Mandatory annual compliance training: training where all employees are eager to complete in a timely manner because it is required. We all look forward to sitting in front of a computer screen, clicking through the videos and slideshows of such useful information that we all will recollect in the months ahead, right? More than likely, not.
Like other new compliance professionals, I have experienced challenges with obtaining a 100% completion rate within the workforce. The OIG, and perhaps the preference of most compliance professionals, is for such training to be mandatory versus voluntary. The challenging piece to this is the handful of folks that cannot seem to comply with the training requirements no matter what resources or extensions are offered. Generally speaking, annual compliance training is a task that everyone dreads therefore we as compliance professionals need to use ingenuity and think outside of the box to increase engagement which will, in turn, create a culture of compliance and help your organization reach a 100% completion rate.
Given that compliance programs have evolved and will continue to evolve, training and education must follow suit. It is best practice to develop a variety of educational formats when rolling out training; however, some organizations may be limited to the computer-based training format. If so, the following should assist you with your annual training opportunities:
- First and foremost, set the tone from the top down. Accountability is key. Compliance professionals, board members, C-Suite, administrators, etc. should set the expectation and the importance of completion of such training. A memo from the Board or from the CEO and Compliance Officer restating the commitment to the organization’s program and support of its education and training initiatives will do just that.
- Celebrate annual Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week.. Although compliance is year round, use the designated week to heighten awareness to your workforce. Games, incentives, program awareness, etc. If you are a one man show, consider involving other key personnel as it relates to compliance – health information, contracting, privacy, data security team, IT team, finance, marketing, etc.
- Gamification techniques – Nobody wants to be in last place so use training completion rate as an opportunity for departments/units to compete with one another. Send a weekly scoreboard report that ranks their current standing when compared to other departments. Offer appropriate incentives to departments/employees for early/timely completion.
- Start early – compliance training should be at the forefront. Announcement at huddles, department meetings, weekly/monthly rounds and walkthroughs.
Authors of Compliance 101, Debbie Troklus and Sheryl Vacca, said it best “Education and training are your best strategies for prevention – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”