Developing a Learning Culture

The Importance of Compliance Training in the Workplace

Imagine moving to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and are unaware of the laws that govern it. Newly hired employees often feel the same when joining a new organization or industry. 

Compliance training is an invaluable tool to ensure that everyone in the workplace understands their roles and responsibilities as well as company policies and procedures. It helps organizations protect themselves from legal liability, maintain ethical standards, foster a culture of trust and respect among employees, and promote consistency across departments. 

In this post, we’ll explore what compliance training is, why it matters for businesses today, and how instructional designers can create effective compliance training programs. 

Defining compliance training

The first order of business is to answer the question, “What is compliance training?” This type of training covers a wide range of topics, from health and safety to legal regulations, and is designed to ensure that employees understand responsibilities, laws, and policies in the workplace.

For companies to remain compliant with laws, it’s essential that all staff members receive adequate training. At its core, compliance instruction focuses on educating employees about expectations related to their individual roles within an organization as well as how those expectations fit into the larger framework of regulatory requirements. 

No matter how it’s delivered, this programming helps organizations ensure that their employees know their responsibilities and have the necessary knowledge to meet them. This is especially important in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare or finance, where failure to comply with regulations can result in serious financial penalties and even criminal charges.

What makes compliance training different?

This type of instruction differs from other types of employee training in several ways. Specifically, compliance training is:


The instruction is tailored to the specific job role rather than being general or one-size-fits-all. For example, if a company has employees who work with hazardous materials, they will need compliance training on handling those materials and safely abiding by applicable regulations. 


Unlike other forms of employee training, compliance training is often mandatory. Companies must ensure their employees understand and adhere to the laws and regulations related to the job, or else they may face legal consequences. 


Training workers in compliance is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process that requires frequent refresher courses and updated information on changes in regulations. This ensures that employees remain up-to-date on the latest rules and best practices for their jobs so that everyone understands and complies with all applicable laws and regulations. 

Helpful in avoiding legal issues 

Perhaps most importantly, compliance training can help a company avoid legal issues that arise from employee non-compliance. By providing employees with the necessary training, companies can ensure they are all aware of their obligations, thereby minimizing the risk of legal repercussions. 

Why does compliance training matter?

Knowing why this type of instruction matters can help you make the case for investing in it and ensure your staff receives the education they need to succeed. The benefits of compliance training include: 

  • Increased protection from legal liability. Compliance education helps organizations protect themselves by ensuring employees are aware of relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. This knowledge reduces the risk of costly fines or lawsuits due to non-compliance or negligence of employees. 
  • Improved employee performance. Instructional programs can help employees understand their responsibilities better and be more efficient in their roles. This results in improved performance, profitability, and customer experience. 
  • Elevated organizational culture. Compliance training helps create an environment where ethical principles are top of mind for everyone. It also encourages an open dialogue between management and staff to ensure any potential issues or problems are quickly identified and addressed before they become larger issues.

On the other hand, not investing in compliance training can have disastrous consequences for businesses. Here are some examples of what could happen if you don’t take compliance seriously: 

  • Fines. Failing to comply with industry regulations or local laws can result in hefty fines. For example, a company could be fined for not meeting safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 
  • Litigation. If employees are unaware of relevant laws or regulations, they may engage in activities that put the company at risk of litigation. This could include anything from discrimination to data privacy breaches. 
  • Reputational damage. Even if a business can avoid legal repercussions, its reputation can still suffer if it is publicly associated with unethical practices or non-compliance. This can lead to customers and clients losing trust in the company and choosing to do business elsewhere.

As you can see, compliance training matters for businesses of all sizes—from small start-ups to large multinationals. It demonstrates a commitment to ethical practices, which can benefit customer relationships and public image.

5 tips to develop effective compliance training for employees

Now that we’ve established the importance of teaching new workers the laws and policies of their new organization, the logical next step is developing a suitable program to train them with. But how do you do that? 

Here are five strategies to consider when developing your curriculum:

  1. Identify the need

Before creating a compliance training program, it’s important to identify areas that need improvement. Evaluate your current policies and procedures and compare them with government regulations or industry standards. This will help you determine which topics should be included in your compliance training for employees. 

  1. Keep it simple

Compliance training doesn’t have to be boring or long-winded—make sure to keep your lessons concise and easy to understand by using simple language, visuals, and examples. Keeping your trainees engaged is key! 

  1. Use technology

Leverage digital tools such as video conferencing, gamification, and interactive simulations to make your compliance training fun and engaging. Technology also allows you to track each employee’s progress throughout the program. 

  1. Make it flexible

Different learning styles require different approaches—try offering multiple formats for your training sessions, such as webinars, seminars, or self-paced modules. This way, employees can choose which one works best for them while still receiving all the necessary information about compliant conduct in their work environment. At ELM Learning, we realize that learning needs to be fun and individualized to encourage worker engagement.

  1. Measure results

It’s important to assess how well employees absorb what is taught in the compliance training sessions. Utilize surveys, quizzes, or tests to measure knowledge retention and identify areas that need further reinforcement. This will help ensure that employees truly grasp the material presented in your program. 

Following these five tips can create effective and successful compliance training for employees. With a well-developed program in place, companies can rest assured that their staff is equipped with the knowledge needed to stay compliant with industry regulations and standards—which means better business performance overall!

Examples of compliance training

Here are some examples of compliance training that can be used to help ensure employees are up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations: 

Anti-harassment training

This type of compliance training ensures workers understand what constitutes harassment in the workplace and how to handle a situation if they experience it themselves or observe it. 

It also outlines the consequences of not following policies and provides resources for employees to report any violations they witness. Strategies to teach this could include role-play scenarios to teach employees how to identify and respond appropriately to harassing behavior. 

Cybersecurity training

This type of compliance training informs workers how to protect company information from cyber threats, such as hacking or phishing attacks. It covers topics like password security, data encryption, and other best practices for protecting confidential data online. 

A great way to teach this would be to show examples of measures employers can take to protect their data, like encrypting files and setting up strong passwords.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) training

This type of compliance training teaches workers about their rights under OSHA regulations and how to properly use safety equipment and follow procedures when working with hazardous materials. 

Interactive presentations that walk participants through the various safety protocols and regulations they must abide by in their workplace work well to aid in retention and learner engagement.

Anti-bribery and anti-corruption training

Train employees on the basics of anti-bribery laws and regulations as well as best practices for avoiding corruption. When training, it would be helpful to include case studies demonstrating how to identify warning signs and practice ethical decision-making when faced with potential bribery situations.

Regulatory compliance training

These instructions are specific to the industry and jurisdiction in which a company operates, as laws vary from state to state or country to country. They may cover topics like environmental regulations, labor laws, and other relevant standards that must be met by businesses operating within those jurisdictions.

Since this is a relatively dry subject, we recommend using interactive activities such as quizzes or simulations.

Is it time to check your company’s compliance training?

Compliance training is a key element in maintaining a successful business. It helps to ensure that employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their job duties safely and legally. This type of instructional program can help reduce risks, increase efficiency, and improve employee morale. 

At ELM Learning, we view compliance training through a different lens—one that’s tailored to your organization’s specific needs and objectives. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create an effective compliance program for your company!