In the last couple of years, the term “compliance” has been given a bad reputation. In the business world, we use this word for its original context and not the political implications it has grown into.

Today, we will explain what compliance training is and how you can teach or learn the subject.

What Is Compliance?

Compliance in the workplace is a general term that describes the organization’s policies and the legal policies in the business.

The training is designed to teach your employees about these laws and regulations, so they can accurately complete their job without crossing legal restrictions. 

Usually, you can find these topics in a compliance training folder:

  • Health and Safety
  • Code of Conduct
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Confidentiality
  • Gifts and Benefits

Depending on the industry, you will find additional information added to the compliance training.

If your business or your employees fail to complete their compliance training, you will leave your company open to fines, restrictions, or forced dissolution.

compliance training
Paper photo created by –

The Cost Of Non-Compliance

Any company can be taken down or massively fined if they fail to comply. The most obvious cases come from the big Pharma firms which didn’t follow medical, business, and safety guidelines. 

Because they failed to follow through with their compliance practices, the FDA imposed crippling fines. 

The financial world also commonly fails when it comes to compliance. When banks fail to keep their client’s information safe, incorrectly charge thousands of people through an error, or impose anti-social restrictions, they are failing their compliance training. 

Of course, the fines can be enough to put a company into bankruptcy, but for these big firms, it’s the reputational damage which causes concern. 

However, there is more at risk than public scrutiny. A lot of compliance regulations are around keeping your employees safe, and respecting their rights. If this element of the compliance training isn’t treated as the important subject that it is, you can easily lose morale in your workplace.

Low morale means slow work, employee disgruntlement, failing performances and high employee turnover. These are the key symptoms of a failing business. 

Is It Just A “Checkbox” Practice?

When it comes to compliance training, some companies try to cut corners. They hand out old folders, and tell their employees to check off some boxes, then carry on with their work.

This will not do. Not only will your records be out of date, but your employees won’t have the skills to deal with any of the company or industry policies. 

Even if you update your compliance training often, but leave the details to simple checkboxes, the experience won’t be enjoyable. This means your employees will likely forget the information as soon as they reach their next task. We need the data to stay in your staff’s mind, otherwise your company could be in danger.

This is why your compliance training should be more than just checkboxes.

How To Make Compliance Interesting 

You can find workspace safety resources online, and many of them will have a fun new way to make compliance training interesting to your employees.

But before you start looking for pre-made content, we have leading examples on how you can upgrade your current content.

1. Microlearning

Microlearning, as Valamis explained, is based on the “Hermann Ebbinghaus forgetting curve”. 

This forgetting curve was calculated in the mid-1880s. The study tested subjects on their memory surrounding “inconsequential” sounds. Scientist Ebbinghaus found that the rate of each subject’s memory was not consistent. Some days they remembered more than others.

Without going through the whole study, Ebbinghaus found that most people could recall information accurately when no time had passed, with 58.2% accuracy after 20 minutes, with 33.7 accuracy after 1 day, and 21.1% accuracy after 31 days.

To stop his subjects from losing memory around these inconsequential sounds, he split the details across multiple days, repeating the learned content and adding in new content at the same time.

With this new method he found instant results. On the first day there was 100% memory retention, which dipped to 50% at the end of the day. Next day, again there was 100% initially, which then dropped to 65% retention. On the third day, 100% retention dipped to 75%, and so on.

Eventually, the small doses of repeated content created a stronger memory in the subjects. 

Using this microlearning experience with your compliance training, means that your employees will only have to spend a small amount of time learning. At their next training, you reiterate the previous content and add a little more.

This short time learning will make the dry topic more interesting, and the method will help them retain the information.

2. Interesting Training Content

Making something interesting often means changing up the way you display the information. Applying microlearning can help manage your staff’s attention span too.

For example, you can have a short 20 minute learning session, and in that session you use 3 different methods of learning.

One could be text based which ends in a quiz, another could be a video which the employee simply has to watch, and the last could be a game which uses the information the employees had just learned.

Changing up the method of learning will keep your employees interested as they focus this important information.

3. Make It Real

Real life examples of consequences in your workplace will help your employees understand the importance behind the training.

They can see the details of the compliance worksheet in action, and how it functions in a real-life environment.

This is great for your employee’s understanding, but there is also another reason to make the compliance policies more realistic.

If your staff finds themselves in a situation similar to one found in their compliance policy, they will be more likely to remember it if learned in story form.

As Edutopia explains, “the familiarity of the narrative pattern becomes a strong memory-holding template.” With this connection already created and formed months before, when the situation occurs, this memory will flag up, reminding the employee that there is a way to fix this problem.

Even if they cannot remember exactly what they are supposed to do, they will know where to look and who to ask.

4. Make Everyone Accountable

This last tip isn’t necessarily about making compliance training interesting. Instead, it’s about making it universal. 

No matter if you are at the top of the business or the bottom of the career ladder, everyone should understand the same company policies. Yes, some of the more detailed industry knowledge might not be shared, but the company’s integrity should.

This will stop misunderstandings of inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, use of incorrect language and more. 

If everyone knows how the company expects the employees to act, then no one has an excuse. 

Setting Up Your Compliance Training

Not all compliance training will be the same. You can use online courses, like we said before, or you can create your own.

If you do your own, you’ll need to fully understand your company’s needs and legal obligations.

  1. Identify the regulation, legislation or legal requirements that your company needs to abide by. 
  2. Highlight the specific criteria in your company or department that needs to be satisfied.
  3. Ensure all of your content is from a reliable source (for example, the EPA), and up to date. This could mean a bi-monthly or bi-yearly manual update.
  4. Identify your company’s policies.
  5. Use this information to create an engaging and informative course.
  6. Track each employee’s activity in the course, for an audit trail.


Training your employees in compliance is an essential part of keeping your company within the law and regulations of your sector.

Each industry will have their own regulations. Every company will have their own policies. Your compliance training should include both of these, and should be learned by everyone in your business.