitive data and prevent data breaches.

  • Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training: Helps create a respectful workplace by educating employees about what constitutes harassment and discrimination and how to report it.

  • Health and safety training: Educates employees on how to maintain a safe working environment.

  • Financial compliance training: Covers topics that apply to financial institutions, like anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud prevention.

Why Is Compliance Training Essential?

Compliance is a tricky aspect of running a business. But it’s a necessary part of being an employer. Let’s break down why.

First off, many types of compliance training are required by law. Failing to comply with the training requirements can lead to considerable fines and legal penalties for the organization. Consistent training can help ensure that all employees are up-to-date with the latest regulation changes relevant to their roles.

Enhancing Employee Understanding

As we said before, employees don’t know what they don’t know. Through compliance training, though, employees have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of their responsibilities, as well as the legal implications of their actions. This knowledge can empower them to make better decisions and take appropriate actions when faced with ethical dilemmas.

Promoting Ethical Behavior

Speaking of ethical dilemmas, there’s a course for that, too. But let’s consider the value of compliance training even aside from ethics-specific courses. Compliance training can instill a sense of legal and ethical responsibility among employees. They can feel encouraged to act with integrity and accountability, which is essential for maintaining a positive workplace culture.

Preventing Workplace Incidents

Maintaining a positive workplace should also mean it’s a safe workplace. Educating employees about safe work practices, and how to handle hazardous materials, can help prevent accidents and injuries. And this not only helps maintain a safe workplace, but it also reduces the potential for legal liability due to workplace incidents.

Protecting Company Reputation

While it’s last on this list, it’s certainly not the least important reason to implement compliance training. Incidents of non-compliance can sometimes result in negative publicity. If it’s impactful enough, it can damage a company’s reputation. Companies can more easily safeguard their brand image and public trust by investing in employee compliance.

Best Practices for Implementing Compliance Training

It’s one thing to understand the need for compliance training, but it's another thing to actively implement it at your company. But we’ve got some best practices outlined below that can help you get started with compliance training in the workplace.

Assess Training Needs

It’s important to first assess your organization’s specific compliance training needs. This involves identifying the regulations that apply to your location and industry, as well as understanding the risks associated with non-compliance.

Design Effective Training Programs

Once your organization’s needs are identified, design compliance training programs that are engaging and relevant. If they don’t engage your employees, they’re not likely to retain the information or find value in them. Try using real-world scenarios and interactive elements to help employees understand practical applications of the concepts being taught.

Make Training Accessible and Inclusive

As you’re designing your compliance training program, it’s crucial to ensure it’s accessible to all employees. This includes those with disabilities of any kind. The training content itself should be inclusive and considerate of diverse backgrounds and experiences. The administration of the courses should also ensure all employees can access and understand the content easily.

Begin Tracking and Reporting

Without purposefully looking at performance, it can be hard to determine the effectiveness of your compliance training program. Implementing systems to track employee training progress and completion can help you see what’s working and what’s not. It will also help in reporting compliance to the government and other regulatory groups businesses must comply with.

Seek Continuous Improvement

Compliance training shouldn’t be a one-time event. Instead, it should be an ongoing process, with regular updates made to the curriculum to reflect changes in laws and regulations, as well as employee feedback.

The Consequences of Non-Compliance

Sometimes, there’s a bump in the road. When that bump is compliance-related, there can be some serious consequences for the company, its employees, or both. Some of those consequences can include:

  • Financial penalties and fines

  • Loss of business licenses or accreditation

  • Legal action against the company or its employees

  • Damage to the company’s reputation

  • Loss of trust among customers and partners

  • Lower employee morale and increased turnover

In today’s business environment, compliance training for employees isn’t optional — it’s a necessity. Employers that invest in robust compliance training programs can help create a culture of compliance that permeates every level of their organization.

How Justworks Can Help

Compliance isn’t just about following the law, it's also about building a business that values integrity and respect, which in turn, can drive long-term success. Compliance can be tricky, but you don’t have to figure it out alone.

Enter Justworks — the partner you need to stay compliant, pay your employees on time, offer them quality benefits, and manage the rest of the nitty-gritty with ease. Justworks PEO is your all-in-one solution for payroll, HR, compliance, and access to benefits for the modern workplace. We’re here to help entrepreneurs run their businesses with confidence, and compliance is no exception. Get started with Justworks today!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Amanda Beach
Amanda Beach
Jun 13, 20244 minutes

Amanda Beach is a writer, editor, and project manager with 10 years of experience in tech and HR. She currently resides in Denver, CO.

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