7 Tips for Creating a Successful Compliance Training Program

In this blog post, Justin Muscolino, GRC Solutions’ Head of Compliance Training in North America, gives tips on how to create a successful compliance training program. This blog post has been created in partnership with eThink Education.

Many organizations struggle with constructing a solid compliance training program. It’s not a hard chore, but it requires attention and research. The common perception is that we need to do what the regulators want and focus less on the real risks that are paramount to an organization. Regulators want organizations to mitigate risk and control it in such a fashion that there are no concerns. Sometimes regulators will suggest or recommend a topic for inclusion, but if it doesn’t make sense from an organizational structure then why include it? A few regulators will require certain training topics, which obviously need to be included, but beyond that, it’s purely about the risk profile of an organization.

It’s one thing to have all the components in a training plan from a risk perspective, but you still need to build effective training.

Building effective training doesn’t have to be difficult, but in order to achieve the main goals of mitigating risk and increasing employee learning retention, you want the materials to be impactful and meaningful. Include these elements to ensure a memorable compliance training program.

How to Create Impactful and Meaningful Compliance Training

  • Retention. The best way to grasp this concept is to look at the Learning Pyramid. This shows how people best retain information. Utilize an approach that works best for your target audience.
  • Creativity. With every training, regardless of if it’s classroom or online, you want to be creative with the subject. Try incorporating pertinent case studies or regulatory actions that best suit the audience.
  • Interactivity. Engaging your audience is important. It not only helps with retention, but it allows them to be part of the training delivery. Exercises that incorporate real-life examples and get employee involvement are also crucial.

Increase Efficiency

Another consideration in a solid training plan is to create efficiency. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind to make the efforts efficient:

  • Budget. Always ask for more funds than needed. During the year, the training plan will change, and you might be asked to add more initiatives due to regulatory changes, updated policies and procedures, new products and services offered, new systems and management mandates.
  • Exclusivity. Review all the training entries to determine if there is any overlap of topics between departments. It’s always a great idea to train more than one department at a time if there is a workflow that impacts both areas. It’s also great for relationships between departments.
  • Time-saving. The goal is also to save time since you are taking staff members away from their desk. So, if you can produce one training that covers multiple topics and they are related, your audience will appreciate it. For example, if you have two regulations to discuss and they are somewhat intertwined, it’s better to have an hour and a half spent than two hours.
  • Avoid overtraining. Determine which topics as a percentage of the training plan are included. The goal is to see if there were any concentrations that may lead to overtraining.

Creating an efficient training program is not a difficult chore, but it must be done right and you have to put forth the appropriate due diligence for it to be successful. Remember, after you create a training plan it becomes a living document. Meaning, during the course of the year it will change based on new rules & regulations, industry advances and don’t forget, changes internally. And lastly, the ultimate goal of a training program is to have a positive shift in compliance culture.


An article written by Justin Muscolino
Head of Compliance Training
North America