Training is vital for all new employees and there are two main areas of knowledge they need to acquire:
- Technical knowledge — the procedures involved in performing their role
- Industry-specific knowledge — the knowledge required to ensure their actions do not expose your organisation to non-compliance.
In the past, organisations and SMEs focused solely on passing on technical knowledge, mostly acquired through on-the-job training by a manager or fellow employee.
While this was sufficient to teach the employee the basic functions required to do their job, everything else they learned was largely through experience.
The problem with this kind of limited approach to training is that their mistakes become your problems, which can not only be damaging for customer relations, but also for your company’s image.
If their mistakes involve non-compliance with government regulations relating to your industry, they can also expose you to prosecution and financial penalties.
With modern business facing more regulation and accountability than ever, the need for compliance training has grown dramatically, regardless of the size of the business.
Businesses are now required to be compliant in a range of areas including fair trading, equal opportunity, occupational health and safety, and privacy.
In each of these areas, the responsibility for the actions of employees lies with the employer. This ‘vicarious liability’ is determined by the number of precautions the employer has taken to minimise the likelihood of such actions occurring. This includes the amount of training their employees receive.
If your business focuses solely on technical training for your staff, it may be time to look at updating your methods and implementing a long term learning management system.
How this industry-specific training will be delivered will depend on your company’s policies and procedures, but there are two main methods commonly employed:
- External training — training in a traditional classroom setting
- Online training — anywhere, anytime computer-based training courses.
This involves using an external training provider, which can deliver the training off-the-job in a classroom setting, or in-house, if you have several employees requiring the same training.
The main disadvantages of off-the-job training are the costs involved, such as transport to and from classes and time spent away from the job.
This is rapidly becoming the preferred method of compliance training for many employers. It means employees can complete the training in their own time and at their own pace, with less disruption to the workplace.
There are many online training providers, but the main things to look for in a good online compliance system include the ability to:
- Customise the content to your particular business
- Accommodate many different users and course combinations
- Be accountable from a compliance perspective, by providing reports on course progress and completion records
- Be flexible on completion times and dates, depending on the employee
- Constantly update and increase the courses and training available.
While, effective business training is about giving your employees the technical knowledge required to perform their specific roles, it should also demonstrate your company’s commitment to ensuring your staff are aware of the legal responsibilities associated with their roles. Compliance training can provide auditable reports that can be used, if needed, to defend itself against regulatory intrusion.